Keeping your skin hydrated is one of the keys to preserving naturally healthy, glowing skin. Nourishing skin with moisture not only keeps its protective barrier intact, but it can also keep signs of premature aging at bay. There are lots of moisturizing skincare products on the market, but probably the most revered by experts — and by consumers alike — is shea butter.
Shea butter is a natural lipid derived from African shea trees. It’s packed with fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins, all of which nourish the skin, rendering it smooth and supple. Because it’s so hydrating and nourishing, shea butter promotes skin health, longevity, and, of course, a killer natural glow. Read on for why shea butter is the secret ingredient to maintaining healthy, radiant skin:
I. Shea butter is hydrating.
Shea butter melts at body temperature, allowing it to quickly absorb into the skin. This is part of the reason why shea butter is ultra-hydrating, in addition to the fact that it’s composed of fatty acids. Hydrating the skin can smooth out fine lines and wrinkles (even scars!), and lets its healthy, natural glow shine through. What’s more, shea butter also stimulates collagen production, which helps ward off signs of aging.
II. Shea butter is a powerhouse of antioxidants and vitamins.
Shea is packed with vitamins A and E, which lead to strong antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation, a chemical reaction that produces free radicals in the skin. Free radicals are harmful because they lead to chain reactions that can damage cells, leading to premature aging and sometimes even serious conditions, such as cancer.
III. It can be applied practically anywhere.
Nails, hair, face, body, lips — shea butter is good to go on all of those. You can find it in certain products like hair masks, sugar scrubs, lipgloss and moisturizers to apply it in specific areas. Best of all, shea products are easily available at drugstores and health food stores.
IV. Shea butter is a low-risk ingredient.
Allergies to shea butter are rare, and there are no common side effects associated with applying shea butter to the skin. Even if you have oily or acne-prone skin, you won’t have to worry about shea butter exacerbating those issues. Because shea contains high levels of linoleic acid and oleic acid, it's non-comedogenic, which essentially means it won’t clog your pores. The two acids balance each other out so there’s no oily residue left on your skin. Talk about a win-win!
V. Shea butter possesses medicinal properties.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better — shea butter can also be used to treat common skin conditions, such as eczema, cuts, wounds and scars. It also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great natural solution to ward off mild skin infections. Additionally, shea butter has been used to protect the skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. We don’t recommend using shea as a total replacement for SPF, as shea only has an estimated SPF of 3 to 4. However, shea makes a great addition to your sunscreen for extra protection.