Most of us may have heard of Shea butter growing up. I remember my grandmother applying it on me as a child and ‘little’ me thinking, how does this benefit my skin? But as I grew older, I learned about the importance of shea butter and the role it plays in the World Market and our economy today.
Today, most women, including African women spend comparable amount of money on Cosmetic Products that only contain about 5% of Shea Butter with the other 95% composed of synthetic compounds that gives a desired texture and scent.
Comparing the price of a Kilo of Shea Butter in Africa against the price of an imported jar of cosmetic containing 5% or less of Shea Butter, wouldn't it be more prudent to take that less costly kilo of Shea butter and add your own preferred infused scent? In addition, the benefits of shea butter are many.
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Shea butter is known to work well against stretch marks. It also benefits those suffering from dry skin, dermatitis and sunburn, quick skin healing and cinnamic acid, which protects the skin against the harmful Ultraviolet rays of the sun. Since Shea butter is well tolerated by the skin, it usually does not trigger off any allergic reactions. This makes it ideal for use by people with sensitive skin.
Shea butter is used as a base for medicinal ointments and has been claimed to have anti-inflammatory properties. It has nternationally been accepted to be an effective treatment for conditions such as fading scars, eczema, burns, rashes, acne, severely dry skin, blemishes, dark spots, skin discolorations, chapped lips, stretch marks, wrinkles, and in lessening the irritation of psoriasis. It is also being used as a sun blocking lotion; although the level of protection against the sun's ultraviolet radiation is extremely variable, ranging from nothing to approximately SPF 6.
In Nigeria, Shea butter is used for the management of sinusitis and relief of nasal congestion. This is due to its hydrating properties which help in relaxing the tension in the face skin thus easing respiration. The anti-aging benefits of Shea butter have been recognized internationally and there is a mind-boggling range of Shea butter products available these days.
The main industrial use of Shea butter outside Africa is in cosmetics, such as moisturizer creamsand emulsion and hair conditioners for dry and brittle hair. It is also used by soap makers, typically in small amounts (5-7% of the oils in the recipe), because of its property of leaving a small amount of oil in the soap. The Vitamins A and E found in Shea butter help in keeping the skin supple and healthy. It also prevents premature wrinkles and facial lines. Vitamin F works as a rejuvenator. (Vitamin F from our local Food) Rough and chapped skin is soothed and healed. Shea butter penetrates the skin easily and does not clog the pores.
Overall Benefits of Shea butter Include:
- Heals blemishes and keeps wrinkles at bay
- Excellent skin moisturizer
- Reduces itchiness caused due to excessive dryness of the skin
- Cures minor burns and tough skin on feet
- Evens out skin tone
- Offers sun and wind protection
- Restores elasticity to the skin
- Restores lost hair luster
- Eliminates scalp irritation caused due to chemical processing
So the next time you want to patronize any product for your skin and hair in the market , keep in mind that you can find a great substitute in shea butter or products that contain a percentage of shea butter at a more affordable cost.