What is Shea Oil?
Shea oil is a by-product of shea butter production, of a popular nut from the shea tree, Vitellaria paradoxa.
It has many types of healthy and essential fatty acids, capric, caprylic, lauric, palmitic, cinnamic, oleic, and linoleic acid; along with vitamins and minerals.
Shea oil is well- known as a natural skin and hair superfood. It has healthy cosmetic benefits, and anti-aging benefits. Shea butter and shea oil are both derived from the same plant and its nuts. The biggest difference between the two is that the butter is higher in essential stearic fats so it is creamier than the oil, but otherwise they both have the same health benefits.
Benefits of Shea Oil
- Shea oil is a great emollient, humectant, and moisturizer, it is quick absorbing, keeps dry skin healthy and helps cells function better.
- It reduces inflammation and irritation of the skin.
- Straightens frizzy hair, calms and controls the dry, unruly and frizzy flyaway hair. It decreases split ends, adds volume to your locks, eliminates dandruff and decrease hair loss itself.
- Shea oil eliminates wrinkles, slows skin aging by preventing free radical damage.
- It eases and prevents cracked skin on heels of feet and elbows; just a little oil goes a long way.
- Use Shea oil as a massage for sore muscles, and joints; it is good for osteoarthritis complaints. It is good for use on face for inflammation and for bags under the eye.
- The use of shea oil curtails issues like dermatitis, damaged or peeling skin and stretch marks. It is high in antioxidants of Vitamin E and A, which help fight free radicals that damage your skin.
- Shea nut oil can increase your production of collagen; a protein that is vital for the structures of your muscles, bones and skin. Vitamin E inhibits the enzyme that destroys collagen, and therefore, boosts collagen production.
Research Studies on Shea Oil
- Studies of Effects of Topical and Dietary Uses of Shea Butter on Animals was published in American Journal of Life, 2014, showing shea oil uses for skin car, sun screen, moisturizer, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Research on Shea nut oil concentrate, published in PubMed, attenuates knee osteoarthritis (OA) development, in rats. Shea oil is traditionally used for joint pain and inflammation. The fatty acids, triterpene, was found to reduce swelling of knee joints relieving symptoms of OA and protecting cartilage from degeneration.
Excessive use of Shea oil could cause more irritation or more inflammation, so limit to small amounts. There could be some mild reactions if you have an allergy to nuts.
Cindy Burrows, B.S., M.T., Herbalist and is a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant helping individuals with health programs to improve life and happiness. She is a writer, speaker and owner of several businesses.