A power-packed super food, shea butter offers a myriad of benefits for skin and health. Rich in fatty acids and a plethora of vitamins, shea is derived from the African karite or shea tree. It is a creamy off-white color that makes it appear like ice cream or butter in the sunlight.
Unlike many of the beauty products we cover our bodies in on a daily basis, shea butter is so pure and natural that it is edible. In fact, it is often added to chocolate, another delicious reason to love it. There are dozens of advantages to using shea butter from head to toe, making it a product that nearly all of us can enjoy.
The moisturizing and healing capabilities of shea butter are especially popular, but it is also capable of healing minor wounds, relieving inflammation, and even reducing sinus congestion. As a result, it a great catch-all product to keep around at all times. Just remember to look for it in it’s most natural and unaltered form for best results.
1. Moisturizing for Dry Skin
Anyone who knows anything about skincare knows that apart from a healthy diet, daily moisturizing is the number one way to keep skin looking young and beautiful. Shea butter offers great moisturizing capabilities and is actually an ingredient in many well-known beauty products for that reason.
Since it absorbs rapidly into the skin, it also does not feel as sticky or oily, making it a very comfortable option and a great choice for application underneath makeup.
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2. Reduce the Appearance of Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Anti-aging products make up a huge corner of the beauty market. Multiple studies have shown that shea butter reduces the effects of aging by boosting collagen and repairing damaged skin.
Applying 15% shea butter to the skin twice a day appears to reduce photo-aging and improve the overall appearance of skin, making it plumper and more supple.
3. Chemical-Free Baby Care
Parents are always on the search for safe, natural products to use on babies. Shea butter fits the bill. A great moisturizer and sealant, it is a fantastic choice for daily massage and cradle crap remedy. Due to its minor healing capabilities, it can also help with some types of diaper rash.
4. Itch Relief
Itchy skin is miserable. For those with chronic itch and irritation, the blog Shea Butter Wisdom offers a recipe for dry skin treatment using shea butter as a primary ingredient.
Free of steroids and additional, unnatural ingredients, it is a great, inexpensive alternative to many types of anti-itch creams found at the store.
5. Sunburn Relief
Although we all know we should be wearing ten layers of sunscreen before we walk out the door every morning, all of us forget every now and again. One camping trip or a day at the beach later, you find yourself covered in an angry red sunburn.
Thankfully, shea butter can help with that too. The moisturizing and healing properties make it a great aftercare product for sunburns. Application of a good coat of shea butter can reduce pain, peeling, and possibly prevent painful blistering.
6. Improved Overall Skin Health
Rich in vitamins and fatty acids, shea butter can greatly improve overall skin health. On his website, Food is Medicine, Dr. Axe reports that natural shea butter has amazing healing capabilities.
Daily use, all over the body, shows noticeable, measurable changes. It is great for sensitive skin and gentle enough to use all over, everyday.
7. Eczema Treatment
For many, the painful irritation of eczema is a life-long struggle. Good, healing topical moisturizers provide much-needed relief to those of us who suffer from this condition. She butter’s healing anti-inflammatory properties and intense, natural moisturizing capacity make it a great option for eczema relief.
It is important to point out that the product does come from a type of nut and therefore caution should be exercised when used by those with nut allergies. Thankfully, research shows that only a small amount of allergen is found in the butter form of the shea nut, so many people who suffer from other types of nut allergies may still be able to use derivatives of the shea tree.
8. Burn Relief
Adding some shea butter to minor burns helps to relief pain and inflammation. Keep some in the kitchen for quick relief of minor burns. Apply several times a day until the pain and redness subside.
The emollients in shea butter may also help to prevent a scar from forming following a minor kitchen burn.
9. Stretch Mark Reduction and Prevention
Adding shea butter to the skin during pregnancy or other times of rapid weight gain and loss can help to prevent the formation of the dreaded stretch mark. Since many stretch marks appear following the loss of weight, remember to keep applying for the long term.
If you already have stretch marks, add shea butter to help reduce their appearance. It can be used safely all over the body and is a well-respected option for pregnancy and postpartum due to its non-chemical makeup.
10. Improved Healing of Small Wounds
Small wounds, such as minor cuts and scrapes, are a part of everyday life. Adding a little bit of shea butter helps to relieve pain and promote healing.
It is safe to use on children and adults and can be applied multiple times per day. This, along with its other benefits makes it a great addition to any natural-based first aid kit.
11. Relief of Muscle Tension and Strain
Studies have shown that shea butter is great for relieving muscle tension and strain. Because of this, it is a popular option for lubrication during a massage. To improve the experience add a few drops of your favorite essential oil and relax.
