Shea butter is a natural fat extracted from the nuts of the shea tree which grows widely in the African savannas. The nutrients contained in it have many benefits, especially for healthy skin and hair. Shea butter can be used as a sunscreen to dandruff remedy.
To become shea butter, the seeds of the nut of the shea tree are processed into powder by drying, roasting and grinding. Next, the powder is boiled to produce oil.
The oil that appears on the surface of the water is then separated and cooled until it becomes solid like cream or butter. This butter can be used for cooking or processed into beauty products, such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, and skin moisturizer.
Nutritional Content in Shea Butter
What makes shea butter one of the prima donnas in skin and hair care products is the nutritional content in it. Shea butter contains anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antioxidant substances that protect the skin from free radicals, and is believed to treat a number of skin disorders.
The nutrients contained in shea butter include:
Vitamins A and E. These vitamins can improve circulation and growth of skin cells, and make the skin healthier. Essential fatty acids consisting of linoleic, palmitic, stearic and oleic acids, to balance the oil levels in the skin. Triterpenes, tocopherols, phenols and sterols, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Triglyceride fats, to maintain healthy skin. Cetyl ester, which helps retain skin moisture
Another advantage is that shea butter does not contain substances that have the potential to make the skin dry and irritated, but it also does not make the skin oily, so it is safe to use on all skin types.
Various Benefits of Shea Butter for Skin and Hair
The following are some of the benefits that can be obtained from using shea butter:
- As a moisturizer and sunscreen
Shea butter can work as an emollient that softens and moisturizes dry skin. Plus, shea butter contains SPF, so it can be used as an additional sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. But to increase sun protection, you still have to use sunblock.
- Overcoming minor burns
The anti-inflammatory components in shea butter are believed to reduce redness and swelling. Its fatty acid components can also soothe minor burns, such as sunburns, by retaining moisture in the skin while it heals.
- Delaying premature aging
The appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the skin is a sign of premature aging. Shea butter is able to prevent premature aging because it contains triterpenes which can maintain and increase collagen production.
Meanwhile, vitamins A and E in shea butter can help the skin regeneration process by stimulating the formation of new skin cells. The combination of these nutrients can prevent premature aging, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles on the skin, so that the skin looks youthful.
- Prevent and reduce stretch marks and keloids
The content of vitamins A and E in shea butter are known to be able to moisturize and restore skin elasticity, so they can help prevent and reduce stretch marks. A study also shows that the content of essential fatty acids in shea butter can hydrate the skin while reducing keloid growth.
- Prevent acne
Shea butter is rich in various types of essential fatty acids which can control excess oil production and restore and maintain skin moisture, so the skin is not dry and not oily. The balance of oil levels in the skin can prevent acne.
- Treat skin infections
The nutritional content in shea butter is believed to be able to fight skin infections caused by fungi, such as ringworm and athlete’s foot. Shea butter is also often used to treat skin infections caused by mites, such as scabies.
- Coping with inflammation of the skin
The anti-inflammatory components in shea butter are known to soothe the skin and relieve itching caused by eczema, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis, even on baby skin. The results of the study show that shea butter can be used together with creams to treat eczema.
- Treat dandruff
One way to treat dandruff is to restore moisture to the dry and irritated scalp. Well, a study shows that the combination of shea butter with other moisturizers can help reduce dandruff and the risk of flaky skin.
There are 2 types of shea butter, namely refined and unrefined shea butter. Refined shea butter is shea butter that goes through a lot of filtering, while unrefined shea butter is pure shea butter that doesn’t go through much filtering.
It should be noted that the filtering process can make the shea butter lose some of its nutrients. So if you want to experience the maximum benefits, you should choose unrefined shea butter products because the nutrients are still maintained.
Even though it is considered safe for all skin types, you can still run the risk of irritation or allergy to shea butter. So if complaints appear on the skin or hair after using shea butter, stop using it immediately and consult a doctor.