Discover the Benefits of Shea Butter for Skin

We're making our way through the year beauty junkies, but we aren't out of the winter woods yet! Still fighting to keep skin hydrated in the face of the cold, harsh elements? Might we suggest a little shea butter to keep skin nourished? With an ultra-rich creamy feel and the healing nutrients and vitamins of pure unrefined shea butter, Out of Africa's new line of hand creams will revive parched dry hands, providing a silky smooth finish that absorbs quickly and is never greasy to the touch. Check out what the brand had to tell us about all things Shea:

So what exactly is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is an all-natural product. It is a creamy-colored fatty substance made from the nuts of karite nut trees (Butyrospermum parkii or "butter seed") that grow wild in the savannah regions of West and East Africa. While shea butter has a wide variety of applications, it is most well-known for its exceptional dermatological and cosmetic healing properties.

Where does Shea Butter come from?

Shea butter is often referred to as "women's gold" of Africa because so many young women are employed in the production of shea butter. You can find shea butter growing wild in the savannah regions of West and East Africa. In many parts of West Africa, destruction of shea trees is prohibited because the karite nut is such a valuable source of food, medicine and income for the population.

What are the benefits of this emollient?

What sets shea butter apart from other seed oils is its exceptionally large healing fraction. This refers to the percentage of the important nutrients, vitamins, and other valuable phytonutrients that foster healing. Depending on the source, the healing fraction of shea butter ranges from 5 % to 17 % (the larger the healing fraction, the better). By comparison, the healing fraction of other seeds oils is very small, in the range of 1 %. Shea butter nourishes the skin with Vitamins A, E and F. Vitamins A and E maintain the skin and keep it clear and healthy.

What type of skin issues doe Shea Butter treat?

She butter is particularly helpful for sun damaged skin and to help prevent premature wrinkles and facial lines. The Vitamin A in shea butter is important for improving skin conditions, including blemishes, wrinkles, eczema, and dermatitis. Vitamin F acts as a protector and rejuvenator, soothing rough dry or chapped skin and helps soften dry or damaged hair.

Additionally, premium shea butter has properties that treat skin allergies, insect bites, sunburn and frostbite. Shea butter's unparalleled hydrating property is due to natural moisturizers that are chemically similar to those produced by the body's own sebaceous glands. Shea butter also contains healthy fatty acids. It is high in unsaponifiables (a type of fat) containing between 7-12%. This is one of the properties that make Shea butter so valuable in treating the conditions above. Shea butter easily penetrates the skin and will not clog pores. There is a high level of cinnamic acid which makes shea butter a natural sunscreen. Shea butter also has anti-inflammatory properties that make it useful in treating arthritis.

Are Shea and Shea Butter the same thing?

Yes, but not all shea butter is the same. Shea butter loses healing properties the longer it sits on the shelf, causing old shea butter to be much less beneficial. Refining techniques vary greatly.  Highly processed shea will not be as effective. Some companies mix shea butter with other ingredients that reduce its benefits. There are some products that contain very little shea butter although "shea butter" may be prominently displayed on the label. Be wary of very inexpensive products that claim to provide the full benefits of shea butter. Out of Africa Shea Butter products contain the highest concentration of pure unrefined shea butter, providing the ultimate in skin hydration and healing. Unrefined shea butter is superior because it retains all its natural nutrients, especially vitamins A and E. 

How often should we use it?

Shea butter is an excellent daily skin moisturizer for face and body.

Any additional tips and tricks for combating dry skin this winter?

Shea butter products are wonderful to layer too. You can pair our tins and body lotions with our body oil for an extra boost of hydration and healing. For spa like treatment, place a bottle of body oil under warm/hot water and shake well before use. Apply your shea butter product then the oil. This technique is best to use after a bath or shower while skin is still damp, smoothing on a few drops to seal in the moisture.

Out of Africa's new line of Shea Butter Hand Creams are available in two sizes 1oz ($6.99) and 2.5oz ($10.99) and three scents: Vanilla, Olive with Aloe or Lemon Verbena. 

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