If you have dry skin, you’ve probably used enough shea butter in your life to know that it’s one of the most hydrating ingredients that you could apply to your skin. It’s been used as a skin softening cosmetic ingredient for centuries because of its high concentration of vitamins and fatty acids, but did you know that it also has anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties?

Let’s take a deep dive into all things shea butter and see why it should be on the ingredient list of your moisturiser.

What is Shea Butter?

Shea butter comes from the fruit of a shea tree, a traditional African food plant native to the region. The fruit is the colour of a green olive, shape of a grape and consists of a thin, tart, pulp that surrounds a large oil rich seed. It’s this seed from which shea butter is extracted. To extract the butter, the fruit is picked, cracked, roasted, and pounded into a chocolate like paste.

There are two types of shea butter, refined and unrefined. Refined shea butter is extracted via a chemical process that uses antioxidants or preservatives and the butter has little fragrance. Unrefined shea butter is extracted without any other ingredients, retains all its natural benefits and has a nutty, earthy fragrance.

Shea butter soothes redness and moisturises dry skin

Benefits of Shea Butter for Your Skin

Rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins, shea butter contains five essential fatty acids, stearic and oleic acid, phytosterols, vitamin E, D and A. Essential fatty acids are the building blocks of healthy cells and help keep the skin’s natural oil barrier intact, which is critical for skin staying hydrated, plump, and younger looking. Other shea butter benefits include:

  • Anti-inflammatory: Helps calm and soothe redness and inflammation due to its content of linoleic acid.
  • Emollient: Rich plant oils within the butter smooth and soften the skin barrier helping seal in moisture.
  • Plumps Skin: Contains triterpenes which help promote collagen production and slow the amount of collagen being broken down.
  • Hydrating: Excellent hydrator as it soaks into skin protecting it from the elements.
  • Antioxidant: Rich in antioxidants that help prevent fine lines and wrinkles and contains vitamins A, E, and F that help boost circulation and encourage faster generation of skin cells.

What Skin Types Can Use Shea Butter?

As a skin conditioning agent, Shea butter is good for all skin types but due to its high amount of essential fatty acids, its especially good for dull, dry, and prematurely aged skin. Shea butter is comedogenic meaning that the application of pure shea butter to your face or using products that contain high concentrations of shea butter, may clog your pores and lead to breakouts.

Intensive Night Repair moisturiser with shea butter

Side Effects of Shea Butter

Shea butter is a low-risk ingredient with allergic reactions rare, however those with allergies to tree nuts may have a reaction. If you have an allergy, seek medical advice before trying any new product or ingredients and always conduct a patch test.

If you’re finding your skin needs a little pick me up and some TLC, let shea butter come to the rescue. Whether you’re dealing with dry, dull, or prematurely aged skin, this natural ingredient is here to help.

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