shea butter

Shea Butter For Skin

Shea butter has been used on skin for centuries, discover why it makes such a fantastic skin care ingredient.

Shea butter for skin

What is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is a natural fat extract that comes from the nut of the African shea tree. Shea butter has been used cosmetically for centuries owing to its high concentration of vitamins and fatty acids that make it great at softening skin. At room temperature shea butter is solid, but like other butters melts at body temperature so is easily absorbed by the skin.
shea butter and shea oil

Shea butter for skin

What are the shea butter benefits for skin?

Shea butter is naturally rich in both Vitamin A and E, lipids, essential fatty acids and other nutrients necessary for the skin's own production of collagen. It is no wonder that shea butter has been used for so long to improve the condition of skin.

Shea butter benefits for skin include:

  1. Anti-inflammatory properties - shea butter has the proven ability to fight inflammation by causing cytokine production to slow down. Cytokines are molecules that are secreted by immune cells that promote inflammation on the skin. Shea butter for face and body can reduce this inflammation meaning it is great at treating acne and other skin irritation.
  2. Antioxidant - due to containing high levels of both Vitamins A and E, shea butter promotes antioxidant activity that can help fight signs of ageing and defend skin from damage caused by free radicals. When using shea butter for your face it can keep your skin looking young and radiant.
  3. Moisturising - shea butter has the ability to protect the skin's natural oils so skin remains hydrated. As well as this, the natural vitamins and fatty acids shea butter contains makes it intensely nourishing and moisturising for skin.
  4. Smoothes the skin and can improve elasticity - shea butter for skin supports the skin's own natural production of collagen. By supporting the production of collagen shea butter therefore helps to boost skin cell turnover, elasticity, skin firming and strengthening. In addition to this shea butter contains palmitic, oleic, stearic and linolenic acids that have nourishing properties for skin and also help it to retain moisture.
  5. Healing abilities - as shea butter benefits include being able to boost skin cell turnover, it therefore means it is great as an aid to skin regeneration and repair of damaged cells. The fatty acids contained in shea butter contain further protective properties that can defend wounds from environmental stressors that can disrupt the healing process.
  6. It can be used on all skin types - shea butter is natural and does not contain any irritating chemicals that can cause skin to dry out and is very low in proteins that can trigger allergies.

woman rubbing moisturiser on her legs

Shea butter for skin

What does Shea Butter Contain?

We've mentioned a few of the shea butter benefits, but where do these come from? Well, shea butter contains a number of different vitamins, fatty acids and lipids that give it all of its benefits for our skin.

Shea butter is a source of:

  • Linoleic acid - helps to strengthen the skin's barrier so it can retain moisture better whilst simultaneously keeping out irritants, our body cannot produce linoleic acid so we must get it either topically or through diet
  • Stearic acid - an amino acid which helps oil and water combine in order to help remove dirt and excess sebum from the skin and hair
  • Palmitic acid - a fatty acid generally used as an emollient or moisturiser, it has the ability to soften skin and boost skin water retention
  • Oleic acid - this acid is fantastic for ageing or dry skin due to its ability to deeply penetrate skin and replenish lost moisture whilst preventing further moisture loss. Oleic acid can restore skin's natural oils, without clogging pores that can lead to breakouts.
  • Cetyl esters - this is the waxy part of shea butter which locks in skin moisture and conditions the skin.
  • Triglycerides - an excellent skin replenishing and emollient ingredient. It is fantastic at both providing moisture to the skin and preventing the further loss of moisture.
  • Vitamin A - shea butter contains vitamin A which gives it the benefits of being able to: even skin complexion, fight infection, boost skin cell turnover, protect against UV damage and both slows signs of ageing and reducing existing signs of ageing skin including wrinkles.
  • Vitamin E - vitamin E is powerful antioxidant, that when applied topically is fantastic at combating the signs of ageing and reducing the damage caused to your skin by UV light and free radicals.
  • Vitamin F - as shea butter contains vitamin F it makes it great at strengthening the skin barrier. Vitamin F converts to ceramide when applied to the skin, which is a key ingredient for keeping the foremost barrier of skin healthy and moisturised.

shea butter for skin

Shea Butter For Skin Products

Shea butter has many benefits for skin so it is no surprise that it is used in plenty of skin care products. Due to its soothing and moisturising properties, shea butter products are great for dry or sensitive skin. Below are a few NIVEA products that contain shea butter for face, hands and body.

shea butter for skin

Shea butter hand cream

NIVEA Smooth Hand Cream has a rich formula that contains shea butter to give you soft, smooth hands and cuticles. This hand cream strengthens the skin's protective barrier on your hands so they remain smooth, soft and protected for 24 hours.

shea butter for skin

shea butter for face

Both NIVEA Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Day Cream 45+ and NIVEA Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Night Cream 45+ contain shea butter for its ability to soothe the skin whilst reducing wrinkles. Both creams have been carefully created to improve the texture of the skin for a more radiant glow, the night cream focuses on nightly regeneration and repair whereas the day cream provides daily protection and moisture.

shea butter for skin

Shea butter moisturiser for your body

NIVEA Smooth Body Mousse is enriched with NIVEA Deep Moisture Serum and precious shea butter to provide intense moisture, giving you noticeably smoother and softer skin from the immediate application. The benefits of this body mousse last for 48 hours thanks to the properties of both shea butter and NIVEA Deep Moisture Serum.

shea butter for skin

shea butter shower cream

Indulge your skin in the shower with NIVEA Rich Moisture Smooth Shower Cream for deep nourishment with its rich lather and delicate scent. This shea butter shower cream will help to leave skin feeling soft, smooth and moisturised even after towel drying.

shea butter for skin

Why Is Body Skin Care Important?

Our skin is our bodies first and foremost line of defence against infection and disease, so it is crucial that we look after it. As well as cleansing daily in the shower or bath it is very important to further moisturise our body to keep our skin hydrated and healthy. Throughout the day we are exposed to factors that can wear our skin down causing it to crack and dry out, therefore we should replenish the moisture our skin loses each day so it can continue to function properly.

As well as looking after our skin's natural protective barrier, ensuring our skin is moisturised daily by having a body skin care routine can help to prevent premature ageing and reduce signs of mature skin. Body moisturisers with shea butter for skin can help to smooth our skin and improve its elasticity. Looking after our body skin will ensure it stays firm and youthful so you can hold onto your radiant glow, even as you start to age.

shea butter for skin

More Facts About Shea Butter

  1. Pharaoh Cleopatra was known to be a user of shea butter for cosmetic purposes back in Ancient Egypt
  2. In countries where shea butter is produced and exported it is referred to as "women's gold"
  3. Shea butter isn't just for skin - it is also fantastic to cook with! In its pure form, shea butter is edible and is used for cooking oil. Chocolatiers occasionally use shea butter as a substitute to cocoa butter when creating delicious choc.
  4. Shea trees are used for more than just producing shea butter - the tree bark has been used as an ingredient in traditional medicines and the nut shell used as mosquito repellent
  5. Shea butter is very similar to animal fat as it has a high content of stearic acid - this is part of the reason why it is so moisturising and easily absorbed by the skin
  6. Shea butter has a natural SPF of 6, meaning it offers minor protection against sunlight