Shea butter is a natural fat derived from the West African Shea tree. It is a natural substance that is abundant in various vitamins that aid in moisturization and skin irritation relief. Thus, you may have noticed shea butter as the main ingredient in different skincare, acne, and hair products–and there’s a reason for that! Keep reading as we discuss the many benefits shea butter can offer for the skin, hair, and other conditions.
Benefits of Using Shea Butter
Given the numerous anti-inflammatory and rejuvenating properties of shea butter, it is a great and easy-to-use product that anyone can add to their daily skin routine. From treating dandruff to eczema, the benefits are rich and multifaceted. Let’s delve into the five main ways you can use shea butter below.
1. It’s Moisturizing
Perhaps the common use for shea butter is as a treatment for dry skin. This ingredient contains many fatty acids, supporting lipids that boost the skin barrier, protecting your skin from external irritants while maintaining water levels in the body.
Furthermore, the product does not include any proteins that can negatively affect sensitive skin, so shea butter is a safe option for all skin types.
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2. It Works As An Anti-Inflammatory
As mentioned above, shea butter can restore the skin barrier, which shields the skin from harmful external triggers.
However, shea butter doesn’t just prevent skin irritation; it also doubles as a treatment. When used, shea butter can decelerate the production of inflammatory cells, alleviating irritation caused by environmental triggers or skin conditions such as eczema.
3. Shea Butter Contains Antioxidants
Shea butter containts vitamins A and E. These vitamins are also known as antioxidants for their ability to inhibit the impact of harmful environmental oxidants and free radicals on your skin. Because of this capability, shea butter also possesses anti-aging properties, which can support more smooth, youthful-looking skin.
4. It Gives Your Collagen Production a Boost
Just when you thought shea butter couldn’t get any better, the product also contains triterpenes, compounds that slow down collagen destruction. This is important as collagen plays a huge role in your skin by enhancing skin elasticity and plumpness.
5. Shea Butter Can Help Treat Dandruff
You may have observed shea butter in various dandruff treatments such as shampoos, conditioners, and hair masks. Also known as atopic dermatitis, dandruff is typically brought on by a dry scalp. The side effects of this condition can be irritating as it leaves visible flakes in one’s hair and can even make the scalp painful to the touch.
However, as we know, shea butter is an incredibly moisturizing product and can soothe skin caused by dandruff dryness or offset a potential flare-up.
Related: Home Remedies for Dry Skin: Lifestyle Changes for Prevention
Uses For Shea Butter
Evidently, shea butter can enhance your hair and skincare in a variety of ways. Now that we’ve explored the key benefits of shea butter, you may be wondering how you can add this item to your daily routine. Let’s now delve into specific ways to use specialized shea butter products.
1. Treating Dandruff & Hair Breakage
We’ve discussed the helpful effects of shea butter on dandruff; when the skin absorbs shea butter, the fatty acids boost moisture in the scalp. To those same ends, it can also restore weak or frizzy hair. By moisturizing your hair with shea butter, the product can aid in repairing split ends and breakage.
You may apply shea butter directly to the hair, but keep in mind that a little goes a long way! Because it is a heavy substance, using too much of it can result in premature oily hair. Shea butter also comes in conditioner or leave-in products.
2. Soothing Acne & Eczema
Since shea butter is an anti-inflammatory, it can relieve eczema symptoms by strengthening the skin barrier. Similarly, it also contains anti-bacterial ingredients, which can prevent and treat acne. While it appears counterintuitive to apply something as thick as shea butter to the face to clear acne, products that contain shea butter like our GIMME MORE barrier cream helps clear excess oil by replenishing natural oils in the skin.
3. Soothe Minor Burns
You can also use shea butter to treat burns. A 2020 study demonstrated that when shea butter was applied to the skin as burn ointment, the topical treatment was able to reduce immune cells and accelerate healing.
If you are looking to soothe your burn with shea butter, ensure you do not purchase shea butter in its raw form as studies show that applying raw shea butter could exacerbate the lesion.
4. Reduce Stretch Marks
Many people struggle with stretch marks during phases of weight gain, loss, and pregnancy. While stretch marks are entirely normal, the presence of these marks can contribute to insecurities. Fortunately, as mentioned above, shea butter has vitamin A which promotes skin elasticity. Applying shea butter to these areas can diminish the visibility of these marks while supporting skin health.
5. Added Layer of Sun Protection
Shea butter also offers UV ray protection for the skin. However, it should never act as a complete substitute for actual sunscreen. In addition to providing supplemental UV ray protection, shea butter can also be applied to sunburns because, as shown above, shea butter can help to speed the healing process in burns.