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Shea butter derives from the seed of the Karite tree, native to Central and West Africa, it has not only a local staple used for generations, but a one of the most advantageous skincare products, and a natural resource too. Its usefulness goes beyond shea butter’s benefits for skin.
Many view shea butter harvesting as a “women’s industry”, even referring to it as “Women’s Gold.”
This is because it provides employability and a form of income to millions of women across the continent. The process of harvesting and creating shea butter provides the opportunity for a better quality of life. According to the UN Development Programme (UNDP), an estimated three million African women work directly or indirectly with shea butter.
Countless projects are under way to allow women the chance to grow within the harvesting industry. For example, the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ghana, are working to provide women with management and finance training. As a result, they aim to have ‘300 women trained in high-quality butter production to meet local, national and international standards.’ Not only does this better the production of shea butter but also the employment possibilities for women.
The Different Forms of Shea Butter
The benefits of using shea butter are endless and it happens to be formed in a number of ways.
Removing chemicals and preservatives makes unrefined (raw) shea butter what it is. Simply beginning its journey as a pile of nuts, by hand, they are removed from their shells. After being roasted and boiled, raw shea butter still maintains its nutty scent. Plus, all of its natural healing effects. The colour can vary from yellow, beige, green or more of an ivory tone.
On the other hand, refined shea butter is made during a heating process. During this process, it is not rare for preservatives to be added. As a result, this usually removes the goodness that may be found in raw shea butter. Nonetheless, refined shea butter is still a valuable product. Cosmetically, it is made more suitable to be applied directly onto the skin. Refined shea butter is highly recommended for use within skincare products. Shea butter benefits for skin go beyond using it in its raw form, and these benefits can be wielded in several ways.
Additionally, whipped shea butter has become a versatile and easy to make form of shea butter. A light, creamy and fluffy version, making it easily absorbable. Many turn to whipped shea butter as a hair conditioner and moisturiser.
No matter what form it is in, shea butter benefits us all in a matter of ways.
Is Shea Butter Suitable for All Skin Types?
Although shea butter is a natural product, as with any product or ingredient, it is important to check that it is suitable for your skin. It’s not just about shea butters benefits for skin, but shea butters benefits for your skin.
Shea butter happens to be rather low in the proteins that trigger allergies. This means that an allergy to shea butter is a rarity. In fact, there happens to be no medical literature that documents an allergy to topical shea butter.
As well as this, it does not contain any chemical irritants that are known to dry out the skin. As a non-comedogenic, shea butter also does not interfere with skin pores and creating excess oil. In other words, shea butter benefits all skin types in some way.
Shea butter is a powerful ingredient. It has many features that benefit the body from head to toe.