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What is Shea butter and how does it benefit my skin?

Pronounced ‘shay’ butter, this ingredient is a skin superfood that will leave your face and body feeling soft and supple straight after use due to its super high concentration of skin saving properties. 

If your skin sits on the dry side of the scale, you’re probably already aware that this natural ingredient is *great* for moisturising.

But not only is it a premium hydrator, it also has a whole load of other benefits from soothing skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis to promoting anti-aging. Can we get a hip-hip hooray? 

It’s a luxurious buttery goodness that you need to know about, and don’t worry because we’ve done the dirty work for you! Read on for some fast facts on all of Shea butter’s incredible benefits along with how you can use it in your own daily routine. 

To kick us off, let’s start with what exactly this miracle ingredient is and where it comes from…

What is Shea butter? 

Shea butter has been used as a cosmetic ingredient for centuries because it has a high concentration of both fatty acids and vitamins.

It is fat that’s obtained from the nuts of a shea tree and at room temperature it tends to be solid and creamy in consistency with an off-white or ivory colour.

Shea trees are native to West Africa and shea butter itself is produced in roughly 21 African countries labelled ‘The Shea Belt’. It is a huge part of African culture and its production provides employment and income to millions of women across the continent.

Shea butter is super easy to spread, just like the butter we like to smear all over our toast or like peanut butter which we also like to smear all over, well, anything…

Because Shea butter can evenly coat the skin’s surface and soak right in to perform its nourishing abilities, this is what makes it such a good product for soothing, smoothing and conditioning the skin.

Many studies show that Shea butter is especially good at penetrating the skin’s top layer and it contains 60% fat which makes it highly emollient aka calming.

Is Shea Butter good for skin?

We can answer this question for you in two simple words: hell yes.  

Unfortunately, these two words don’t manage to tell you any of the amazing shea butter benefits for skin. So, here we’ve put five of the best ways that Shea butter helps your skin to be soft, soothed and all round SEXY: 

  1. It’s super moisturising 

Shea butter contains heaps of fatty acids, from linoleic and oleic to stearic and palmitic. When you apply shea to your skins surface, these oils are quickly absorbed into your skin and act as a ‘refatting’ agent by reinstating lipids and forming extra moisture. 

These fatty acids then restore the barrier between your skin and the outside environment, holding moisture in and reducing the risk of flakiness, dehydration or dryness. 

  1. It can help to soothe sunburn 

Summer is fast approaching and we’re all about a hot girl summer 2020, even in semi-lockdown. Though, not too hot…so no sunburn please! However, if you do get carried away out there in the sun one day then relax ladies, Shea butter has got you!

Research suggests that oils may be beneficial for first-degree skin burns, such as the common sunburn. Shea butter’s anti-inflammatory components can reduce redness and swelling, along with its fatty acids soothing the skin by retaining moisture. 

Make sure you lather up in sun cream pre-sunbathe but if you accidently miss a spot, then soak yourself in shea butter post-session to be rescued…we want glows, not burns! 

  1. It’s anti-inflammatory 

As far as ingredients go, Shea butter is up there with the best when it comes to anti-inflammatory properties. It can help to minimize irritation caused by the outside world alongside aiding in the soothing of inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea.

When applied to the skin, shea causes cytokines (proteins important in cell signalling) and other inflammatory cells to slow their production. This means it can calm your irritated skin and promote healing. 

  1. It’s antioxidant 

We know you’re meant to eat antioxidants (blueberries and spinach, right?) but are you meant to put them your skin too? 100%!

Shea butter has significant levels of vitamins A and E, which means it promotes strong antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are important anti-aging agents and protect your skin cells from free radicals that can lead to premature aging or dull-looking skin.

As all nuddy soap bars contain Shea butter, we’re confident you’ll see a difference in your skin from regular use.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, using nothing but soap and water on that beautiful face of yours will lead you to a lifetime of youth…just ask your Grandma! 

  1. It’s safe for all skin types 

Shea butter works topically for all skin types because it doesn’t contain chemical irritants known to dry out the skin and it also doesn’t clog your pores.

Unlike other tree nut products, shea butter is super low in the proteins that can trigger allergies and there’s literally no evidence documenting an allergy to topical shea butter. Result! 

How to use Shea butter 

It’s totally up to you how you want to use this buttery beauty of an ingredient. You can buy it in bulk on its own online and try get creative in making your own lotions and potions, but it’s also on offer in a lot of other skincare products.

From lip balms, to moisturisers and hand creams, it seems almost everyone knows this is something not to miss out on. I mean, we sure do! 

Here at nuddy, we know how important it is to balance cleansing with moisturising, so that’s why all of our soaps are triple milled and contain pure Shea butter, so you can clean and hydrate your skin at the same time - all thanks to Shea butter baby! 

Don’t miss out on our Super Set of 5 for £20.95!

Words by Lauren Wallace.