What is Shea Butter and How Does it Work?
You have probably seen the ingredient shea butter in various hair care and skin care products. Shea butter derives from the shea nut tree, which grows in the western and central parts of Africa. In order to produce the nuts used to make shea butter, trees usually grow in about 18-25 years. But, just what is shea butter and how exactly does it work?
First of all, shea butter isn’t actually a butter. In fact, it is a solid fatty oil that derives from the Karite trees, found in Africa. The nuts from the trees are harvested, crushed, boiled and made into shea butter. When shea butter is in a raw form, it resembles maple ice cream with lumps. While shea butter is edible, it is rarely used in cooking or baking and instead, mainly used for beauty and medicinal uses.
She butter works well when it comes to soothing, hydrating and balancing the skin. Because of this, it is often used on elbows, knees and heels of the skin as well as chapped lips, dry skin and as a hair treatment for dry scalp. It is important to use raw shea butter when moisturizing since in this form, shea butter keeps all its therapeutic qualities.
Shea butter also works as an anti-inflammatory, healing burns and cuts, easing muscle pain, taking the sting out of bug bites and relieving rashes. The Journal of Oleo Science published a study in 2010 that was done by Toshihiro Akihisa and team. This study indicated that shea fat actually has a great deal of anti-inflammatory properties.
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Shea butter also has anti-aging properties. Shea butter has been used for many, many years to reduce skin wrinkles. This is due to the fact that it contains Vitamin A, Vitamin E and essential fatty acids, important for maintaining the suppleness and elasticity of the skin.