Recently I’ve been looking for a natural cream or lotion that could be used for sensitive skin, as mine is prone to eczema breakouts. However, I was shocked when I read some of the ingredients in “natural” products!
Before The Flawless Program, I suffered from eczema for over 12 years. After getting rid of my eczema completely after the 30-day program, I am always careful about what I put onto my skin.Eczema (also known as contact dermatitis), is a condition in which the skin becomes red, inflamed or sore after direct contact with a particular substance. In worse cases, the eczema can become infected, leading to oozing sores and weeping crusts.
Contact dermatitis or eczema mainly comes in two types:
irritant or allergic. Irritants are usually in the form of chemicals found in many products such as soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and moisturizers, etc. These irritants are sometimes harder to spot than allergens, because depending on the person, the effect might not always be as instantaneous as an allergy to something would be. Many people with eczema often need lots of moisturizers to fight against the dryness and itchiness, but it’s so important to know what exactly you are putting on to your skin.
I have one rule I follow when it comes to creams and other moisturizers: If there’s more than 10 ingredients, it’s probably not good for you.
On my search for an all-natural lotion and body cream that didn’t contain any eczema irritants, I came across many products advertising themselves as “natural” or “organic”. But wow, I was shocked when I looked at the ingredients! Many creams and lotions out there have so many added chemicals, that many people don’t take the time to really look at. Even brands such as Aveeno, Dove, Garnier, and some other “natural” products, contained so many eczema contact irritants!
Instead of buying into the commercial stuff, I decided to look online and see if there were any better options for contact dermatitis treatment. Thankfully, there was!
Introducing: African Shea Butter!
After doing some research on the benefits of African Shea Butter vs regular Shea Butter I decided to go for the gold! (Literally, it’s yellow) African Shea Butter is actually used for so many things; from lotion, hair cream, conditioner, sunscreen, to reducing stretch marks and large scars. The ingredients are the best part: 100% natural butter! That’s it!
The first time I heard about African Shea Butter was actually through a “celebrity post” where they were talking about the great uses for this butter. Celebrities such as actress Alicia Silverstone and supermodel Andrea Thomas claim to use this butter for their hair and great complexions. Now usually I don’t really buy into the whole “celebrity” endorsement–after all, they advertise for bad products as well–but because African shea butter is an all-natural product, I thought I would give it a try!
The real quality stuff is produced from Ghana. This butter is only found in the tropics of Africa, where they extract it from the nuts of the Shea-Karite tree. This particular tree begins to bear fruit only after 15 years; and can take up to about 30 years to bear a quality crop of nuts with a high content of the essential fatty acids.
African shea butter contains more fatty acids compared to regular shea butter and other vegetable butters, which makes it more superior. It’s rich in this essential fatty acid that is crucial to rejuvenating and moisturizing the skin. This is why it’s important to buy it in it’s pure form, where it hasn’t had a chance to be processed and stripped of it’s vitamins.
What are the benefits?
Because it’s packed with essential vitamins for the skin, African Shea Butter won’t hurt your eczema! In fact, some people actually use it as a treatment for contact dermatitis and other skin irritations.
Here are some ways this miracle butter helps the skin:
-stimulates cellular activity, fighting effects of aging
-repairs rough, damaged skin
-moisturizes dry, flaky skin
-evens skin tone, fading blemishes, stretch marks and wrinkles
-can be used to soothe burns and sunburns
-helps protect agains frost bites and cold weather
-eases muscle fatigue and tension
-can be used for skin allergies such as poison ivy or poison oak
-helps in treatment of contact dermatitis and eczema
-gives relief from insect bites, itchy skin, and rashes
-prevents bumps after shaving
-absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a greasy residue
-helps restores elasticity to skin
The benefits for skin are pretty incredible, considering this is an all natural product! You can also use it to smooth frizzy hair, either as a conditioner in the shower or in a hot shower cap.
How do I know what kind of African Shea Butter to buy?
Currently, there are not that many types of this butter on the market. But you still have to be careful about which type you purchase, especially for contact dermatitis or eczema treatment. The color of African shea butter ranges from a golden yellow (similar to whipped butter) to a grayish yellow, depending on what kind of nuts are used. There are African shea butters that are pure white, but these are highly refined and don’t have as many healing properties intact compared to the raw kind.
Make sure that you are buying 100% all natural raw African shea butter, especially if you will use it for your eczema or contact dermatitis treatment. This is the purest form that you can get and will last you for a long time!
I buy online through Amazon (click to see link). It was cheap, and since a little goes a long way, it lasts me for a very long time!
While there are no medical claims on using African shea butter we can consider some skin facts:
This tree butter contains large amounts of Vitamins A, E, and F. Vitamins A and E especially help maintain the skin to keep it clear and healthy looking. Vitamin F also acts as a skin rejuvenator, soothing dry, rough or chapped skin.
If you are having large breakouts with eczema, African shea butter could really help lessen the itchiness and swelling. It has high anti-inflammatory properties and is high in unsaponifiables (a type of fat that’s good for skin). Compared to avocado oil (a well-known skin conditioner), African shea butter has between 7-12% unsaponsifiables, while avocado oil contains between 2-6%.
Lastly, this butter’s properties easily penetrate the skin without clogging it. Something necessary if you want a skin-soothing lotion for eczema and contact dermatitis treatment.
For me, I’ve been using it for 3 weeks now, and I can say my overall skin complexion has definitely improved! My skin doesn’t get as dry as it used to (even in really cold weather), and I haven’t had any bad breakouts with my eczema.
