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Shea butter: benefits for skin and hair

Learn how to prevent stretch marks and three ways to moisturize your hair with shea butter

Shea butter is a vegetable fat rich in omega 3 and vitamin E. It has an emollient capacity (which gives the skin more flexibility) and antioxidant properties, which help to hydrate the skin and hair.

Extracted from the fruit of an African tree (Shea), shea butter is a very versatile beauty ingredient, as it can be used both in natura as in cosmetics.

Shea butter - Photo: Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock Shea butter – Photo: Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock

Benefits of shea butter for the skin

The vitamin E present in shea butter has antioxidant and wetting properties, providing hydration and shine for the skin. According to dermatologist Eloisa Zampieri, shea butter has anti-inflammatory action, calming the most sensitive and susceptible skins to eczema and other types of dermatitis.

In addition, this potent vegetable fat can be used in order to prevent the emergence of stretch marks on body and even as an adjunct in the treatment of recent stretch marks – those with a reddish color.

And the benefits do not stop there. The dermatologist also recommends shea butter in cases of sunburn. “It is beneficial for skin hydration and reduction of inflammation caused by excessive sun on the skin, bringing relief and comfort “, explains specialist Eloisa Zampieri.

Shea butter can be applied to the skin in its version in natura or through manipulated formulations. “Because it contains a good amount of tocopherol (vitamin E), it is able to prevent premature aging, in order to regenerate and give firmness to the skin. I also recommend using it on the nails, cuticles and lips, as these areas also need hydration “, recommends the cosmetologist Heloisa Olivan.

How to use on the skin: During the day or at night, just apply pure shea butter on the palm of your hand, rub with your fingers and apply directly to the dry skin area, lightly massaging the area.

According to dermatologist Alessandra Romiti, coordinator of the Department of Cosmiatry of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology (SBD), not all skin types will benefit from the use of butter. “I usually recommend it to help in the treatment of dry skin”, he says.

Benefits of Shea Butter on Hair

In the hair, shea butter behaves like a revitalizer for the hair, providing softness and shine.

This is because, it is rich in fatty acids such as oleic, stearic, palmitic and linoleic, in addition to vitamins A and E, as previously mentioned. “Shea butter returns the ideal amount of oil for the dry hair that has lost its luster”, explains cosmetologist Heloisa Olivan, specialist at Instituto Olivan.

It is indicated when hair is fragile, dry and brittle. “We can make manipulated formulations of conditioners with shea butter or it can be used pure directly on the hair,” explains dermatologist Eloisa. Check out three ways the doctor teaches how to use shea butter in natura on the wires.

First option: After washing the hair, remove excess water with a towel and apply shea butter along the strands, avoiding the root. Leave for 30 minutes (you can use a shower cap). Then, just wash the wires again.

Second option: Put some shea butter in your hands and spread it well. Then apply on dry and unwashed wires, especially on the most damaged tips and areas. Leave as long as you like, and then wash as usual.

Third option: Apply some butter on the hair before bed and wash it in the morning.

Shea butter protects against the sun?

Because it contains antioxidant substances in its composition, many speculate that shea butter protects the skin from the sun. It can even help with the sunscreen to protect the skin.

However, dermatologist Alessandra Romiti points out that only shea butter on the skin has no photoprotective power and does not replace the use of sunscreen.

Thus, it is always recommended to use shea butter in order to obtain greater hydration in the skin and always associate it with sunscreen so that the skin is protected from ultraviolet, UVA, UVB and infrared rays.

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