Shea butter, also known as karité, is a fatty substance obtained from the nuts and seeds of the small tropical African shea tree, used chiefly in cosmetic skin preparations.
The fat content of the nuts and seeds is roughly 50%. The cream is extracted from the nuts and prepared for consumption without the use of chemicals and the best quality shea butter is prepared by cold press methods.
Because of the large array of healing and restorative benefits shea butter offers, the tree is known as the Tree of Life in Africa.
Egyptian caravans from the time of Cleopatra are known to have transported clay jars of shea butter for cosmetic use.
For centuries, shea butter has played an important role in the everyday life for many African tribes and has always played a foundational role in African pharmacology.
An unparalleled moisturizer, natural shea butter is an all natural vitamin A cream. The vitamin A in shea butter is key to treating all kinds of skin conditions and wounds. According to sheainstitute.com:
daily use of shea butter for one month is guaranteed to change and improve the quality and appearance of your skin.
Shea butter mimics the effects the naturally produced moisturizers that the sebaceous glands in the skin itself produces.
Incredibly healing, shea also acts as an antioxidant. Increases the skin’s blood microcirculation and reactivates collagen synthesis.
The lipid content of unrefined shea butter offers anti-inflammatory support for skin cells and promotes tissue regeneration. It supplies damaged skin with critical nourishing lipids.
Shea butter has been proven to remarkably improve within a few weeks:
- dull or grayish epidermis aspect: dull skin is replaced by smoother, brighter clearer skin
- thinning of the skin: skin texture develops to a richer, more lustrous feel
- wrinkles caused by prolonged sun exposure: a visible diminishment of wrinkles occurs
In addition to vitamin A, shea butter is extremely high in vitamins E and F offering the skin better balance, elasticity and tone.
Cosmetic chemists all over the world continue to be very intrigued by shea butter. In one study, French dermatologists used shea butter on 35 men and women of various ages and races with all sorts of skin disorders and conditions over periods of ten days to five months.
In all cases, substantial healing was reported and in some cases the healing was considered to be almost miraculous. These clinical trials are documented by the French Ministry of Health.
It is also important to note that if purchasing shea butter as a single ingredient or in skincare that you know who you are buying from. Shea butter in local stores tend to be of low quality and may contain harmful harmful agents. Low quality produced shea butter could contain lead, mercury, mold, yeast, rancidity, and bacteria.
Shea butter should be tested for purity before it’s packaged and marketed. Be sure to buy from a reputable source with exacting manufacturing standards such as Ageless La Cure by PHYTO5. You can find shea butter in Ageless La Cure’s certified organic Extreme Hydrating Cream.
If your product has not undergone proper lab tests, you are taking a chance on what you have. In this case, the shea butter is actually called “lotto butter” because you’re not sure of what you’re getting. It could be good or it could be bad. You definitely want to purchase certified premium grade A shea butter which has passed rigorous safety and quality testing.
This high grade shea butter needs no added fragrance because it is not rancid. Fragrance tends to be added to shea butter to mask the smell of rancidity.
Extreme Hydrating Cream by Ageless La Cure contains premium top grade shea butter. Rated by the Swiss Skin Test Institute an "Excellent Moisturizer," their highest score
sheainstitute.com lists the following 21 reasons treatment purposes of shea butter:
- dry skin
- skin rash
- skin peeling after tanning
- itching skin
- during shaving
- skin wound healing
- cracking of the skin
- tough or rough skin especially on feet
- protection against cold weather
- stretch mark prevention
- insect bites
- muscle aches, fatigue and tension
- skin allergies
- skin poisoning from poison ivy or oak
Goreja, W. G. Shea Butter: The Nourishing Properties of Africa's Best-Kept Natural Beauty Secret. New York: Amazing Herbs, 2004. Print.
"Benefits of Shea Oil to Mankind." Soliditytrade.com. N.p., 3 Dec. 2010. Web. <http://soliditytrade.com/blog/2010/12/03/benefits-of-shea-oil-to-mankind/>.