Health

What is Shea Butter?

Sheabutter is a natural product derived from the seeds of the Shea tree which is called Butyrospermum parkii. This tree grows only in Africa from Guinea in the west to Central Africa in the east.

Cup of shea butter with shea nuts

The tree produces an edible nut that ripens during the summer months and thereafter it drops to the ground.  Local mostly women gather and prepare them very often since it is done for hundreds of years. Each fruit of the Shea tree contains 1 to 3 pecan sized seeds, containing the valuable Shea butter. It takes around 4 pounds of kernels to produce 1 pound of Shea butter.

The fruits of the Shea-tree provide a great nutritious treat for the body, and the nuts produces a wonderful skin care product. Shea Butter has been used already for centuries to moisturise the skin, especially during the dry season, and to treat minor scrapes and wounds because of its healing characteristics.

Locally the Shea butter is very popular to put the oil into the skin and hair for protection against the harsh exposure of the African climate as well as the sun.  Most of us are all too aware of the skin damaging effects of the ultraviolet UVB component of the sun. We take appropriate care to minimize the harm by avoiding direct sun exposure during the intense hours of the day or by wearing hats, sunglasses and sunscreen.  In Africa they use the Shea butter for this.

Shea butter contains cinnamic acid esters, which are of the most common organic UVB filters used in sunscreen products.

Beside of that Shea butter is also extremely rich in naturally occurring antioxidants, such as tocopherols, which have well-documented beneficial effects for the skin.

The combination of UVB protecting compounds and antioxidants makes Shea butter a great ingredient in skin care products made to protect the skin and reduce sun damage or premature skin ageing. 

Shea butter stimulates cellular regeneration and repair the skin like minor wounds and skin abrasions. The anti-elastase activity of Shea butter helps maintain a firm, healthy skin.

While there is no scientific research to validate that Shea butter helps reduce the development of stretch marks, the anti-elastase activity of the oil certainly suggests that it might, and there are many woman claiming to do so. 

The abundance of vitamins as well as naturally occurring oils and UVB protecting substances in shea butter makes Shea butter a wonderful choice when looking for skin care product that moisturise, nourish, sooth and protect your skin.