Shea butter is a type of hard, starchy tree nut butter extracted from the shea nut. Shea butter is used primarily as an ingredient in soaps and lotions, with limited use as a foodstuff. Shea oil is obtained from the nut and used for cooking, lubrication, and medicinal purposes. Shea Butter is also known as karite butter and wax nut. Since the early 2000s, natural shea butter has been gaining popularity for its skin and hair benefits. Shea butter is known to have emollient properties that can improve skin hydration and soften skin texture. It has been used in cooking and cosmetics to enhance the benefits of other ingredients. Shea butter may be beneficial for people with eczema or psoriasis because it can moisturize dry skin, and eliminate itching.
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Besides its moisturizing properties, many people like to use shea butter because it smells like nuts. It can have a variety of different smells which vary depending on the geographic origin of the shea nuts. Shea nuts are harvested in Africa where local communities have figured out how to polish and extract the butter from shea nuts. The process is similar to how olive oil is extracted from olives. They heat and crush the shea nuts until they release a liquid containing a water-soluble ester called keratin (25–35%). Shea butter is largely produced in Africa by women's cooperatives in arid regions without access to electricity or good roads, using traditional tools like grindstones and pestles.
Benefits of using shea butter on tattoos:
1) For better healing
Adding shea butter to a tattoo helps in faster healing. It softens the skin and soothes the skin after a tattoo. It helps in faster healing, in about 2 weeks.
2) Shea Butter can protect from skin discoloration
Because of its high vitamin E content (tocopherols), it protects your skin from excessive sun exposure, which may cause discoloration of your skin.
3) Moisturizing Properties
Shea butter is most commonly used as an ingredient for products that moisturize and nourish the skin such as lotions and creams. So it is great for preventing dry and flaky skin due to sun or windburn.
4) Skin allergies & eczema
Shea butter is a great relief for people with eczema and other skin allergies. It can soothe inflamed skin, and prevent any further irritation due to dry skin.
According to scientific studies Shea butter is effective in the reduction of scars. They can help reduce the size of scars and also lighten the color of scars. This may be useful for people who have very bad scarring from burns or accidents.
Shea butter can help prevent sunburn because it has high levels of vitamin E. Shea butter has been known to be an effective skin protector against the damaging effects of UV light.
7) After a tattoo
Because of its moisturizing properties, shea butter is said to soothe any acne or redness that may occur after leaving a tattoo on the skin for long periods. The cream helps remove inflammation and keeps the scar from forming as much. The moisturizer also makes it easier for your skin to heal and fade the scars.
8) In the sun
Shea butter has natural antioxidants that help in preventing skin damage. It is also great for keeping your skin healthy and pain-free during long sittings in the sun. For this purpose, it acts as a skin protection from UV rays. So you can keep on using shea butter while you are out in the sun.
9) At home
Shea butter is also great for making homemade skin cream at home with no need for chemicals or preservatives (just use water).
10) Dry Skin
Shea butter can be used to help cure dry and scaly skin because of its healing properties. Shea butter also has been used as a smoothing agent in most parts of Africa. Shea butter is great for rubbing on your body, the best part is that it's all-natural and won't be harmful to your skin or cause irritation.
How should you use shea butter on a new tattoo?
Step 1: After tattooing, you need to protect your skin from the air by covering it up. Use dry gauze or ready-made bandages that can be bought at any drug store and cover your tattoo. Then put on rubber gloves and warm up a little water until it is hot, then take the shea butter and mix it with enough water to make a thin cream-like paste.
Step 2: Apply this paste over your tattoo with your clean fingers for about twenty minutes then rinse away. Using warm water with regular soap will also help speed up the healing process of your new tattoo.
Step 3: Cover your tattoo with a very high SPF sunscreen to protect the ink from fading or peeling.
Step 4: Apply the shea butter as needed. You may notice your tattoo getting dry and flaky so be sure to apply more of the shea butter when that happens.
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Step 5: It may take up to two weeks for your tattoo to heal completely, but you can speed up the healing by taking proper care of it.
1) Does shea butter cause skin irritation?
No. Unlike other body butter, like cocoa butter and lanolin, shea butter does not have a scent that could cause skin irritation. As stated above, the smell of shea butter is determined by which nut is used (if any), so it may smell nutty or sweet depending on the origin of the nut.
2) Can shea butter be used in place of another kind of lotion?
Yes, if you don't mind use a little more in your daily routine. Shea butter can be used by itself as an all-over lotion or mixed with essential oils for a moisturizing massage blend. Any time you put into your body that increases the moisture in your skin, it will repair and regenerate damaged or stretchy skin cells. The best part about using shea butter is that as mentioned above, it doesn't need to be heated to activate the moisturising properties of the shea butter. When you use the more commonly available raw shea butter, you'll find that it retains its moisturizing properties even when not heated.