When you browse the skin and personal care aisle, you might see many products showing shea butter as its star ingredient. From lotions to face masks to shampoos and conditioners, shea butter is an ingredient loved and lauded by many. This has been a popular ingredient to look out for decades, and with good reason.
With its many benefits, it's no wonder most moisturizing skin and personal care products use it in their formula. But what can you actually reap from using shea butter on your skin and hair? Here are six benefits of shea butter that you can experience for yourself when you use it!
What Is Shea Butter?
Shea butter is a popular skincare ingredient processed from shea tree nuts. This fat usually appears off-white and remains solid even at warm temperatures. The trees from which the nuts are harvested are found natively in West Africa. Most shea butter used worldwide is still imported from the said region.
Shea butter is widely loved worldwide thanks to its benefits to our skin and hair. The fatty substance contains many nourishing fatty acids and vitamins that make our skin and hair healthier. On top of this, while it remains solid at warm temperatures, it's easy to spread, making it a desirable ingredient for cosmetic, hair care, and personal care items.
6 Benefits of Shea Butter for Skin
1. Highly Moisturizing
One of the benefits shea butter is most known for is how well it moisturizes one's skin. This skincare ingredient is considered an emollient, a substance that helps keep the moisture trapped in your skin.
Apart from being a potent emollient, shea butter also has linoleic acid. This fatty acid provides your skin moisture while giving it a plumper look. As per a 2018 study, substances containing linoleic provide hydration and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Given these properties, shea butter is one of skin care's most popular and sought-after ingredients. You can find it in SKIN by XND's moisturizer as well!
2. Has Anti-fungal and Anti-bacterial Properties
The benefits of shea butter for dry skin don't end at its moisturization factor; it also helps fight several types of infections, both by fungi and bacteria.
Shea butter has anti-fungal properties. And while it's not potent enough to fight every type of fungal infection our skin can experience, it can help treat the fungi that cause athlete's foot and ringworm.
Apart from helping to fight off fungal infections, a 2016 study also suggests that this ingredient has anti-bacterial properties. While research is still lacking on its anti-bacterial effects on human skin, a 2012 study observing the effects of shea butter on animals shows promise.
3. Helps Minimize Irritation and Inflammation
Another reason for shea butter's popularity in cosmetics is its ability to help minimize both skin irritation and inflammation.
Given that this ingredient contains linoleic acid, shea butter then has anti-inflammatory benefits that you can reap. Linoleic acid and the esters in this substance help trigger our body's inflammatory cells, including cytokines, to slow their inflammatory response.
Additionally, it also helps minimize the irritation our skin may experience from environmental triggers and skin conditions like eczema. It has vitamins A and E, effectively easing irritation on sensitive skin.
4. Has Anti-Aging Properties
Did you know that shea butter helps slow down the aging process? It does so in several ways.
First, it contains vitamins A and E, which are both antioxidants. This means shea butter helps block free radicals from damaging your skin cells, effectively helping prevent premature aging.
Shea butter has significant vitamin A and E levels, which promotes intense antioxidant activity.
Second, shea butter has triterpenes, natural chemical compounds believed to stop the destruction of collagen fibers.
Lastly, as a potent moisturizer, shea butter helps boost collagen production and healthy skin cell regeneration. These help your skin retain its elasticity and younger glow, even as you age.
Given these three anti-aging factors, shea butter may significantly help slow down the appearance of any signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles.
5. Helps With Easing Skin Conditions like Eczema
A lot of people suffer from irritating skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis. The former causes red itchy rashes to form on a person's skin. It also makes one susceptible to skin infections.
A person with eczema usually doesn't have high-enough levels of fatty acids in the skin, making the skin barrier weak to germs and other irritants.
Usually, the treatment given to those with this skin condition includes medicated creams, balms, or ointments. These substances help moisturize the skin while reinforcing the skin's protection from irritants.
According to research, shea butter can help reduce the symptoms eczema sufferers experience. The study also found that it's better than petroleum-based skincare items, thanks to linoleic acid abundant in both shea butter and our skin.
6. Safe to Use for Most People
One of the best things about shea butter is that it's safe for most people. While people with nut allergies will understandably veer away from it, this substance is safe, even for them.
When talking about allergens, you're talking about proteins. However, shea butter is, in its entirety, the fat from the shea nut. This makes shea butter a low-risk ingredient for topical cosmetics, as allergies are rare.
Other Uses of Shea Butter
Besides being included in hair care products, shea butter can also help diminish the appearance of scars on our bodies. These may consist of raised scars from cuts or stretch marks.
Many people worldwide can't get enough of shea butter in their skincare, and it's not hard to see why. Given its potent antioxidants and nourishing fatty acids, this skincare ingredient's benefits make up a long list. These six are just a start.
While it may be hard to believe that one ingredient helps with many aspects of our skin's health, shea butter is the real deal. If you want to see the effects of shea butter for yourself, try it out for yourself!