Think about the last time you put lotion or cream on your hands.
What ingredients were in it?
If you can’t remember, or if you didn’t actually pay attention to the ingredients, then it’s probably time to start being more mindful of what you’re putting on your skin.
Many lotions contain harsh chemicals and steroids that can do more harm than good over time. Oftentimes, these ingredients are used to cut costs or boost profits without any concern for the well being of the consumer.
These ingredients not only compromise the integrity of the product but also your skin’s health. For example, some chemicals can act as endocrine disruptors, meaning they mimic or block hormones in our bodies and throw our systems out of balance.
When this happens, it can lead to a host of problems like infertility, cancer, and developmental disorders.
That’s quite the trade-off for soft, smooth skin, don’t you think?
So, what’s the alternative? More and more people are choosing lotions and creams that contain natural ingredients like shea butter.
Butter’s been getting a bad rap.
For the most part, when we hear about butter, it’s usually about the kind that you eat- and it’s rarely good. Butter is widely seen negatively as a food, and it is often demonized by health professionals.
However, butter has been shown to have some important health benefits, including being a good source of vitamins A, E, and K, as well as being a good source of saturated fat.
Butter also contains conjugated linoleic acid, which has been shown to have some health benefits of its own, including reducing inflammation and helping to prevent cancer.
Is it possible butter’s second cousin on its mother’s side, shea butter, also has some hidden benefits many of us are not fully aware of?
We’re about to find out. But first-
What is shea butter, exactly?
Shea butter is a natural moisturizer that comes from the fruit of shea tree nuts, which grow on, you guessed it, the African shea tree.
Humble beginnings for such an ally in the battle against damaging skin conditions.
Raw shea butter may not have been developed in an expensive pharma lab, but it nonetheless has many benefits for your skin, including reducing inflammation, protecting against UV radiation, restoring elasticity and more!
Traditionally, shea butter has been used as a base for many African healing and beauty rituals. It is an excellent moisturizer for all skin types, and applying shea butter can be used in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, scars and stretch marks.
But that’s just scratching the surface.
Let’s dive into some of the benefits you may not be aware of, that makes using shea butter your topical best friend.
1. Shea butter is a natural moisturizer that helps keep skin healthy and hydrated.
As we mentioned earlier, shea butter is a natural moisturizer that is made from the nuts of the shea tree. It has been used for centuries–in fact, some people believe it was used by Cleopatra herself!
The fact that shea butter still graces the skin of millions of people around the world today should speak to the many amazing side effects of shea butter that has cemented its legendary reputation and staying power as one of the best natural moisturizers in the world.
The shea butter benefits extend far beyond its ability to soothe and moisturize skin, though; it also functions as an antioxidant.
Antioxidants are substances that help to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause havoc in the body. The effects of free radicals can lead to inflammation and disease. By scavenging free radicals, antioxidants help to keep cells healthy and prevent disease.
2. It's a multi-vitamin you wear.
Any fan of gummy multi-vitamins can tell you the importance of vitamins. Not only can they be chewy and delicious, but they are essential for our overall health; and play a vital role in keeping our skin looking young and radiant.
Luckily, in addition to its antioxidant properties, shea butter is also rich in Vitamins A and E, which are essential for healthy skin.
Vitamin A helps to boost collagen production, which leads to firmer, smoother skin. It also helps to speed up cell turnover, which is the process by which new cells are generated and old ones are shed.
This is important because as we age, our cell turnover rate slows down, which can lead to dull, dry skin. Shea butter helps soothe the skin and revitalize facial lines and wrinkles.
When it comes to Vitamin E, you may not be aware that it has anti-inflammatory properties.
Vitamin E helps to protect the skin from free radical damage. As described when discussing antioxidants, free radicals can cause inflammation and disease. By neutralizing free radicals, vitamin E helps to keep skin looking healthy and youthful. It also helps to lock in moisture, keeping skin hydrated and plump.
Together, Vitamins A and E work to keep the skin looking young and radiant.
