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Shea Butter

The International Journal of Development and Sustainability recently made a research about shea butter soap benefits and characteristics.   This research work shows that shea butter oil soap is one of the quality soaps in terms of health benefits, antioxidants and with favorable medicinal properties to alleviate problems of the skin and scalp.

Shea butter has been used as an ingredient for skin care products for centuries. Its high concentration of vitamins and fatty acids make it a fantastic product for smoothing, soothing, and conditioning your skin.

Shea butter is extracted from the nuts of the shea tree. At warm temperatures it solidifies, and has an off-white or ivory color. Shea trees are native to West Africa, and shea butter used at Gracie’s Soaps comes from that region.

Although Shea butter is a tree nut product, unlike most tree nut products, it’s very low in the proteins that can trigger allergies.  In fact, there is no medical literature documenting an allergy to topical shea butter, neither  contain chemical irritants known to dry out skin, nor clog pores. It’s appropriate for nearly any skin type. This unique composition helps clear your skin of excess oil (sebum) and at the same time, shea butter restores moisture to your skin and locks it in to your epidermis, so your skin doesn’t dry out or feel “stripped” of oil.  The result is a restoration of the natural balance of oils in your skin — which may help stop acne before it starts.

Shea butter is typically used for its moisturizing effects. These benefits are tied to shea’s fatty acid content, including linoleic, oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids.  This restores the barrier between your skin and the outside environment, holding moisture in and reducing your risk of dryness. Shea butter in Gracie’s Soaps triggers cytokines and other inflammatory cells to slow their production.  This may help to minimize irritation caused by environmental factors, such as dry weather.  Shea’s anti-inflammatory properties help soothe skin and relieve itching. This may prove especially helpful for skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis

Shea butter has significant levels of vitamins A and E, which means it promotes strong antioxidant activity.  Antioxidants are important anti-aging agents. They protect your skin cells from free radicals that can lead to premature aging and dull-looking skin. Shea aids in the skin’s natural collagen production and contains oleic, stearic, palmitic, and linolenic acids that protect and nourish the skin to prevent drying. Gracie’s Soaps with shea butter long-term use, will result in skin softening and strengthening as well as wrinkle reduction.

It has been established that shea tree products are powerful ingredients to fight skin infections caused by fungi.  While shea butter may not be able to treat every kind of fungal infection, we know that it kills spores of the fungi that cause ringworm and athlete’s foot. 

Shea butter contains triterpenes. These naturally occurring chemical compounds are thought to deactivate collagen fiber destruction.  This may minimize the appearance of fine lines and result in plumper skin.  The concentration of natural vitamins and fatty acids in shea makes it incredibly nourishing and moisturizing for skin. It is often used to remedy dry skin and to help protect the skin’s natural oils.

Moisturizing and antioxidant properties in shea butter work together to help your skin generate healthy new cells. Your body is constantly making new skin cells and getting rid of dead skin cells. You actually get rid of anywhere between 30,000 to 40,000 old skin cells each day.  Dead skin cells sit on the top of your skin.   New skin cells form at the bottom of the upper layer of skin (epidermis).  Using Gracie’s Soaps regularly, you can be sure that you are getting the right moisture balance on the surface of your skin, you’ll have fewer dead skin cells in the way of fresh cell regeneration in the epidermis.

It’s thought that shea butter stops keloid fibroblasts — scar tissue — from reproducing, while encouraging healthy cell growth to take their place. This may help your skin heal, minimizing the appearance of stretch marks and scarring.

By boosting collagen production and promoting new cell generation, shea butter may help reduce what researchers call photoaging — the wrinkles and fine lines that environmental stress and aging can create on skin.

In addition to reducing underlying inflammation, shea is also linked to the tissue remodeling that’s crucial for treating wounds.  Its protective fatty acids may also help shield wounds from environmental irritants during the healing process.  A 2010 study found that due to its cinnamic acid and other natural properties, shea butter was anti-inflammatory. One compound in particular, lupeol cinnamate, was found to reduce skin inflammation and even potentially help avoid skin mutations. This also makes it beneficial for some people with acne.

 

Shea butter contains:

  • linoleic, palmitic, stearic, and oleic fatty acids, ingredients that balance oils on your skin

  • vitamins A, E, and F, antioxidant vitamins that promote circulation and healthy skin cell growth

  • triglycerides, the fatty part of the shea nut that nourishes and conditions your skin

  • cetyl esters, the waxy part of the shea nut butter that conditions skin and locks in moisture

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