Shea butter is found in the nuts that grow on the shea-karite tree, which exclusively grow in the tropics of Africa. In the old days, this butter was extracted from the nuts by a procedure that involved cracking, grilling, and later, pounding the nuts. These nuts were then boiled in water for a few hours until the butter rose to the surface of the water. These days however, the procedure is much more simplified with a machine doing the entire job of extraction within no time.
This butter is available in two forms, i.e. raw shea butter as well as processed shea butter. Application of refined shea butter, which unlike processed shea butter is free of chemicals, is very useful for the hair and the skin.
Moisturizes the Skin
Shea butter removes dryness by moisturizing the skin deep into the layers. It contains fatty acids which help in retaining the skin moisture as well as maintaining skin elasticity. It is because of these fatty acids that this moisturizer is an important ingredient in so many soaps, lotions, gels, and anti-aging creams.
Promotes Hair Growth
This butter is full of minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin A and vitamin E. It is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Due to the presence of these nutrients, this butter is often used for hair growth. There are various hair care products in the market, such as shampoos and conditioners, which contain this butter as one of the chief ingredients.
Nourishes the Hair
Its application softens and moisturizes dry hair. If the hair has become thin or brittle due to various reasons such as pollution, excessive usage of chemicals, hair coloring, or blow drying, then application of shea butter helps in protecting the hair by sealing in moisture. This butter also provides the hair with vitamin A and vitamin E, nourishing and making it stronger in the process.
Prevents Stretch Marks
Stretch marks appear on the thighs, upper arms, abdomen, buttocks, and breasts of women due to sudden weight gain, pregnancy, bodybuilding activities, or growth spurts. When the body expands due to any of these reasons, the skin stretches too. This causes the dermis to develop tears. With the fatty acids, this moisturizer hydrates, heals, and helps to maintain skin elasticity. Well hydrated skin is very unlikely to develop stretch marks or scars. Thus, shea butter can be very beneficial for stretch mark prevention. Application of this butter for all types of scars can be useful.
Treats Eczema, Acne, Psoriasis
Skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis can be treated with regular application of unrefined shea butter on the affected skin area. This butter is rich in vitamins and minerals, so it helps in soothing and healing skin. Hence, the use of this butter for eczema or acne can prove to be very effective, as its components aid in making the skin healthy again.
It also helps in controlling dandruff, protecting the skin against the harmful effects of the UV rays of the sun, and maintaining youthfulness of the skin by keeping it moisturized and hydrated. You can either buy products that contain this butter, or you can buy unrefined pure shea butter and apply it directly on your hair and skin. For best results, opt for the purest unrefined form.
P.S. Test the butter on a small area of skin. If you notice any discomfort or rashes, you may have allergies. In which case, it is recommended that you discontinue application immediately.