Karite butter (Butyrospermum parkii Shea Butter) is extracted from the nut of the African Shea Tree (Vitellaria paradoxa). In some African countries, it is used for food preparation, too.
Shea butter is an excellent emollient for dry skin. It does not have therapeutic effect, but relieves the itching and “stretching” skin.
It’s ingredients are extremely compatible to the skin and it does not cause any irritation to the endocrine glands of the body.
Cosmetics industry uses it widely, as a moisturizing agent in various skin and hair care products (lip gloss, lip stick, skin moisturizing creams and emulsions and hair conditioners for dry and brittle hair).
It is also very nice for soap making, usually in a percentage of 25%, because it contains many non-soapable lipids. More percentage amound creates softer soaps with less cleaning ability (soaping number 165-190). However, industrial rarely uses it in soaps, due to its high cost, compared to palm oil or kernel oils cost.
Karite butter is ideal for hydrating and firming dry and dehydrated skin on the face and body. Its nourishing properties and its high compatibility with the skin make it a very effective product for mature, dry, tired, damaged skin and for dehydrated hair.
1. European Union. Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on Cosmetic Products. 2009. Internet site accessed September 13, 2013. http://eurlex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:342:0059:0209:en:PDF
2. Council of Experts, United States Pharmacopeial Convention. Food Chemicals Codex. 8th ed. Rockville, MD: United States Pharmacopeia (USP), 2012.
3. Nikitakis J and Breslawec H. International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook. 15th ed. Washington, DC: Personal Care Products Council, 2014
4. Burnett CL, Fiume MM, Bergfeld WF, Belsito DV, Hill RA, Klaassen CD, Liebler DC, Marks JG, Shank RC, Slaga TJ, Snyder PW, and Andersen FA. Final Report on Plant-Derived Fatty Acid Oils as Used in Cosmetics. Cosmetic Ingredient Review. 2011.
5. Mital HC. Shea butter: cosmetic/drug applications. Drug Cosmet Ind. 1977;120:30-32.
Composition of Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter in fatty acids:
Myristic acid (C14) 0.5 %
Palmitic acid (C16) 26-9%
Stearic acid (C18) 26.5-50.2%
Oleic acid (C18:1) 37.1-62.1 %
Linoleic acid (C18:2) 0.6-10.8 %
Linolenic acid (C18:3) 0.5 % max
Arachidic acid (C20) 0-3.5%
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