Shea butter is obtained from the Shea tree, also called Vitellaria paradoxa.
It is most commonly extracted in the form of fat from the nuts of this tree.
The Shea tree grows in Africa and plays a critical role in the day-to-day affairs of many communities.
Shea butter is known by many names in Africa.
In the Hausa language, it is called Kadanya or Kade while it’s known as Ori in West African and Karité in Senegal’s Wolof language.
Benefits for Hair: Shea butter also repairs damaged hair and is a powerful conditioner. Have you ever noticed how your hair get a little sticky after using a normal, chemical-based conditioner? Using Shea butter as a conditioner helps you get lustrous hair without any stickiness.
Uses in Massage: It is also used in massage practices as it helps the skin remain elastic and supple. Shea butter helps the production of collagen, a protein that is helpful in maintaining healthy skin. The natural elixir will also promote blood circulation and the regeneration of skin cells.
Relieves Joint Pain: What’s more, it has been known for centuries how Shea butter can help eliminate joint and bone pain.
Skin Benefits: Furthermore, Shea butter also fights bacteria that irritate the skin and cause acne. It will also clear the nasal chambers and form a barrier on the skin, protecting it from harmful agents.
The concentration of natural vitamins and fatty acids in shea butter makes it incredibly nourishing and moisturizing for the skin.
It is often used to remedy dry skin and to help protect the skin’s natural oils.
Shea butter has many therapeutic uses owing to the anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, and anti-aging effects it possesses.
Let us summarize these benefits:
- Anti-aging nature
- Skin hydration
- Anti-inflammatory nature
- Skin cell regeneration
- Increasing Collagen production
- Skin regeneration
- Skin stimulating
- Blood circulation promotion
- Skin cell restoration
THE CONSTITUENTS OF SHEA BUTTER
We will now discuss the main constituents of Shea butter which include Oleic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Allantoin, Polyphenols, and Cinnamic Acid Esters. We will now take up each one of these in detail and see their health benefits.
Let’s take up Oleic acid first which is one of the most important components of Shea butter.
- Oleic acid helps keep the skin soft, radiant, and supple. Oleic acid will also help reduce wrinkles and fine lines. It gets its name from the Latin “oleum” which means “oil”.
- Oleic acid is one of the most common of the fatty acids that occur naturally.
- It also helps to drive greater hair growth and will keep your hair strong and nourished. It is also known to increase immunity levels and acts as an anti-aging agent reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
- It is also known to fight against stiffness, inflammation, and pain in the joins and possesses strong antioxidant properties. The acid also helps reduce dandruff and will keep your hair shining.
Palmitic acid is known to render hair soft and smooth.
- The best part is that it acts without leaving any stickiness in the hair.
- It is considered to be the most common saturated fatty acid and has exceptional skin softening properties.
- It is often used to hide blemishes in skincare products.
- Palmitic acid also has powerful antioxidant properties and will neutralize the damage caused by free radicals.
- It is naturally found in a number of dairy products including butter, milk, and cheese as well.
The third important component of Shea butter is stearic acid which is considered one of the best emulsifying agents that can bind oil and water well.
- It can thus help remove sweat, excess sebum, and dirt from the skin and hair.
- Stearic acid also acts as a conditioner for the hair and can help make them voluminous.
- It will also extend the shelf life of a product it is added to.
- Overall, stearic acid helps keep the skin healthy and is an extremely potent cleansing agent.
Linoleic acid will help heal wounds faster.
- It is actually a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid and is known to promote healthy hair growth. It will also moisturize your hair and keep them hydrated.
- Linoleic acid is also used in soaps and oils that are quick-drying in nature as it is a powerful emulsifier.
- It is known to reduce the frequency of acne and will also heal those that are already present on the skin.
- It is a very powerful anti-inflammatory agent that will also lock moisture inside the hair and skin.
- If your skin is prone to acne, using a formulation based on linoleic acid is a great idea as it will thin down the consistency of an oil blend.
- Finally, Linoleic acid is known to heal skin problems such as dermatitis and eczema. It will also slow down the process of premature aging.
Allantoin is a powerful skin-soothing agent that can quickly heal skin irritation.
- It also helps the skin cells regenerate, fighting damage, and helping wounds heal faster.
- Allantoin keeps the skin tissues healthy and hydrated, making it a great moisturizer.
- It is gentle in its action and does not do further damage to irritated and sensitive skin which makes it ideal for such uses.
- Allantoin also keeps the skin soft in texture. It will boost the water content of skin tissues and is an integral component of anti-aging agents.
Cinnamic Acid Esters
These esters are chemical compounds that can help cells regenerate, resulting in the skin staying fresh and rejuvenated at all times.
- They also help irritation, redness, and inflammation heal.
- Cinnamic Acid Esters have antioxidant properties as well. They also have antimicrobial properties.
- Furthermore, they have SPF abilities which means that the products containing these esters will function as natural sunscreens, blocking harmful UV rays.
Polyphenols are known to act as skin-softening agents and have powerful antioxidants.
- They are also effective anti-aging compounds.
- Polyphenols can help protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation which can affect the skin adversely.
- Further, polyphenols are also great at boosting circulation and will promote oxygen transport to the skin.
- They also help cell regeneration and will make the skin elastic which results in healthy and beautiful skin.
- Polyphenols are effective in soothing the skin and will help repair damaged tissues. They also keep the skin hydrated and will bring lasting relief.
- Polyphenols also achieve balanced levels of oil production and open the pores of the skin.
Vitamin A can help in boosting the production of collagen which keeps the skin healthy.
- Like polyphenols, it will minimize the damage caused by exposure to UV radiation.
- Vitamin A is also an anti-aging agent and will delay the signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles.
- It is great in catalyzing the healing of wounds and will help the skin cells regenerate quickly to keep the skin firm and strong.
- It is used to lighten the dark spots and blemishes on the skin and will thus provide a glow to the skin.
- Vitamin A is also an antibacterial agent and will rid the skin of toxins and bacteria.
- It is also known to increase immunity levels. Since vitamin A opens up the pores in the skin, it helps in reducing oil secretion and will thus prevent acne.