by Anne

Effects of shea butter:food and care product for skin and hair

In the past, shea butter was traditionally used primarily in the tr...
Sheabutter Kosmetik

In the past, shea butter was traditionally used primarily in the tropical regions of Africa as food and for skin and hair care, and sometimes for technical purposes. In the meantime, vegetable fat has made the leap onto the European market and is used for numerous products in the food industry, cosmetics and medical products. But what makes shea butter so special? Which of its ingredients are particularly healthy? Which different types of shea butter are there?es?

The following article explains how the different types of shea butter are made and what they are used for. It also shows which fatty acids and other important ingredients the shea butter contains and how the individual ingredients affect skin and hair as well as various aspects of health.

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  1. Shea butter is vegan, tasty and healthy.
  2. Shea butter helps against wrinkles, dry skin and neurodermatitis.


What is shea butter?
How to make shea butter?
Shea butter is used for this
What fatty acids does shea butter contain?
What health-promoting ingredients are in shea butter?
This is what shea butter does on the skin

What is shea butter?

Shea butter is a vegetable fat made from the berries of the shea tree, tooShea nut tree,Shi tree orAfrican butter tree called, is won. These trees grow at a height of 100,600m in Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, South Sudan, Uganda and other tropical countries in Africa..

Natural shea butter is usually yellow in color. However, since the beta-carotene it contains is often lost during further processing, the refined butter is either white, black or gray, depending on the type of treatment. The melting point of shea butter is around 38-40c..

Natural shea butter contains a lot of unsaponifiable components as well as unsaturated fatty acids, which is why it is particularly beneficial to health. For this reason, among other things, it has long been a popular food in Africa and is now also known in Europe as a component of various dishes. Above all, however, shea butter is used in various areas of hair and skin care, sometimes also for medical and technical purposes.

How to make shea butter?

Shea butter is made from shea nuts, tooShea nuts called, won. These are the kernels of the berry fruits of the shea tree, which has been growing in the tropical regions of Africa for centuries. The nuts are about 4cm in diameter and about half of them are fat. Both the pulp and the seeds are edible.

To make butter, the shea nuts must first be freed from the pulp. The leftover kernels are then washed and cooked. They are then either stored, sold, transported away or further processed directly. Depending on the purpose, shea butter can be produced in different ways.

To the aromatic so-calledblack shea butter To prepare, which is mainly used for cooking, the kernels are first roasted for about 20 to 30 minutes. Roasting is usually omitted for the production of shea butter for cosmetic, medicinal or technical purposes. In this case, the shea nuts are crushed immediately after drying and then mixed with warm water to create a pulpy mass. The fat contained then settles on the water surface over time and can finally be sieved off. With the dried end product you finally get the shea butter.

Shea butter is used for this

Shea butter is used for many different purposes around the world. In Africa, where the shea tree and its nuts, from which the shea butter is made, originally come from, they are even used to make candles and to impregnate various materials. Above all, wood, from which traditional African musical instruments are made, is made durable with the help of products based on shea butter. In Europe, shea butter is primarily known as a skin care product, but also as a component of medical products and food.


In which foods is shea butter

In some African countries, such as Ghana, for example, shea butter is used in the kitchen as an edible oil for the preparation of various hot and cold dishes. Similar to normal butter and margarine, shea butter is mainly used as frying fat and as a spread. In particular the so-calledblack shea buttermade from roasted nuts, is popular in the kitchen because it is particularly aromatic.

Shea butter is mainly used industrially for the production of desserts. For example, in the production of pralines and other chocolate products, shea butter is used as a substitute for cocoa butter. In addition, shea butter is now also used as the basis for vegan stock cubes.


In which care products is shea butter

In Africa, pure shea butter has been used as a natural care product for skin and hair for many decades. Nowadays, shea butter is also used in the industrial production of many different cosmetics. The following care products can contain shea butter:

  • Soap
  • shower gel
  • Conditioner and conditioner
  • Day and night cream
  • Hand and foot cream
  • Body lotion
  • suncream
  • Massage oil
  • Lipstick and lip gloss

For what medicinal purposes is shea butter used?

