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The Basics: Shea Butter

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What’s shea butter?

Shea butter is an intensely moisturizing and healing cream suitable for all skin types, even for sensitive skin. It’s best used to nourish chronic dry or irritated skin. Shea butter is organic by nature serves as a nourishing emollient. The butter is extracted from the shea nut that grows on the karite tree in Ghana. Unrefined shea butter has five principal fatty acids, palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, and arachidic, all saturated fatty acids with world-renown skin healing benefits. The high fatty acid content of shea butter also makes it an excellent additive to soap, shampoos, anti-aging creams, cosmetics, lotions, and massage oils—its soft, butter-like texture melts readily into the skin.

Types of shea butter:

Shea butter protects the skin from both environmental and free-radical damage. It contains vitamins A and E, and has demonstrated both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Shea butter is already added to many cosmetic products, but you can also purchase 100 percent pure shea butter at most health food stores and from online distributors. Ultra-refined and refined shea butter have a pleasing scent, color, and consistency, although the refining process may diminish the vitamin potency.

The uses:

Shea butter has been used to help heal burns, sores, scars, dermatitis, psoriasis, dandruff, and stretch marks. It may also help diminish wrinkles by moisturizing the skin, promoting cell renewal, and increasing circulation. Shea butter also contains cinnamic acid, a substance that helps protect the skin from harmful UV rays.

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