What is Shea Butter? Know its Benefits, Uses and Side effects
Shea butter is an off-white fatty substance extracted from the shea nuts of the shea tree. This is a natural fat that is extracted by crushing and cooking shea tree's ripen nuts or fruits. It is an ivory-yellow, oily, solid and thick substance at room temperature.
Shea is packed with stearic acid, oleic acid, vitamin E and vitamin A, making it ideal for collagen production and UV protection. Its buttery texture contains 60% fat, which makes it ideal for penetrating the skin. In addition, the natural moisturizers in shea butter are similar to the sebaceous glands of our skin extract. All of this together makes shea a moisturizing wonder for your skin and hence it is used in a majority of cosmetic products.
Importance of Shea Butter in Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, Shea butter is known to cure skin problems related to Vata and Pitta Dosha. Shea butter protects skin from environmental damage and also has UVB protection, making it a great ingredient for sun protection.
Benefits of Shea Butter
- Best for skin care:Raw shea butter is a great natural ingredient as it acts as a moisturizer and gives the skin a nice glow. It helps soften the skin by moisturizing, making it a great skin conditioner.
- Reduces wrinkles Raw shea butter helps regenerate tissue cells and soothes the skin. Thus, it helps to reduce wrinkles.
- Hydrates scalpThis butter locks in moisture, nourishes the scalp, reduces dandruff and offers all-around protection from bad weather - it works on hair in a similar way like coconut oil. You can use it on your scalp, hair or both to improve your hair health. For this, gently heat the shea butter to soften it and rub it thoroughly on hair and scalp. Leave it for 20-30 minutes for best results. Then rinse off.
- Prevents diaper rashShea butter is a great ointment for your baby's diaper rash due to its antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Raw shea butter helps improve circulation by promoting cell regeneration and increasing collagen production. Both cell regeneration and collagen production are important for fast healing of diaper rash.
- Reduces stretch marks and scarsDue to its amazing properties of enhancing blood circulation and healing, shea butter can reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars.
- Perfect for dry heels, cracked knees and elbowsShea butter is perfect for relieving itchy skin. Its moisturizing properties penetrate deep into the skin and are perfect for dry, cracked heels, rough hands, elbows, and knees.
Shea butter protects your skin from the sun and is a much healthier option because most sunscreens are full of harmful chemicals that penetrate the skin and enter our bodies.
Uses of Shea Butter
You can use shea butter to treat skin related conditions like
Side effects of Shea Butter
Shea butter is generally safe to use, but precautions should be exercised in those with an allergy to nuts. Side effects may occur because shea butter is extracted from the nuts of the shea tree.
Allergies to shea butter are generally rare. You can mix it up if you like, if not, apply a small amount of shea butter to a small area of skin and check the reaction. If your skin reacts, it is best to stop using the product.
Where is it found?
Shea trees are commonly grown in Africa and found in East and West Tropical Asia.