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Shea Butter As Skin, Scalp and Hair Moisturiser in Nigerians

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Shea butter as skin, scalp, and hair moisturizer in Nigerians
Dear Editor,
Various plant and seed extracts are utilized for skin care, cosmesis,
and alternative skin therapy. One of the most used in Nigeria and
many other countries in Sub-Saharan African is shea butter, a thick
yellowish butter produced from the nuts of the Shea tree (Vitellaria
paradoxa). Shea butter is a well-known multipurpose skin care item in
many African countries, and it is believed to have several skin mainte-
nance and healing properties. The taxonomic and physicochemical
properties of shea butter are documented in Table 1.
Shea butter has been shown to have both emollient and occlusive
properties which enables it to trap moisture in the epidermal layers of
the skin.
Shea butter was found superior to mineral oil in preventing
trans-epidermal water Loss (TEWL).
Shea butter was recommended
for repairing dry inflamed skin caused by dermatitis and as a nighttime
TABLE 1 Shea butter: taxonomic and physicochemical properties
Taxonomy of the African Shea Tree
Family; Genus Sapotaceae;Vitellaria.
Species Vitellaria paradoxa.
Subspecies V. paradoxa paradoxa and V. paradoxa
Former name/
Butyrospermum parkii;B. paradoxum.
Regions found Semi and sub-humid savannas of sub-
saharan Africa.
Main producing
Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria.
Local Names for
Shea butter
Karite (Senegal: Wolof), Ori (Nigeria: Yoruba),
Okwuma (Nigeria: Igbo), Kadanya (Nigeria:
Hausa), Nkuto (Ghana: Twi).
Biochemical composition
Fatty acids and
Oleic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, and
palmitic acid.
Garlic acid, catechin, epicatchin, gallate,
gallocatechin, quercetin, and trans-
cinnamic acid.
Tocopherols α,β,y,δtocopherol
Sterols α-spinasterol and Δ7-stigmasterol,
campesterol, and β-sitosterol.
Triterpenes Acetyl triterpenes and cinnamyl triterpenes
αand βamyrine, butyrospermol, and lupeol.
Physicochemical properties
Acid value;
3.825; 196.90
Refractive index 1.461
Total fat; moisture
75.3%; 1.37%
Melting point 36.57C
Density 0.927 g/ml
Iodine number;
peroxide value
43.27; 12.85
TABLE 2 Demographic details of survey participants
Frequency (%) N-382
general public
Frequency (%) N-288
health professionals
Age range (years)
10-19 7 (1.8) 0 (0.0)
20-29 98 (25.7) 44 (19.3)
30-39 144 (37.7) 113 (49.6)
40-49 87 (22.8) 41 (18.0)
50-59 39 (10.2) 24 (10.5)
60 and above 7 (1.8) 6 (2.6)
Highest educational level
Secondary 11 (2.9) 0 (0.0)
Tertiary 207 (54.2) 75(26.1)
Postgraduate 162 (42.4) 213 (73.9)
2 (0.5) 0 (0.0)
Years of practice (health professionals)
1 year and
14 (6.1)
2-5 years 51 (22.4)
6-10 years 44 (19.3)
Over 10 years 119 (52.2)
Type of practice
Public 120 (52.6)
Private 28 (12.3)
Both public and
80 (35.1)
Medical specialty
Dermatologist 22 (9.6)
Other medical
187 (82)
and nurses
19 (8.3)
Received: 30 September 2020 Revised: 4 January 2021 Accepted: 2 February 2021
DOI: 10.1111/dth.14863
Dermatologic Therapy. 2021;34:e14863. © 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC. 1of3
... The anti-inflammatory properties of shea butter are attributed to the several derivatives of cinnamic acid contained therein [18]. Shea butter also contains vitamins A and E and has semi-solid characteristics and buttery consistency, which makes it an effective emollient and moisturizer for the skin [19]. Thus, shea butter could be an excellent alternative to classic emollients, which are often inaccessible to the majority of patients. ...
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The industrialization of oil seeds is fast becoming an important agro-industrial activity worldwide. This study presents the results of extraction, refining and characterization of both crude and refined Nigerian shea butter oil. The results of characterization of crude and refined oil shows specific gravity of 0.86 and 0.89, moisture content of 2.29 % and 0.12 %, saponification value of 389.89 mg KOH/g and 162.61 mg KOH/g, while the acid value of 8.42 mg KOH/g and 3.36 mg KOH/g, peroxide value of 15 meq/kg and 9.40 meq/kg, and refractive index of 1.472 and 1.467 respectively with it colour observed as milky-cream which are within the required standard specification. The grading of the oil based on the west African standard classified the crude and refined shea butter oils as 3 rd and 2 nd grade respectively, thus establishing their potential for the needs of food industry for manufacturing confectionary, chocolate, edible oil, and a basis for margarines. The shea butter of 3 rd grade is recommended to be used in soap-making or further refined for direct consumption. Introduction In Nigeria, there are abundant vegetable oils, namely; palm oil, coconut oil, groundnut oil, rubber seed oil, cotton seed oil, olive oil, soya bean oil and conophor seed oil, e.t.c (Dawodu, 2009). Vegetable oils are normally extracted from fruits, seeds kernel and nuts either by mechanical press or by solvents (Akpabio et. al., 2011).
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