Shea butter is an ingredient that is added to many face and body creams. Most products mix shea butter with chemical compounds, such as fragrances and artificial moisturizers. However, some stores also sell 100 percent unrefined shea butter that is not mixed with other ingredients. Pure shea butter provides many benefits for your skin.
Unrefined shea butter that is not mixed with other ingredients contains vitamin A. Vitamin A may improve the appearance of blemishes and wrinkles. Vitamin A may also help wounds heal faster. Applying shea butter to your face may also reduce the appearance of acne scars and age spots. Unlike products that contain vitamin A derivatives, which are called retinoids, shea butter does not irritate the skin, cause peeling or increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
Applying unrefined shea butter to irritated skin may calm the irritation and help your skin heal faster. Some people use shea butter to treat rashes, sunburns, extremely dry skin and eczema. If your skin is irritated after shaving, replacing your shaving cream with shea butter and using shea butter after may reduce the irritation. Shea butter does not clog pores, absorbs quickly and is non-greasy, making it suitable for acne sufferers.
Unrefined shea butter is made without the use of chemical agents. The shea butter is extracted from the nuts of the shea tree, which are commonly found in African countries, using a cold-pressing process. Unrefined shea butter is beige in color, creamy and will melt in your hand. Shea butter is naturally scented and contains vitamins A and E. If you find a shea butter that is unscented, a color other than beige or flower-scented, it is not unrefined shea butter.
Pure unrefined shea butter produces no known side effects and is safe for use on all types of skin, ranging from dry to oily. People who are allergic to nuts are advised against using shea butter, since it may produce an allergic reaction.
References and ResourcesAmerican Shea Butter Institute: Reasons to Use Shea Butter
Revitalise Your Health; Benefits of Shea Butter; May 2011
American Shea Butter Institute: Nut Allergies and Shea Butter
Skinacea; Side Effects of Retinoids; January 2011