This means that shea butter can help to reduce some of the most common symptoms associated with conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
3. Shea butter is a natural sunscreen providing valuable sun protection benefits for the skin.
It’s common knowledge that the sun can cause painful sunburns; but not everybody realizes that the damage can be much longer term. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause skin cancer, which is the single most common type of cancer in the United States.
In fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. To put that in perspective, over 9,500 in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer EVERY DAY!
One of the most important benefits of lotion or skin cream made with shea butter is that it helps protect the skin from environmental damage like that caused by the sun. A lotion with shea butter has the ability to help prevent sunburns because the skin can absorb the moisturizer more easily than other types of lotions. This moisture forms a barrier between your skin and the sun’s UV rays, acting as a natural sunscreen.
The antioxidants we talked about before also help protect your skin from the harsh UV rays of the sun and other factors that can cause premature aging. As a natural sunscreen, shea butter can help to prevent sun damage, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.
Shea butter can also help to reverse the effects of sun damage that has already been done, using the previously mentioned Vitamins E and A to repair damaged skin cells, promote cell growth and restore elasticity.
Not only does shea butter help to protect your skin from the sun, but it also helps to lock in moisture and prevent dryness. This is especially important in the winter months when the air is dry and can cause your skin to become chapped, cracked and more susceptible to injury.
4. Shea butter contains essential fatty acids, which can help improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles.
Shea butter contains essential fatty acids that can help improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks, peeling skin, and wrinkles.
Fatty acids are defined as “a carboxylic acid with a long unbranched hydrocarbon chain.” In layman’s terms, this means that shea butter contains the building blocks for healthy skin cells.
Fatty acids are called fatty because they are insoluble in water. This means that they can help to lock in moisture and prevent dryness.
The essential fatty acids and vitamins in shea butter can also help to improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles by helping to repair damaged skin cells and promote cell growth.
By using a lotion or hand cream with shea butter you can heal the skin and decrease the visibility of these skin imperfections.
5. Shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.
It has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the symptoms of skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. If you suffer from eczema, this could be a big relief.
The symptoms of eczema and psoriasis are caused by an overactive immune system, which is why reducing inflammation can help eliminate them.
Shea butter products may help reduce the symptoms of inflammatory skin conditions by working as a natural alternative to a corticosteroid. Corticosteroids are a type of medication that are often used to treat eczema and psoriasis.
While corticosteroids can be effective options to soothe your skin, they can also have some undesirable and dangerous side effects. These possible side effects include thinning of the skin, stretch marks, and lightening of the skin.
Avoiding corticosteroids at all costs is an important warning to heed and a big step in keeping your skin healthy. By using products that contain shea butter instead of corticosteroids can help you do just that.
6. Shea butter is great for those with acne-prone skin.
Some people have acne-prone skin and choose a lotion with shea butter because it can be non-comedogenic, which means that it won’t clog pores or cause blackheads.
Another benefit is that even a small amount of shea butter stops excess oil production on your face, which unchecked often leads to breakouts.
Oil causes the dead skin cells on your face to stick together, which can then clog pores and trap bacteria. It is this trapped bacteria that causes acne, and gives blackheads their characteristic black color.
Customers with acne-prone skin often find shea butter to be a much better option to harsh and expensive prescriptions medications or non-effective cleansing wipes.
Ok, that’s a lot of info.
To sum up, shea butter is a natural product that has multiple healing properties and benefits for the skin. It contains essential fatty acids, which help to repair damaged skin cells and promote cell growth, minimizing wrinkles and fine lines.
It has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.
Shea butter’s also a natural UV protector, so it can provide sun protection to help prevent sunburns and soothe skin after a burn.
And finally, a dose of shea butter is great for those with acne-prone skin because shea butter is non-comedogenic and helps to avoid excess oil production.
So, why choose skincare products containing shea butter? Because they’re good for you! Can’t ask for more than that.
If you’re on board the shea butter train, be sure to check out Dermeleve® to help relieve itchy skin instantly without the use of harmful chemicals and additives.
What’s one of Dermeleve’s® not-so-secret ingredients?
You guessed it: shea butter!