Some of you may know about the African Shea tree. Shea butter is nothing but extraction from the nuts of the same tree mentioned in the above line. It is a kind of fat that is majorly used in cosmetics. Till now, you may have judged that as it is used in cosmetics, it is a non-edible product but let me tell you, it is edible and is used in many African countries in the preparation of food.It is generally ivory or off white in colour when uncooked and dyed yellow when cooked with palm oil. Among the four states of matter, it is in solid form at room temperature or in warm weather. Shea Butter benefits not only reconstructs your skin but also reconditions your hair. Stay tuned!!
History of Shea Butter:
Shea trees were used to make coffins for Kings of Africa, were considered sacred and basically are found in West Africa. It is also called “Women’s Gold” in Africa. Queen Cleopatra used to keep the caravans of clay filled with Shea butter with her. It is rich in vitamins, fats, antioxidants and has advantages or benefits similar to green tea. Queen Sheba was also known for using Shea butter. Along with African people, the North Nigerian people also use Shea butter to cook food by mixing it with palm oil.
Usage of Shea Butter
It has exceptional properties of moisturizing and softening so it is named Mother Nature’s Conditioner. It is perfect for protection from Ultraviolet rays. Some of the usage of shea butter are:-
-> It is used for medicinal purposes and cooking in Africa.
-> It is used to treat several skin disorders. Here is the list of diseases or skin conditions that can be cured with shea butter are:
1. Minor Wounds
3. Body Rashes
5. Stretch marks
6. Insect bites
8. Repair cracks on skin and heels
10. Ease eczema and swelling on the skin
-> It is used to brush up, radiate and moisturize skin.
-> It clears nasal congestion and aids your shave.
Shea butter benefits for hair:
1. It helps in curing the dry and itchy scalp.
2. It protects hair against heat damage.
3. It is safe to use on all hair types and its anti-inflammatory properties reduce the redness and irritation on the scalp.
How to use Shea butter on hair:
There are two methods or ways of using it on hairs but it is not advisable for people who have a type of hair that gets greasy or oily too early as this will make hair look greasy. The two methods of using it are:
1. You can choose from a variety of hair products available that contain shea butter. An enormous range of products are available in the market whose major constituent or ingredient is shea butter.
2. If you have raw shea butter available near you, then you just need to melt it in the microwave or at the gas stove, apply it on your hair for a reasonable amount of time and then wash it off using a mild shampoo that suits your hair type.
Types of Shea Butter
Most people are not aware that it is mainly of two types i.e. Western African and Eastern African. So what is the difference between these two types? Let us discuss:
Lower Concentration of oleic acid
Higher Concentration of oleic acid
Higher Melting Point
Lower Melting Point
Harder in consistency
Creamy and soft texture
Denser consistency at room temperature
More liquid at room temperature
Contains higher content of Vitamin A so it is more suitable to use for stretch marks, scars, blemishes and wrinkles.
It is more suitable for wounds, dry skin, sensitive skin, aging skin, bruised skin and peeling skin.
Refined Vs Unrefined Shea Butter
Basis of difference
Unrefined Shea Butter
Refined Shea Butter
It is extracted and processed without using any chemicals.
It undergoes the process of refining or removing the natural scent.
Cream or light yellow
Natural or nutty scent
Gentle through traditional handcrafted method
Mechanical through solvents or chemicals.
Relatively heat resistant
Very heat resistant
Health Care Properties
Vitamins and fatty acids
After discussing the differences between both of them, we would like to share our point of view, that unrefined or raw Shea butter is more beneficial.
Shea Butter Benefits for skin
2. Skin doesn’t look oily: Whenever we speak of butter, it gives us an idea that the skin may look oily but the fact is that it is easily absorbed by the skin because of the balance maintained by oleic or linoleic acids.
3. Help in preventing pimples or acne: Youth is worried about their skin a lot and on top of that acne makes them feel inferior and uncomfortable. Shea butter removes that worry as it helps in cleaning excess oil from the skin and hence prevents acne.
4. Protects from sun rays: Shea butter doesn’t act as sunscreen, but it provides an addition to protection from sun rays. It is used as a layer above the sunscreen.
5. Help pacify conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis: It helps in relieving irritation and thus tranquil the various skin conditions such as swelling etc.
6. Correct dark circles: It acts as an agent for improving or correcting dark spots or discolouration of the skin. Its healing process helps in mending the black, purple and pink discolourations.
7. Prevent Skin ageing: It prevents skin ageing and can be used safely even on sensitive areas of the face.
Shea butter has emollient, healing properties and is anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing, antibacterial, anti-oxidant, an antifungal that suits all skin types boosts collagen production, promotes cell regeneration, helps reduce fine lines and soothes insect bites. It contains Vitamin A, E and F, so Shea butter benefits for skin in several ways.
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