Is shea butter good for you?
Is shea butter good for you?
You’re probably familiar with shea butter – at least in name – if you’ve ever browsed through rows and rows of moisturizers. Rich, effective face creams contain it as an ingredient. What does it do in your skincare?
Shea butter skin is made from the kernels of trees indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa. Shea tree parts were traditionally used for their anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, treating a variety of health conditions, including ulcers, nasal congestion, and skin problems. Shea Butter lotion still comes mostly from this region, but it’s now valued more for its skincare properties.
Shea butter offers five major skin benefits.
1. Increases skin hydration
Shea butter is the reason so many face moisturizers and body lotions contain it. In addition to softening and hydrating the skin, this oil acts as an emollient. Shea butter is rich in fatty acids, such as lineoleic, oleic, palmitic, and stearic acids, which improve the skin’s natural barrier, preventing pollution from damaging it.
2. Reduces inflammation of the skin
Isolated black woman applying cream to her face against a beige background.
An isolated photograph of a young black woman applying cream to her face. Journal of Oleo Science. It is often found in products that help heal inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, reports the Hong Kong Medical Journal, as well as those meant to soothe sunburns. Shea butr sun-protective products are also available.
3. Heals cutout break sapes
This ingredient is also often found in scar-healing products due to its high fat content as well as speeding up the healing process. According to research published in the journal Wounds, it may be particularly effective in preventing keloid scars – red, raised, rubbery scars. Emollient properties are also possibly responsible for some of shea butter’s other benefits.
4. Prevents outbreaks
Acne sufferers can also benefit from using shea butter! What good can shea butter do for oily skin?
Dry, acne-prone skin tends to overproduce sebum, which clogs pores; shea butter prevents this cycle from happening by preventing skin from drying out in the first place. It is not true that shea butter causes oily skin – there is no evidence to support this. Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology reports limited evidence that the bark from the shea tree is antibacterial, which could translate into acne-fighting properties in shea butter. Not bad for a single ingredient!
5. Antioxidants may inhibit aging
A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry notes that shea butter contains several antioxidants, including vitamins A and E, as well as many of the antioxidants found in green tea, a known antioxidant powerhouse. Shea butter may not be an anti-aging ingredient just yet, but antioxidants (especially vitamin A) have been shown to protect skin from free radical damage.