Shea butter is one of the best known and most commonly used ingredients in beauty and skin care products such as creams, soaps, balms and lipsticks. Shea butter is obtained from the fruit of the African shea tree (Butyrospermum parkii, formerly known as Vitteria paradoxa).
The shea tree produces its first fruit, resembling a plum, when it is 20 years old and can grow for up to 200 years. The fruit of the tree is the shea nut, which has a fat content of 60-70%, from which shea butter is extracted.
The extraction of shea butter is a long and laborious process
The extraction of shea butter has become a tradition in Africa. It is usually done by women. The insides of the ripe fruits are crushed and then the fat, which collects on top of the water, is extracted in water over a fire.
The result is a medium-hard, off-white, sweetish, slightly smoky-smelling vegetable fat called shea butter. One advantage of shea butter produced in this way is that it is naturally derived, contains no chemical ingredients and retains its very high vitamin A, E and F content for a long time.
The secret of ancient Africa and shea butter
In its native Africa, shea butter is not only used for skin care, but is also an excellent product for healing hair, wounds and burns.
Shea butter has a skin-protective role, restoring elasticity and reducing wrinkles, but it is also an excellent sunburn remedy. Besides, it is used for skin irritations, eczema and even psoriasis.
One of the excellent properties of shea butter is that it keeps its quality for a long time, it does not degrade easily and, if kept in proper conditions, it can keep its quality for years. Some say it is much more effective than jojoba butter or cocoa butter, one of the black continent’s biggest exports.
Using shea butter
As a skin conditioner, it helps to maintain skin elasticity, nourishes and moisturizes skin, reduces the appearance of wrinkles. It is excellent for eczematous skin, is great for treating wounds and burns, and it also soothes allergic reactions and skin problems.
It can be used for lip care, helps prevent stretch marks in pregnant women, can also be used for nail and hair care, and acts as a very efficient sunscreen lotion.