Plant Based Diet
Plant Based Diet
By | July 27th, 2013 | Modified - October 4th, 2014

What is Shea Butter? Skin Care Benefits

What Is Shea Butter? Shea Butter Benefits For Skin Care
What Is Shea Butter? Shea Butter Benefits For Skin Care

I am so glad I found the answer to “what is shea butter?” I also learned what the shea butter benefits for skin care were, and now it is normally the only thing use to moisturize my skin and scalp.

What Is Shea Butter

Shea butter is a slightly yellowish fat extracted from the nut of the shea tree. The shea tree is indigenous to Africa and comes in two main varieties which produce nuts with slightly different properties. Butyrospermum parkii, B. paradoxa grows in and is produced in various countries in West Africa, and Vitellaria paradoxa grows in East Africa and is produced in Northern Uganda and Southern Sudan.

Shea butter from East Africa has a sweeter scent, is softer, creamier and is easier to apply than shea butter from Western Africa. Shea butter from East Africa also contains slightly higher therapeutic properties than shea butter from West Africa.

Shea butter’s therapeutic properties and shea butter benefits range from ultraviolet light protection, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, regenerative, antieczema, and anti-wrinkle properties.

What’s In Shea Butter

Shea butter that is extracted from the nut of the shea tree contains several fatty acids including oleic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, linolenic acid, and arachidic acid. Shea butter also contains vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin F, cinnamates, plant sterols, and other phytonutrients.

Shea Butter Benefits: Skin Care

Shea butter benefits consist two categories called fractions. One is the bioactive fraction and the other is the moisturizing fraction. The bioactive fraction also called the healing fraction consists of the vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin F, cinnamates, plant sterols, and other phytonutrients.

The bioactive fraction in shea butter ranges from 3% to 17% and 10% being the percentage normally found in good unrefined shea butter. This is in contrast to the 1% found in other nut oils.

The moisturizing fraction, also called the saponifiable fraction, gets it moisturizing properties from shea butter’s fatty acids.

Shea butter’s large bioactive or healing fraction in combination with its unique combination of fatty acids that make up its moisturizing fraction, make it a superior moisturizer and healer for the skin. Regular use of shea butter and its shea butter benefits can lead to healing of conditions like blemishes, wrinkles, sunburn, eczema, and small wounds.

I have noticed a difference in the moisturizing and healing ability of shea butter compared to any other moisturizer I have used. Shea butter deeply penetrates my skin and makes it stronger and fuller, in comparison to other moisturizers than sit on top of my skin. Shea butter has removed spots and has evened my skin tone, and my skin stays moist now throughout the day.

Shea Butter Benefits: Grades Of Shea Butter

Shea butter comes unrefined and refined. In commercial application shea butter is refined and can lose up to 75% of its healing properties. The are different levels of refining and shea butter can range from Grade A to Grade D. The shea butter you find in commercial lotions and cosmetics is Grade D. Mostly all of the healing fraction has been removed and fragrance is added, which covers up rancid smell of the lower grade shea butter.

It is better to use pure unrefined shea butter than refined shea butter. Pure unrefined shea butter has a yellowish color, a sweet nutty scent, and maintains more of its healing properties than refined shea butter. Though unrefined shea butter’s scent is stronger the refined shea butter, the sweet nutty scent goes away in a few minutes and you are left with its full healing and moisturizing power.

Now that you have a better understanding of “what is shea butter” and the benefits of shea butter, I hope you will use an organic, raw, an unrefined shea butter as part of a plant based diet to heal your skin, maximize your healthy living, to show the radiance that you are.

References:
United Nations Shea Butter Scoping Paper
Shea Butter Anti-inflammatory properties
Shea Butter

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About Author:

I obtained a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University. I eat a plant based diet and I am an avid researcher of the benefits of a whole food, plant based alkaline diet. I obtained a BA in Organizational Behavior and Communications from NYU, worked as an elementary school teacher, and have studied social work. I am a web designer/developer and I enjoy boxing, kick boxing, cycling, power walking, and basically anything challenging. Eating a plant based diet and exercising is a great way to achieve healthy living. ~ Natural Life Energy

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