Shea butter is such an interesting ingredient.
Although it is grown in sunny Africa, it’s one of the best things for your skin during winter if you live someplace snowy with extreme low temperatures and wind, someplace like Canada. Make no sense. Why would an ingredient from a country that never snows (Ghana) work brilliantly in Canada?? I don’t under stand why it does that, but it does.
Shea butter contains a number of components that help your skin stay healthy. And plain or raw shea butter on its own is thick and difficult to work with. If you use it unblended on your hands or fingers you’ll notice a protective layer that stays there for hours.. making it impossible to use your computer, smart phone, make a cup of tea or in fact touch anything for fear of leaving a greasy mark. But when shea is combined with the right oils it’s a miracle worker, and that’s why I use shea butter in my recipes.
Yes even though I’m from Celtic descent, the Africa shea is still useful for my skin. Other extracts that help your skin’s lipid bilayer happy in midwinter are lanolin, acai and pomegranate sterols, and jojoba esters. I use jojoba in Proposal in Paris and Jardin de Fleurs and Harmony. Pomegranate is in Heart of Eternity. In the olden days Eskimos rubbed seal or whale blubber on their faces in winter as protection.
And yes, if you’re looking to keep your hands protected this winter, then shea butter should be inside your hand cream, no matter what type of skin you have, or how young you are.
Shea butter hand cream
Shea butter and rosacea
And if you have rosacea – you may wonder that that red flushing’s about in winter. You’ll notice your skin flares up when its very cold or windy in mid winter. This is due to receptors in the skin called TRPA1 that sense extreme cold – these TRPA1 receptors release neuropeptides that cause vasodilatation and the formation of spider veins .. This is why you flush in cold weather. So my tip is for you to protect your skin’s bilipid layer from freezing and to prevent TEWL (moisture loss) by using a balm based formula like Samba that is rich in GLA containing oils.
Raw shea butter
If you wondered what was inside raw organic shea butter that was so effective, have a look what’s inside:
- Vitamins A, E, and F that promote circulation and healthy skin cell grow
- Catechin antioxidants –
- phytosterols (cinnamic acid esters) anti-inflammatory and reduce redness, provide UV protection of 3-4
- allantoin which protects against windburn and chafing
- cetyl esters lock in moisture
- triterpenes that protect collagen
- Fatty acids – mostly stearic and oleic – that soften and protect skin.