Though shea butter does often appear solid, it turns to liquid at body temperature. It is non-greasy and long-lasting, all elements of a great massage oil.
12. Protection and Relief from Cold Weather
Just as shea butter helps to prevent damage from the sun, it also helps to reduce damage from the cold. Adding a layer to the skin before spending time in winter weather helps to prevent windburn and even frostbite to a degree.
If windburn and cold weather irritation have already occurred, applying shea butter afterward can help to reduce pain and redness.
13. Bug Bite Relief
A great accompaniment to any summer camping trip, shea butter helps to stamp out some of the pain that occurs from nuisance mosquito bites, as well as the bites and stings of other insects.
Simply add a little bit to the offending bites and you should experience almost immediate relief.
14. Foot Softening
Soft feet are highly coveted, especially in the summertime when flip-flops, bare feet, and sandals are all the rage.
Adding shea butter to the feet every night can help to keep the feet soft and callous-free. To help seal in the moisture, put on a pair of comfy socks following application.
15. Inflammation Reduction
The anti-inflammatory capabilities of shea butter are so great that it can be used to improve skin condition and overall health.
It is even a great product for relieving arthritis and other sources of chronic inflammation. Massage on painful, irritated joints and muscles following strenuous activity or any other time a flare up may occur.
16. Cuticle Cream
Add shea butter the hands pre and post manicure to help keep the cuticles safe and soft. This not only prevents infection but it also keeps the cuticles from being too dry, leading to painful cracks when they break away from the nail bed.
17. Under Makeup for Better Staying Power
Adding shea butter not only provides a soft, ultra-moisturized pallet, making it easier to add makeup, but it also brings about longer lasting makeup.
18. Lip Balm
Shea butter is an ingredient in many popular lipsticks, chapsticks, and glosses. However, you can easily skip the middle man and simply use pure shea butter to keep the lips looking soft and kissable.
After all, she is a great, fast-absorbing moisturizing agent and it has the added benefit of being super-safe and edible.
19. Scalp and Dry Hair Treatment
Used for centuries, shea butter makes a great scalp and dry hair treatment. Add it to the ends of the hair for use as a natural leave-in conditioner. Massage into the scalp to heal irritation
20. Protection Against UV Damage
Although it is ideal to use additional sunscreen, natural shea butter does offer us some level of UV protection. According to research from Alander, J., Andersson, A. C.,Cinnamate esters of triterpene alcohol are part of the chemical makeup of natural, unadulterated shea butter and they are known to absorb cancer-causing UVB radiation.
So wearing a little bit of shea butter under your daily makeup not only moisturizes the skin but also helps to protect you from some of the sun’s most deadly rays.
21. Natural Shaving Cream
Apply shea butter before shaving to provide the ultimate, smooth canvas. Using shea butter as a natural shaving cream helps to prevent bumps, redness, and irritation. Afterward, skin will be silky smooth and smell fabulous.
22. Relief from Cold and Sinus Pressure
If you still are not convinced to keep a tub of shea butter around the house, it turns out that it may also be able to relieve pain and pressure related to sinusitis. It is believed that adding shea butter to the inside of the nostrils helps to improve respiration by decreasing congestion.
At the same time, it helps to heal and protect the skin from the constant wear and tear of having to wipe or blow your nose. You can also use it to massage the sinuses and encourage drainage.
23. Hair Softener
Coarse dry hair, either due to product damage or nature, can become rough and undesirable. To make hair softer to the touch, not to mention great-smelling and smooth, add a little shea butter.
It’s already a leading ingredient in thousands of well-known and widely used haircare products.
24. Under-Eye Bag Reducer
Adding a little shea butter to those pesky under-eye bags helps to reduce their appearance. Since we already know shea butter can reduce aging and improve elasticity, it also works to prevent future under eye wrinkles.
It dries fast and is undetectable on the skin. A great little secret for when you just are not able to get the sleep you need but still want to look your best.
What Will You Use Shea Butter For?
Purchasing a high-quality grade bottle of shea butter opens up a world of possibilities for natural skin care and health, for all ages and genders. From healing minor wounds and irritations to repairing dry and damaged skin, there are so many benefits of using shea butter on a daily basis.
Look for unadulterated, pure, grade A shea butter for the best results. If you suffer from latex or nut allergies, it is important to use shea butter sparingly at first to ensure there are no reactions. However, overall, shea butter seems to have much lower levels of allergens than similar products.
Once you have experienced the benefits of shea butter you will likely find yourself using it on a daily basis in all facets of life.