Shea Butter as a Skincare Ingredient

Posted by Adelline Yoon on

What is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is a fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. It is usually yellow in color when raw. The Shea tree, or Vitellaria paradoxa, is a deciduous tree usually 7–15m tall, with the tallest around 25m or so tall. The shea tree is a traditional food plant in Central Africa. The tree starts bearing its first fruit when it is 10 to 15 years old; full production is attained when the tree is about 20 to 30 years old. It then produces nuts for up to 200 years. The fruits resemble large plums and take 4 to 6 months to ripen. Once the fruits are ripe, they drop to the ground. The flesh can be eaten or used for feed and compost. The seeds are boiled, broken down, ground, roasted, and simmered to extract the shea butter. 

Why is Shea Butter used in Skincare?

Shea Butter has a lot of Triterpenes, compounds that induce cell growth, collagen growth, and tissue repair. Shea Butter has also been found to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It is known to trigger allergic reactions for some people, so take precautions.