Shea butter or Shea Nut butter comes from the beans or seeds of the Shea or Karite trees, which primarily grow in Africa. This tree grows wild in the dry countries across the center of Africa. The Shea Butter is produced from the fatty extract that the seeds contain and is also used as a cooking oil in Africa. This precious oil is used in many cosmetics across the World.
Shea Butter or butyrospermun parkii ,is known as a moisturizer that helps condition and smooth skin by adding, attracting or retaining moisture. It is also an emollient that helps to maintain the soft, smooth and supple appearance of skin. It is a natural Vitamin A cream, which is important for healing a number of skin conditions.
It is an anti-inflammatory that is effective in treating scars, eczema, burns, rashes, acne, and severely dry skin such as chapped lips, stretch marks and wrinkles. Shea butter provides natural protection from the sun and absorbs quickly without a greasy residue. The moisturizers found in Shea Butter are the same that are produced by the sebaceous glands in skin.
Shea butter has many uses and is found in high-end moisturizers, hair conditioners and anti-aging formulas. Shea butter is made into creams, lip balm and body lotions. It makes skin younger looking, smooth and moist. Shea Butter has actually been shown to accelerate healing and is considered a super-moisturizer.
High quality or 100% pure Shea butter may contain Vitamin E, and Cinnamic acid, which is closely related to the spice cinnamon. Shea butter is subject to degradation as the cinnamic acid breaks down, which is the chemical bonding agent in pure Shea Butter. As the Shea Butter breaks down, it will lose its healing powers, however, still retains moisturizing ability.
In cosmetics, what you will find, is that high quality or pure 100% Shea butter will be more costly and used in the high end cosmetics, and the degraded or lower quality Shea Butter is what you will find in the hand lotions with Shea Butter, or the lesser expensive cosmetics. The poor quality Shea Butter is on a more equal level of cocoa butter or mango butter in these types of products.
Shea Butter is classified by the Shea Butter Institute as Class A, B, C, or F. Class A is premium and Class F is poor quality. Shea Butter may get altered in cosmetics to make it smell nicer or for economic reasons. A buyer needs to be aware that some qualities of Shea Butter are lost in these alterations, and usually are used in poor quality Shea Butter, which costs less.
Age is another factor in Shea Butter, and it is recommended that it is used within 18 months from seed to the customer for optimal effectiveness. Look for The Seal of The American Shea Butter Institute on containers for optimal Shea Butter effectiveness.
The best method for processing skin use Shea Butter is through cold press methods and not with added chemicals or preservatives. Many of the cosmetics contain Shea Butter which still gives you the many benefits, but not at the high effectiveness of pure Shea Butter. It is recommended that you use Shea Butter daily, and you should start to see results in 4 to 6 weeks.
Shea Butter is known to relieve itching and has been used for dry skin and rashes, sunburn peeling, skin cracks, frost and insect bites, blemishes and wrinkles, itching from tough or rough skin and skin allergies, such as poison ivy. Some women use it for stretch mark prevention during pregnancy and it is also used for muscle fatigue, aches and tension.
It is important to remember the Class of the Shea Butter when expecting healing results in addition to the moisturizing qualities. A good thing to keep in mind is that a pound of Class A Shea Butter is equal in ingredients of 2 to 3 pounds of a lower class Shea Butter.
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