Hidden Toxicity in Most Beauty Products
Hidden Toxicity in Most Beauty Products
Let’s face it – most store-bought skin care ingredients can be nothing short of scary once you read and research the contents included on the labels. You may not realise it, but your favourite products can be large contributors of harmful ingredients, toxins and chemicals, which can be easily absorbed through the skin’s pores causing potential harmful health effects on your body and the environment.
The price of beauty doesn’t have to cost you your health.
The good news is there are many natural ways to retain youthful looking skin without having to purchase expensive, toxic, commercial products. Natural skin care remedies have been used around the world for centuries and some believe shea nut butter was also used by famous ancient women including the Queen of Sheba & Cleopatra. Now is a good time as ever to go back to the basics with a twist of modern-day insight to understand how these existing commercial products we’re using effect our body through hormone imbalances and are considered endocrine disruptors.
Origins of Shea Nut Butter
Shea Butter has been used as a natural skin product in Africa for many centuries to alleviate both skin and scalp issues. Its oil is produced from the edible nut of the fruit from the "Karite tree" (Vitellaria paradoxa) grown in many regions of Africa, that produces a tiny, nut-like fruit from which the butter is extracted. The nuts picked from the tree have their outer layer removed and crushed so they can be slow roasted into butter. It’s then kneaded with water to separate the oils known as fatty acids. The butter is then removed off the top and cooled until it hardens.
The tree itself takes 40 to 50 years to mature and is also sacred to the people, playing an important role in religious and cultural ceremonies. The destruction of the Shea tree is forbidden in most parts of West Africa due to its economic and health benefits prized as an invaluable product for both internal and external body purification. Shea butter is commonly used as an after-shave, hair moisturiser for dry and brittle hair, and is also used on the top of their drums to prevent drying and cracking.
A study published in the American Journal of Life Sciences claims shea nut butter boosts collagen production (collagen and elastin are major structural proteins providing skin with toughness and plumpness), resulting in anti-aging properties.
Another study from the Journal of Oleo Science reported shea nuts and fat (butter) was found to reduce inflammation and contains a significant source of anti-tumor promoting compounds.
Raw Shea butter is rich in stearic, oleic acids, loaded with vitamin E & vitamin A. High amounts of saturated fatty acids (like MCT oil) can be found and is extracted using cold pressed methods without the need to add chemicals or preservatives. It’s also very smooth in texture and doesn’t melt down to a liquid in room temperature, but when massaged into the body it will soften the skin and is easy to apply. Shea butter is currently used in 1,950 cosmetic products around the world, where 1,680 of those products are used in leave-on applications.
Some benefits of shea nut butter:
- Base ingredient for organic, natural skincare
- Anti-ageing properties, reduce wrinkles, softens skin
- Moisturises scalp, reduces dandruff and protects hair from sun
- Relieves windburn, sunburn, dry skin and skin conditions
- Reduces stretch marks, scarring and cellulite
- Prevents nappy rash with its antifungal & anti-inflammatory properties
More Benefits of Shea Nut Butter
“Shea nut butter is also used in some cosmetics where the primary exposure would be skin contact. The nut itself is not eaten in most countries.
Scientific investigations have found that refined shea nut butter does not pose any known or likely allergy risk to consumers, including those with peanut or tree nut allergies.
The US-based Food Allergy Research and Resource Programme (FARRP) conducted a thorough search of the medical literature and stated in August 2016 that that no cases of allergy to shea nut or shea nut butter had ever been reported in the medical literature.
FARRP’s own research indicates that refined shea nut butter does not contain any detectable protein residues. It is the protein in a food that causes allergic reactions. Although another US team found some protein content in shea nut butter, this was minimal. The conclusion would seem to be that any allergy risk from refined shea nut butter is remote, although no one can say the risk is zero. There could be someone, somewhere who will react.”
What to do if someone has a nut reaction.