So how about you? Are you also on the Shea butter wagon? What do you think of this “miracle” butter for eczema? I’d love to hear your thoughts and answer any questions!
PS: Don't know where to start? Sign up to my free series The Clear Skin Plan !
sue heller says
Do you know anything about the shea butter by’shea moisture’? Their conditioner for hair/scalp-is rated 2 on ewg.org, or cosmeticdatabase.com. I’m using aveeno ezcema cream now-rated 2 also on ewg (toxic level-1 or 2-good, 10 the worst.) And I was wondering why I kept breaking out from lotions, soap, laundy detergent, cosmetics, household cleaners, carpet cleaners, etc til I found their website. Even baby lotions, eczema creams/lotions are toxic. I was also using paul mitchell’s shampoo-tea tree,etc-rated 6 on ewg. Aveda is around 5-7 I think. So, am trying to get everything down to levels 1 or 2 (toxic wise) by next year. Thanks for your site, program-still have to do it, but this time, since you explained it in depth, I think I’ll finish it–oh, and the alternatives: chocolate, coffee–I really like. sue
I’m not familiar with their product, but you’re right about the toxicity levels of some products claiming to be “natural”! A lot of the products I was using before (including make up and sun screen), I found out also had high toxicity levels. Nowadays I always check the ingredients before buying a product. Thanks for commenting and sharing the site, I’ll check it out!
Enjoy the program and hope to hear from you soon! 🙂
First off all shea butter comes from Africa. Secondly the white and yellow shea butter comes from the same plant. The only difference is that the white is refined more than the yellow and some of the fats are removed. Shea Moisture is a natural product that’s made here in NY by a friend of mine… a Liberian by the name if Richleu. He makes it in a factory in Amityville and it’s def a natural product.
Yes, the article mentions that “the color of African shea butter ranges from a golden yellow (similar to whipped butter) to a grayish yellow, depending on what kind of nuts are used”…and that “there are African shea butters that are pure white, but these are highly refined.”
Thank you for this Christina.
I am starting to use Shea Butter, pure, brought by my niece who lives in Camaroon. Question – my eyelids are my worst trouble spot. What is best to use on them.
I use a
Light layer on my eyelids at least twice a day. My eyelids completely healed but I have continued with it to prevent eczema from returning there.
Alexis Gilchrist says
I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter ever since she was 3 months she would have dermatitis flares on her face. As she got older 12 months present (almost 3 years old now), the dermititis flare ups are now manifesting on the creases of her limb extremities ( hands neck and legs, also lower back. )
In Reaction to this, we have been through countless advertised natural products. Her skin drinks them all like water or just causes plain allergic reactions.
In conclusion to this, advertised products tend to work in the beginning…. but because of the high water/alcohol/chemical content the results tend to either remain stagnant or decline.
Finally , it was recommended by a family friend to try shea butter. I took to the idea well. Have to say it works quite welll. I wouldnt trade it for any thing. My daughter is 2 years old in in between seasons she gets really dry calloused sandpaper like patches in the creases of her skin and the surrounding skin is lightly abraised with dry sand like skin. The shea butter sticks and its properties really helps my daughters body breakdown the dry and calloused skin. The triamclisone steroid helps breakdown the callouses but it doesnt rejuvenate the loss moisture she needs. Sometimes causing bleach like patches on skin. The she butter really helps us complete that missing piece we need. The shea butter gives back what medication takes away. Also Neem oil is a great antiseptic for eczema ( All natural evergreen tree. )
Thanks for the tips, Alexis! African shea butter is also my go-to whenever I get dry skin, good to know it works for your daughter too!
I had a case of poison ivy i was treating with a tea made with sweet fern.
It always works great. However, I recently bought a soap with Shea butter and realized immediately how it stopped the itching, then how my rash just vanished after
several more Shea applications. I Googled and found this site, now going for
the pure form of the butter. Thanks for the article.
jojo chogi says
I like the details about the colour of pure shea butter.in my country we get mostly in ivory colour and its labelled organic.is
This good too.they say that it depends on where it comes from
Zahara Jaffar says
Is this suitable for 2-1/2 yr old toddler. My grand daughter has eczema and the skin itch frequently. Do you know if this is available in Singapore . Look forward to receiving your reply
Hi Zahara, yes it can definitely help! Not sure if it’s available in Singapore, perhaps you can look online?
Lydia Viokolo says
i can relate to Alexis story, my daughter is now 30 months and ever since she was 3 months she started having a red rash all over her neck, we have tried MANY MANY things. my sister told me about Shea Butter and insist that I use it on her niece. I have just bought it today and looking forward to using it. she warned me about the smell lol. looking forward to good news in a few weeks
How do you use it? Should I apply it like a lotion and how often? I have severe eczema for almost 2 months now. I resigned in my work because of this. And i’ve already tried a lot of things. I ordered shea butter online. Hope it works on me.
Hye. My 4month old son having eczema on the face. Can shea butter can use on my som face?
Yes, I think you could try.
Hello, my 6 yr old has eczema but is allergic to tree nuts. Is this safe to use?
I’d test it on a small portion of skin first.
Yes Shea butter is safe for children of all ages, unless of course he/she has specific individual allergies. My daughter had eczema since she was born. It caused her to have blotches all over. I used and still use African Shea Butter and she is 10 years old. Her skin healed very nicely. Poor sleep and bad diet can aggravate the eczema. I love it.
Have you heard anything about L’occitane pure Shea butter? Hats what I’m currently using, but I’m pretty sure it’s refined. Do you have better suggestions? Do you think this will work fine?
I get the best results with the African Shea Butter, if you can get it it’s worth the try! 🙂