All of the ingredients available and listed in handmade soaps can be a little mind boggling. There are sooo many to choose from. Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Coconut Oil, Almond Oil, and the list goes on. So, how do you know which ones are good, which ones are great, and which ones are just average?
Now, while there is no direct answer for that question. Some people have oily skin, some dry. Some people deal with eczema, while others blackheads. Some need something to deal with dry, flaky conditions, a mechanic might appreciate something a little bit more than just a mild exfoliant.
There are sooo many options!
But, there are some rules that can be followed for the general soap user.
One of my absolute favorites is Shea Butter. This is a definite home-run-hitter when it comes to skin moisturizing. Shea butter has a very thick, creamy, buttery texture when at room temperature. This makes it ideal for other beauty products such as lotions, body, butters, and lip balms.
Unlike some of it’s other oil counterparts, it does not “sit” on the skin. Shea butter is really great at absorption. Some oils seem to sit on top of the skin, never really delivering the full capacity of their moisturizing capabilities. But Shea Butter absorbs quickly, both ridding you of that “oily” slimy feeling, and getting down deep with all of that skin loving goodness!
But there is so much more to Shea Butter than just being an amazing moisturizer! It is known to be an effective anti-inflammatory and has been reputed to have some anti-aging components.
What is Shea Butter?
Shea Butter is a skin superfood! It comes from the seeds of the Shea tree fruit.
The Shea Tree or Karite tree is rich in vitamins A, E, and F. Yes, I said vitamin F. Vitamin F is composed of two fatty acids – linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linoleic acid (LNA). Linoleic acid is considered to be the most complete fatty acid. There are two basic categories of EFA’s – omega-3 and omega-6, which include linoleic acid and gamma-linoleic acid
So, to translate that to English. Vitamin F, According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, these acids help build skin cells and encourage skin cell growth. This is good for blemishes, scars or other superficial concerns when you want new, fresh skin to hurry up. This stimulation will also help your skin have a healthy glow as old skin is more quickly sloughed off and replaced with fresh skin. One of the first signs of a lack of vitamin F in your diet is dull, dry skin. Fatty acids play a critical role in keeping your skin moist and elastic.
According to a study done by Oregon State University the lack of these fatty acids clinically manifests as dermatitis (scaling and dryness of the skin).
So, this obscure Vitamin F, is actually pretty important.
Shea Butter has been used for centuries in many location such as Africa, and many other tropical regions. With all that sun and radiation beaming down on the sunniest parts of the world, I’m going to guess they may know a thing or two about what works great for skin conditioning.
So, we already know it’s super conditioning, and now we know that it can help to treat extreme cases of dry skin, but studies have also shown it can reduce inflammation. Yep, Shea butter is also an anti-inflammatory. 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.
Okay, all that sounds great right? But…
Which shea butter do I buy?
Oh the choices! But this has a fairly simple answer, when looking to purchase pure shea butter look for these qualities:
- Grade A
Good shea butter can be found at most local health food stores. All of our Shea butter handmade soaps are made with Shea Butter with these qualities. It provides the highest quality and ensures it is in it purest form.
As with anything soapy, this is not a medical claim, and I cannot guarantee that you can treat or cure any skin conditions you may have by using shea butter or our shea butter soaps.
And lastly, this is a plant. It is natural and while it is a benefit to most people, there is the risk of allergy for a small percent of the population. If you have never used shea butter before, be sure to do a small test patch on your skin before using in general. And definitely discontinue use if you have any reaction!