What is Shea Butter and How Can It Help Your Skin?

If you’ve ever read the ingredients on a bottle of moisturizer, you’re probably familiar with shea butter. A type of fat extracted from the nuts of the shea tree, shea butter has been a popular ingredient in cosmetics for centuries. Known for its high concentration of vitamins and fatty acids, it nourishes and moisturizes the skin and it is safe for all skin types.

In this article, we’ll explore shea butter in greater depth to learn exactly what it is and what benefits it provides for your skin. You’ll also learn about the top Yon-Ka Paris skincare products that contain this nourishing natural skincare ingredient.

What is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is derived from the nuts of the African shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa, formerly called Butyrospermum parkii). These trees grow wild in the dry savannah ranging from West Africa to Senegal, covering a span of 21 countries across the African continent. Its primary uses are in the cosmetics industry for skincare and hair care products, but it is also used for soap and massage oils. It is particularly beneficial as an emollient for dry skin.

When extracted from the nut of the shea tree in its raw form, shea butter is typically ivory in color. The more it is processed, the lighter it becomes. Though most commonly used in cosmetics, shea butter is edible and does have some culinary applications in certain African countries. It is also sometimes used as a substitute for cocoa butter or mixed with other oils, depending on the application.

The Benefits of Shea Butter for Skin

Shea butter is a type of fatty oil that is solid at room temperature. Its primary components include linoleic acid, stearic acid, and oleic acid, though it is also rich in vitamins and natural fatty acids. The main vitamins found in shea butter include vitamins A, E, and F which are antioxidant vitamins that promote healthy skin cell growth and circulation. Shea butter also contains triglycerides and cetyl esters which condition skin and lock in moisture.

Because shea butter melts at body temperature, it absorbs quickly into the skin to deliver moisturizing and healing benefits. Here are some of the main benefits of shea butter for skin:

  • It is rich in fatty acids, making it an excellent emollient and a valuable moisturizing agent.
  • It has anti-inflammatory benefits which can reduce the symptoms of inflammatory skin diseases.
  • It contains antioxidants which help repair damage to the skin and hair caused by free radicals.
  • It is very low in compounds likely to trigger allergies, making it safe for all skin types.
  • It contains vitamins A and E which support optimal skin health and protect it from UV rays.
  • It improves skin’s elasticity, helping to reduce the signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles.
  • It contains both linoleic and oleic acids which balance each other out, allowing it to absorb fully into the skin without making it look oily.
  • Its anti-inflammatory components reduce swelling and redness, helping burns heal faster.

Though shea butter is most well-known for its cosmetic applications, it has some notable healing properties as well. Here is an overview of some of the notable health benefits of shea butter:

  • It offers some antimicrobial benefits, according to a 2012 study, which may help decrease the spread of acne-causing bacteria on the skin.
  • With its natural anti-fungal benefits, shea butter may help prevent or treat fungal skin problems including ringworm and athlete’s foot.
  • It contains naturally occurring chemical compounds called triterpenes which are thought to slow collagen fiber destruction, helping reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkled skin.
  • Its anti-inflammatory properties help soothe the skin and relieve itching and may work just as well as medicated creams in treating skin problems like eczema.
  • According to a 2016 animal study, concentrated shea oil may reduce inflammation in joints affected by arthritis while also protecting against further joint damage.

In addition to these benefits, shea butter may help your skin regenerate for a smoother, plumper appearance overall, which is one of the main reasons you’ll find it in many Yon-Ka Paris products. The moisturizing and antioxidant properties found in shea butter work together to promote cell regeneration by maintaining the proper moisture balance in the skin to keep dead skin cells from accumulating on the surface.

The Top Yon-Ka Paris Products with Shea Butter

Shea butter is all-natural and completely safe to apply directly to skin. Raw, unrefined shea butter melts quickly at skin temperature, so it is easy to spread. Keep in mind, however, that it has a very high fat content, so you only need a little for it to work its magic.

Here are some of the top Yon-Ka Paris products that contain shea butter:

  • Elastine Jour – This smoothing, anti-wrinkle day cream restores the skin’s natural elasticity while protecting and plumping lackluster skin. Enriched with milk peptides and smoothing elastin, this formula softens the appearance of early wrinkles while protecting and repairing skin with shea butter. Apply in the morning after cleansing and spraying on Lotion Yon-Ka.
  • Elatine Nuit – A soothing, anti-wrinkle night cream, this product softens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Its protein-rich recipe restores skin’s natural elasticity, enriched with smoothing elastin and milk peptides with a boost of shea butter for protection and repair. Apply in the evening after cleansing and spraying on Lotion Yon-Ka.
  • Nutri Defense – An intensive repairing cream, this product is formulated for dry to very dry skin. With its complex, nutritious formula, this nourishing cream delivers immediate and long-lasting care to undernourished skin. It is enriched with nourishing ingredients like shea butter and grape seed oil to combat premature signs of aging. Apply morning and evening after cleansing.
  • Crème MainsA repairing and comforting hand cream, this product protects dry, rough skin using a specialized formula featuring shea butter, grape seed oil, Bisabol, and vitamins A, C, and E.Apply as needed to clean, dry skin or apply a thick layer and cover with cotton gloves for the ultimate hydrating and repairing experience.
  • Excellence Code Crème – This global youth cream addresses all of the needs of mature skin with its highly elaborate and advanced formula. This product is empowered by avocado and grape seed oils as well as shea butter, hyaluronic acid, and red algae extract to regenerate and restructure the skin for a firmer, more even appearance and texture.

Shea butter is a rich and nourishing ingredient for your skin, but it should be used as part of a comprehensive skincare regimen. To best integrate it into your skincare routine, select the product or products above that best suit your specific skincare needs.

If you’re not sure which products are best for your skin type, stop into a Yon-Ka Paris partner spa for a free consultation or use the Skincare Advisor on our shop to receive a customized skincare regimen.

Yon-Ka USA
Yon-Ka USA

The promise of infinite rejuvenation | Celebrating its 65th anniversary, Yon-Ka Paris offers French-made, luxurious, plant cell active-based skincare regimens. Quintessence, Yon-Ka’s essential oil Complex, delivers the very unique olfactive and therapeutic experience that discerning consumers and passionate professionals have been raving about since 1954. Thanks to its research and expertise in phyto-aromatic therapy, Yon-Ka Paris develops sensorial skincare products and protocols with scientifically proven efficacy. Today, Yon-Ka Paris collaborates with licensed Beauty and Wellness professionals in 5000+ locations Worldwide to deliver the perfect alchemy of age-defying results and pure wellness.

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