Made using the seeds of fruit grown on the Karite tree indigenous to West Africa, Shea butter is a popular ingredient found in numerous cosmetic and beauty products; including the Unity Beauty Essentials Intensive Body Nourisher. The benefits of shea butter have been known for a long time, with historical records indicating it was being used and transported around Africa during the reign of Cleopatra, which spanned from 51 BC to 30 BC. Even back then, the benefits of shea butter were recognised and it was commonly used to prevent skin and hair from drying out due to prolonged exposure to heat and sunlight.
Rich in vitamins A, E and F, a number of shea butter’s renowned benefits have been scientifically proven in recent years. For instance, a 2010 study carried out by Japanese researchers from the College of Science and Technology found shea butter demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties, while a 2014 study carried out by a biochemist at Nigeria’s Ekiti State University and subsequently published in the American Journal of Life Sciences found shea butter possessed anti-aging properties. It is due to these qualities in addition to many others that shea butter has become one of the world’s most highly sought-after natural skincare ingredients
While it is good to know that many of the touted benefits of shea butter have been officially verified, it still doesn’t quite spell out what its skincare benefits are. After all, it is not only found in anti-aging creams and topical anti-inflammatories. Below are just a few examples of what real skincare benefits shea butter has to offer.
Protects Against UV Damage
The ancient people of Africa were wise to use shea butter to protect their skin and hair from the sun, as it naturally contains cinnamic acid and tocopherols. These are known to absorb UV-B rays, allowing shea butter to provide an SPF of between 6 and 10.
Soothes Irritated Skin
Shea butter’s anti-inflammatory properties and rich portfolio of vitamins have led to it becoming a natural treatment for various ills and ailments. One of its most common uses is as an ingredient in topical creams used to soothe skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis.
Moisturises Skin & Hair
As well as preventing skin and hair from becoming dry, shea butter can also be used to replenish moisturise that has already been lost. Shea butter is a relatively heavy-duty moisturiser, making it ideal for hydrating the body but perhaps a little too rich for the face. This should only be a concern, of course, if it is applied in a relatively natural or raw form, as facial skincare products containing shea extract will have been formulated to balance the positives effects with any potential negative ones.
Wards Against Stretch Marks
Shea butter can be used raw or as an active ingredient in pregnancy skincare products to help keep stretch marks at bay. Though partially a result of the rich moisture content found in shea butter, the most important way in which it helps is by encouraging the body to produce more collagen. While nothing is ever 100% guaranteed to prevent stretch marks from forming, regularly applying shea butter to stretch-mark-prone areas such as the hips and stomach is a great precautionary measure to take.
Reduces The Visible Signs Of Aging
As stated above, shea butter has been proven to possess anti-aging properties. The same boost in collagen production that helps to keep stretch marks at bay encourages a more youthful appearance, but it’s the antioxidants fighting against free radicals in the skin that actually keeps cells strong and supple. Regular applications of shea butter will reduce the appearance of wrinkles and skincare products containing shea extract can be used to reduce the depth of facial lines.
Relieves Muscular Aches & Pains
Thanks to its inherent anti-inflammatory properties, shea butter can also be used to soothe sore muscle and reduce swelling. Perfect for use after playing sports, going for a run or taking a long bike ride, simply apply shea butter to the affected area and relax. Best of all, what did ache will not only stop, it will also be well moisturised.