We all know high-quality Unrefined Shea Butter has amazing effects to your skin. It's so versatile, it can be used by almost everyone and anywhere to help improve all sorts of skin conditions, including: dryness, sensitivity, irritation, inflammation and aged and de-hydrated skin; and help fight against stretch marks, diaper rash, eczema and sunburned skin, and more. But what's the science evidence behind this? Why does it have such amazing regenerative powers
According to scientific research, Unrefined Shea Butter contains the highest levels of Omega-9 (45-60%) and Vitamin E among all plant-based fats. Japanese scientists also discovered in a 2010 paper that shea butter contains an exceptional amount of eight Triterpene Esters, including a significant amount of Lupeol Cinnamate (10mg/kg) and Triterpene Acetate and Cinnamate Esters, which are active anti-inflammatory compounds and also help prevent against certain types of skin tumours. Cinnamic Acid also gives shea butter a natural SPF of 6-10. This explains the super healing and antioxidant powers behind unrefined shea butter.
Given the popularity of Unrefined Shea Butter, there are a handful of fake / low quality, chemically extracted refined shea butter in the market. We've shared tips in our previous blog post, how to judge if it's a good/bad, real/fake, dyed/unrefined shea butter.
Beware of shea butters that are completely smooth to the touch. Real unrefined shea butter should have a slightly grainy texture, compared to refined butters that feel totally smooth on your skin. According to United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the refinement process vastly reduces shea butter's nutrition value for your skin, removing up to 95% of vitamins (including Omega-9, an essential fatty acid, and the antioxidant Vitamin A) in refined grades (Grade B-E).
This is what Grade A unrefined shea butter should look like
To maximize shea butter's benefits to your skin and avoid chemical contamination, it is recommended to only choose Grade A unrefined shea butter. At Maame, we only use 100% natural Grade A unrefined fair trade shea butter, ethnically sourced from Ghana. When you use Maame products, you can rest assured that you're getting the maximum benefits for your skin while making a positive impact for the hardworking women who handcraft this rare exquisite shea butter and their communities