Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Shea Butter: A Soothing Wonder

Happy Wednesday! I've had a very busy week this week working hard on getting products in stores and, I'm developing some new goodies that will be in my shop soon. I am so excited to share them with you!


This week I'd like to talk with you about one of the main ingredients in many of my products, shea butter. I love shea butter! It has this wonderful silky texture, and soaks right into my skin.  It gives my products a moisturizing and soothing feel, two very important properties of a dry skin lotion. I use this butter because it is a reasonably priced oil that can be sustainably harvested. Shea butter melts around body temperature allowing for easy transfer of lotion to the skin without leaving a greasy feeling.

100% Natural African Shea Butter by David Fulmer via flickr License
Shea butter comes from the nuts of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) in Africa. The trees play crucial roles to the culture and economy of Africa. The butter ranges in color from a pale yellow to a bright almost sun colored yellow. They have been used as food and medicine by the native peoples for centuries. It is good at absorbing into the skin quickly, while preventing water from leaving the skin, keeping it hydrated. Today, shea butter can be found in assortment of products, including cosmetics, soaps, and chocolates.


There have been many studies done on the potential benefits and applications of shea butter. Shea butter is made up of a mixture of solid and liquid fats and non-fatty material. The mixture of solid and liquid fats gives the butter its silky smooth feeling. The non-fatty material consists of compounds that are responsible for its medicinal properties.


A small study showed that daily application of a 5% shea butter cream kept the skin feeling moisturized all day. A separate study examined the ability of shea butter to prevent water loss through the skin. After applying alcohol to the arms of test participants, shea butter was able to bring the skin back to normal condition after 4 hours. Another small study found shea butter was helpful in decreasing the severity of eczema in the study participants.


Several studies have been completed on the anti-aging properties of shea butter. It has been found to contribute to cell regeneration and tissue softening and prevent aging from exposure to the sun. A study on rats showed that shea butter could increase collagen production in the animal. Collagen is a structural protein, which is the main component of the connective tissues such as skin, bone, muscle, and tendon. Collagen keeps skin springy and young looking.


Components of shea butter were found to have anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting various inflammatory processes in the skin. It has also been found to reduce the reaction of the skin to external irritants. This particular study introduced a toxin produced by bacteria to initiate an inflammatory response. When the test samples were exposed to the shea butter components, the inflammatory response was greatly decreased.  

Another study isolated compounds from shea butter and tested them to determine their anti-inflammatory action in mice. The compounds were compared with a prescription anti-inflammatory drug. It was found that the shea butter performed better in regards to reduction of inflammation than the drug did.

Shea Nut Extraction by Erik (HASH) Hersman via flickr License
This is just a small summary of the many studies that have been completed on shea butter and the chemical compounds that make it so wonderful for the skin. There have also been many studies analyzing the impact the shea butter trade has had both ecologically and socially for the people where this tree has become a source of income.  


Have you ever used shea butter? What did you think of it?


💗 Courtney

References
Akihisa, Toshihiro et al. "Anti-Inflammatory And Chemopreventive Effects Of Triterpene Cinnamates And Acetates From Shea Fat". Journal of Oleo Science 59.6 (2010): 273-280. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.

Israel, Malachi Oluwaseyi. "Effects Of Topical And Dietary Use Of Shea Butter On Animals". American Journal of Life Sciences 2.5 (2014): 303. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

Verma, Nandini et al. "Anti-Inflammatory Effects Of Shea Butter Through Inhibition Of Inos, Cox-2, And Cytokines Via The Nf-Kb Pathway In Lps-Activated J774 Macrophage Cells". Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine 9.1 (2012): 1-11. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.

A-C Andersson and J Alander, Shea butter extract for bioactive skin care, Cosm & Toil 130(6) 18-25 (Jul/Aug 2015) - See more at: http://www.cosmeticsandtoiletries.com/research/chemistry/Shea-Butter-Extract-for-Bioactive-Skin-Care-310136331.html?prodrefresh=y#sthash.ZDPuASPn.dpuf


Blog advisement and editing from adreamingone

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