Shea butter is often used as an emollient and an anti-inflammatory in a variety of skin care products. It's uses include:
- Relief from minor burns and wounds: Shea butter soothes damaged skin and helps prevent it from drying and flaking [source: Karité].
- Prevention of stretch marks: Doctors recommend moisturizing the breasts, hips, stomach and thighs with shea butter three to four times a day to help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Keeping skin moisturized allows it to be pliant and more easily stretched [source: Robertson].
- Conditioning hair and scalp: Shampoos and conditioners that contain shea butter are especially moisturizing for dry hair and scalps, and it can help treat dandruff [source: Goins].
- Moisturizing skin and minimizing scars and wrinkles: While shea butter can't reverse sun damage or increase collagen production, it can make skin appear plumper and more youthful because of its intensive moisturizing properties [source: Boucehz].
For more information on shea lotion and its uses, see the links on the following page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Bouchez, Colette. "Anti-aging Treatments for Your Hands." (Accessed 10/9/09) http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/features/antiaging-treatments-for-your-hands
- Bouchez, Colette. "Nutrients for Healthy Skin: Inside and Out." (Accessed 10/9/09) http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/skin-nutrition
- Cherry, Robin. "In a Nutshell." Lexus Magazine. 10/2007. (Accessed 9/10/09) http://www.thesheaproject.org/nilotica.html
- Elias, Marlene, and Judith Carney. "African Shea Butter: A Feminized Subsidy From Nature." Africa. Winter 2007 (Accessed 9/09/09) http://www.international.ucla.edu/africa/grca/publications/article.asp?parentid=107730 http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3103/is_1_77/ai_n29337037/?tag=content;col1
- Elias, Marlene, and Judith Carney. "African Women, Shea Butter, and Globalization." UCLA African Studies Center. 2009. (Accessed 9/10/09) http://www.international.ucla.edu/africa/grca/publications/article.asp?parentid=107730
- Goins, Liesa. "Shampoo, Shampoo Everywhere -- But Which One's Right For Your Hair?" (Accessed 10/9/09) http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/features/shampoo-shampoo-everywhere-but-which-ones-right-for-your-hair_
- Karité. Center for International Studies and Cooperation. (Accessed 9/10/09) http://www.ceci.ca/ceci/en/medias_and_information/karite/discover_shea_butter.html#or
- Robertson, Annabelle. "Stretch Marks Getting Under Your Skin?" (Accessed 10/9/09) http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/stretch-marks-getting-under-your-skin
- Worldwide Gourmet. "Shea Butter." (Accessed on 9/10/09) http://www.theworldwidegourmet.com/products/epicurious-temptations/shea-butter/
- Wasserman, Susan, M.D. and Dr. Wade Watson. "Ask the Allergists." Allergic Living. 6/23/09. (Accessed 9/10/09) http://www.allergicliving.com/columns.asp?copy_id=73
- "Women's Gold": The Making of Shea Butter." Ten Thousand Villages. (Accessed 9/10/09) http://www.tenthousandvillages.ca/cgi-bin/category.cgi?type=store&item=pageZAAAD60&template=fullpage-en&category=fairtrade