Shea Butter is wonderfully healing.
It is often referred to as butyrospermum parkii butter, or vitellaria paradoxa.
It’s a natural fat, obtained from the fruit of the Karate tree.
The tree produces berries the size of plums, one tree alone can produce 20 kg of fruit and this can yield up to 4 kg of kernels, which produces roughly about 1.5 kg of butter.
The tree can grow as tall as 60 feet, and incredibly can yield fruit for up to 200 years.
Now I think you’d agree, that’s a tree of plenty.
There are 2 methods of extraction:
- Cold pressing is the traditional method of extraction. Shea nuts are traditionally harvested, crushed and boiled to extract the Shea butter
- The hexane extraction process, is where solvents are used to extract the butter
I use only organic unrefined hand crafted Shea that contains the maximum amount of healing and moisturising properties.
Properties and Uses
Anti inflammatory: In Africa shea is used to treat muscular pains and rheumatoid conditions, which is due to its cinnamic acid and oleic fatty acids properties.
UV Protector: Shea has natural UV properties, which again is due to the cinnamic acid esters.
These esters also help to reduce redness (erythema) within the skin tissues.
Regenerating and stimulating: Shea is very healing, it is revered in Africa for its cellular regenerating properties.
Healing: Shea is also rich in Allantoin, it is extremely skin healing, helping with cellular renewal.
One of the main roles of allantoin is to prevent skin from becoming cracked and chapped, making it the perfect ingredient for treating skin ulcers, minor skin injuries and inflammation.
Anti Elastase: Shea helps to restore suppleness within the skin, and increases moisturisation. This is due to the fact that it is rich in stearic acid, which helps to give the skin its flexibility.
Shea is also thought to be useful for the prevention of stretch marks.
Penetrative Abilities: The skin readily absorbs this butter, helping to make the delicate tissue appear fuller and more hydrated after use.
Typical fatty acid profile
C16:0 st palmitic Acid (V16) 3-&%
C18:0 st stearic acid (C18) 35-45%
C18:1 mo Oleic Acid(C18:1) 40 – 50%
C18:2 u Linoleic acid ( C18:2) 3-8%
Shea is packed full of polyphenols, giving it excellent skin softening properties.
It is much milder and less solid than cocoa butter and gives skin care products more of a creamier, rich texture.
THE NAKED TRUTH
If you’re thinking of purchasing shea butter anywhere but from us, you do need to air on the side of caution, as the quality can vary tremendously.
This is affected by a number of things;
- The variety
- The season
- How the nuts have been collected
- How the nuts are handled
All of which affect the quality and colour of your shea butter, it is common for many natural companies to supply the refined butter.
So be sure to take our advice, and only purchase the unrefined, cold pressed variety.
Check the grades with the supplier and where it’s sourced from.