Shea Butter: Why is It the Ultimate Ingredient for Healthy-looking Skin?
This article is sponsored by Crepe Erase®
Shea Butter: Why is It the Ultimate Ingredient for Healthy-looking Skin? The unassuming shea tree may not look like an economic powerhouse, but it’s critical to the production of many leading beauty products. Native to Africa, anthropologists have found evidence of cultivation as far back as 100 A.D. At least some of this attention can be credited to shea butter, a vegetable protein extracted from the tree nut. This substance is arguably the best natural moisturizer humans have discovered.
Take a moment to review the ingredients of your favorite skincare products. Notice any similarities? Chances are that shea butter is a key ingredient in the lotions, creams, conditioners, and shampoos that make up your skincare regimen.
It’s rare for researchers, beauty experts, and everyday people to sing the praises of a single ingredient. So what gives shea butter its super powers to protect and restore skin?
Vitamins and Nutrients
Shea butter is a plant fat, and that means it contains a hefty supply of triglycerides. Applied to the skin, these fats slow the loss of surface moisture. Think of how water rolls off wax, and you’ll understand the basics behind triglycerides and skin. Substances with this property are known as humectants, and are very important to the production of moisturizers.
While triglycerides guard against trouble at the surface, vitamins A and E go to work within the skin itself.
Vitamin A is a retinoid that encourages cellular growth and communication. As such, it’s often used to treat acne, wrinkles, or burns. The assumption is that vitamin A also delivers these nourishing properties to skin via shea butter.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant found in unrefined shea butter. The chemistry behind antioxidants is complex, but they’re able to provide a layer of protection against free radicals. These skin-damaging molecules can come from the environment and man-made pollutants.
Researchers are also confident that shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties, and this can explain its historic use as an emollient to calm irritated skin. It’s easy to see why people have valued shea butter throughout history.
Using Shea Butter for Skincare
As we’ve pointed out, shea butter is used in many over-the-counter beauty products. Pure, unrefined shea butter is usually richer in vitamins and minerals, and can be applied all over the body.
However, natural shea butter can clog pores, so you don’t want to use it on your face. Instead, look for non-comedogenic products that include refined shea butter. These are designed to keep pores clear and can often be used on the face without issue. As always, follow the directions on the product.
Shea butter has a long history as one of the most useful natural skin moisturizers. Now that you have an idea of how it earned this reputation, you may appreciate it even more.