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Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter)

* A botanical ingredient * Derived from the seeds of the African Shea Tree. Also known as Shea butter. See our article Shea Yes to the Real Thing

Acts as a skin conditioning agent and viscosity (thickness) increasing agent. Its function as a dermal conditioner is two fold. Firstly, it helps retain moisture and lessen the loss of water by forming a barrier on the skin's surface. Secondly, it also works to reduce the appearance of rough patches and dry flakes on the skin. Many prefer this ingredient as a moisturizer because of its content of unsaponifiable fats- meaning that, unlike other fatty oils, it does not turn into soap when in the presence of a potent alkali, thus retaining its moisturizing abilities.

* A botanical ingredient

* Derived from the seeds of the African Shea Tree. Also known as Shea butter. See our article Shea Yes to the Real Thing

Functions:

Acts as a skin conditioning agent and viscosity (thickness) increasing agent. Its function as a dermal conditioner is two fold. Firstly, it helps retain moisture and lessen the loss of water by forming a barrier on the skin's surface. Secondly, it also works to reduce the appearance of rough patches and dry flakes on the skin. Many prefer this ingredient as a moisturizer because of its content of unsaponifiable fats- meaning that, unlike other fatty oils, it does not turn into soap when in the presence of a potent alkali, thus retaining its moisturizing abilities.

In addition, the moisturizers in shea butter are the same as those produced by the sebaceous glands of the skin. In fact, because its structure and function resembles that of the lipid content of skin, shea butter is considered to be a Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF). As an NMF, it helps keep the intercellular structure of the epidermis intact, and effectively  keeps bacteria out, facilitates the skin's healing process, prevents dermal irritation and regenerates the skin.

It's particularly useful for those looking to improve the appearance of dry skin, or those having to combat cold winter weather. It also works as an anti-inflammatory, helping to soothe itchy, irritated or sunburnt skin. Best of all, it naturally absorbs UVB rays to protect the skin from the sun, and has antioxidant properties as potent as those of green tea and olive.  You can find butyrospermum parkii (shea butter) in a diverse number of cosmetic products such as body lotion, facial moisturizer, hair balm, lipstick, bar soap, eye cream, sunscreen and hand cream.

Safety Measures/Side Effects:

Like most other botanical ingredients, Shea Butter is generally considered to be mild and safe to use topically on the skin. Because some people are allergic to nuts (including the nuts from a shea tree), the FDA requires all food containing this ingredient to be properly labeled.

Recommended Products w/ Butyrospermum Parkii:

Arcona Peptide Hydrating Complex ($75 in the shop); Snowberry Every Day SPF15 Broad Spectrum Sun Protection ($36); La Vie Celeste Restorative Rose Hydrosol Eye Cream ($60 in the shop); Skinfinite Peptide Repair Serum ($69 in the shop); Prana Attar Firming Body Milk Moisturizer ($28 in the shop)

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