Shea butter is a seed fat that comes from the shea tree. The shea tree is found in East and West tropical Africa. The shea butter comes from two oily kernels within the shea tree seed. After the kernel is removed from the seed, it is ground into a powder and boiled in water. The butter then rises to the top of the water and becomes solid.
People apply shea butter to the skin for acne, burns, dandruff, dry skin, eczema, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
In foods, shea butter is used as a fat for cooking.
In manufacturing, shea butter is used in cosmetic products.
- 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.
- Shea butter contains high levels of linoleic acid and oleic acid. These two acids balance each other out. That means shea butter is easy for your skin to fully absorb and won’t make your skin look oily after application.
- Shea butter has significant levels of vitamins A and E, which means it promotes strong antioxidant activity.
- Shea butter is rich in different kinds of fatty acids. This unique composition helps clear your skin of excess oil (sebum).