The real health benefits of shea butter are not clearly understood. However, it has been proven that various symptoms of some skin diseases and allergies can be alleviated with the help of shea butter. Due to its moisturizing, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effect as well as its soft consistency, shea butter is ideal as a base for creams and ointments. The following diseases and complaints are often treated with shea butter or products that contain it:

  • sunburn
  • Insect bites
  • Eczema
  • Eczema
  • psoriasis
  • hay fever
  • Sinus infection
  • Sore throat
  • Joint pain
  • rheumatism
  • Tumor cells

What fatty acids does shea butter contain?

Among other things, shea butter is known to contain a large number of health-promoting unsaturated fatty acids. The following table shows which fatty acids the shea butter is composed of and in which parts:

fatty acid

proportion of

Oleic acid

(monounsaturated fatty acid, omega-9)


Stearic acid

(saturated fatty acid)


Linoleic acid

(diunsaturated fatty acid, omega-6)


Palmitic acid

(saturated fatty acid)


Linolenic acid

(triple unsaturated fatty acid, omega-3)

& lt; 1%

Arachidonic acid

(quadruple unsaturated fatty acid, omega-6)

& lt; 1%

What health-promoting ingredients are in shea butter?

Shea butter has nourishing and healing properties that contribute to beautiful and healthy skin. In the unrefined state, it is even edible and serves as a nutritious food. The positive properties of shea butter are essentially due to the following ingredients and their respective effects:




inhibits inflammation and supports wound healing

Beta carotene

(can be lost during processing)

has an antioxidant effect, controls the immune system and protects against heart diseases

Omega-3 and omega-6


regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels, protect against heart disease


supports the formation of hormones and cell membranes, protects against arteriosclerosis


inhibits inflammation, regenerates the nerves, protects the liver and prevents thrombosis

Triterpene alcohol

has an antibacterial, decongestant and antispasmodic effect

Unsaturated fatty acids

inhibit inflammation and protect the skin

Vitamin E.

has an antioxidant effect, protects against premature cell aging

This is what shea butter does on the skin

Shea butter is mainly known as a component of various skin care products. This is mainly due to the following beneficial effects:

  • Moisturizing care: One of the most important and well-known functions of shea butter in body care is the supply of moisture to the skin. This protects it from drying out, which can prevent cracks and flakes, among other things. With regular care with shea butter, the skin becomes soft and supple. In addition, it also acquires an increasingly shiny appearance in the long term. This applies to both the skin on the body and the skin of the face, including the lips.
  • Wound healing: In the case of wounds, such as those caused by sunburn, cuts or abrasions, shea butter can help heal and regenerate the skin. This can also counteract the formation of permanent scars.
  • Protection against skin aging: Regular use of shea butter can make it visibleAnti aging Achieve effect. Both the extensive supply of moisture to the skin and the regeneration of skin cells counteract the formation of wrinkles and sagging and scarred skin. Instead, shea butter promotes a firm, healthy and youthfully glowing complexion.
  • Treatment of skin diseases: Since shea butter is anti-inflammatory, it can help heal relatively harmless rashes through to serious skin diseases such as neurodermatitis and psoriasis, as well as eczema.
  • Treatment of other inflammatory diseases: Various rheumatic complaints and joint pain can also be alleviated by applying shea butter externally, for example by regularly applying it to painful joints.
  • Relief of allergy symptoms: In the case of allergy-related swelling of the mucous membranes, for example in the nose, the application of shea butter can help to swell the mucous membrane. Pustules, rashes and itching can also be relieved with the help of shea butter.


In summary, one can say that shea butter is very versatile. In Europe, shea butter is mainly used in personal care. The moisturizing property of shea butter is actually suitable for the prevention of dry, cracked or prematurely aging skin as well as brittle hair. In addition, inflammation and the symptoms of various skin diseases and allergies can be relieved with the help of shea butter, which is why it is also included in medicinal ointments.

In addition, shea butter is a purely plant-based food, which has many unsaturated fatty acids and other health-promoting ingredients. This is one of the reasons why shea butter is traditionally used as an edible oil in Africa, and foods containing shea butter are also becoming increasingly popular in Europe. However, depending on how they are processed, certain nutrients can also be lost. If you want to consume African plant butter primarily for health reasons, you should therefore prefer a natural product and not refined shea butter.

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