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One of the BEST completely natural remedies for scar removal is Shea butter. This is a very old remedy, and one that has been used for centuries.
Shea butter is also awesome for acne scarring and has a very softening effect on skin without causing sensitization.
Also, Shea butter contains all of the skin vitamins and nutrients that skin needs to stay firm and healthy.
This article will discuss how Shea butter can help heal and prevent the formation of scars and also scar removal methods.
How Are Scars Formed?
Scars are formed when the body is repairing damaged tissue. The repair process is called wound healing, and it involves the 3 phases of inflammatory, proliferative and remodeling.
A scar is an area of fibrous tissue that replaces normal skin after an injury. Scars result from the biological process of wound repair in the skin, as well as in other organs and tissues of the body. Thus, scarring is a natural part of the healing process.Wikipedia
When our dermis (thick deep layer of the skin) gets damaged new collagen fibers are formed in order to heal the damage. This process is known as the proliferative phase and it produces the scar.
If the injury is light and not deep, there will be minimum scar formation. However, if the injury is severe and deep, such as a burn or cut, the body will form a scar to help protect the wounded area.
An interesting fact on scar tissue its fiber composition:
Scar tissue is composed of the same protein (collagen) as the tissue that it replaces, but the fiber composition of the protein is different; instead of a random basketweave formation of the collagen fibers found in normal tissue, in fibrosis the collagen cross-links and forms a pronounced alignment in a single direction. This collagen scar tissue alignment is usually of inferior functional quality to the normal collagen randomised alignment. For example, scars in the skin are less resistant to ultraviolet radiation, and sweat glands and hair follicles do not grow back within scar tissues.Wikipedia
The idea is to minimise the formation of scars. The research shows that scarring is likely to happen when our body is under attack. Such as acne, burns, insect bites, surgery…etc. With the appropriate measures, scarring can be minimised or even prevented.
How to Decrease Occurrence of Scar formation?
- Gently exfoliate and scrape off any dead skin cells that could clog the pores and inhibit the development of new collagen. This is very important during the early stages of healing.
- Consume a diet rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C, A, E and flavonoids.
- Take anti-oxidants in the form of supplements.
- Apply emollients on the skin for softening effect (i.e. Shea butter)
- Minimise sun exposure or use sunscreens that have high SPF. Apply the sunscreen for at least 2 years (I am always checking out natural sunscreens)
How To Heal A Scar?
As you can see prevention is the best treatment, but if you have a scar that is causing you distress you
The best way to heal a scar is by preventing the scar from forming in the first place. But if you have a scar that is causing you distress, you can follow these suggestions:
NEWLY FORMED SCARS
- Gently exfoliate and scrape off any dead skin cells that could clog the pores and inhibit the development of new collagen. Do this at least twice a week.
- Apply emollients on the skin for softening effect (i.e. Shea butter)
- Pat the scar with a soft damp cloth to promote blood circulation and provide cooled, moist environments for free movement of new collagen fibers.
- Massage the scar to promote collagen production and prevent sagging
OLD AND DENSE SCARS
- Apply Shea butter on the scar twice a day for at least three months. This is very important. If you can’t find Shea butter, any pure organic butter or oils will do.
- If the scar is extremely dry, apply the Shea butter 4 or 5 times a day for at least three months.
- Take anti-oxidants in the form of supplements.
- Massage the scar often to promote collagen production and prevent sagging.
Some Precautions to Avoid Scarring
- Do not pick or scratch your skin. This will only make the skin more susceptible to scarring.
- Do not wax, pluck or thread (tweezing) your hair if you have open wounds on your skin.
- Do not use harsh or abrasive exfoliators that will irritate the skin and trigger inflammation.
- Avoid rubbing alcohol or and any other strong chemicals on your skin when there is an open wound.
- You need to be extra careful in this last case. Avoid using any type of abrasive pads, especially for facial scars.
- If you have a scar that is causing you distress, it is best seek professional help to reduce the scarring.
About Shea Butter
Shea butter is made from the nut of the African shea tree, Vitellaria paradoxa. This tree grows in West Africa, particularly Ghana. This natural wonder butter is used for cooking, cosmetics and also medicinally.
Shea butter is a fantastic, natural moisturizer that offers one of the best remedies for our skin and is particularly moisturising when it comes to dry skin. It can help with scar prevention because of its anti-inflammatory and healing components as well as providing a protective layer to the skin and soothing the tissue. It can also help with existing scars by stimulating collagen production and providing a protective barrier against bacteria, dirt and insects.
Unique Properties of Shea Butter
Here’s important information on the properties:
The saponifiable fraction of Shea butter is composed primarily of stearic and oleic acids […] while the unsaponifiable fraction of Shea butter is composed of bioactive substances that are responsible for Shea butter’s medicinal properties. Shea butter is […] therefore useful for skin care as it has sun screening properties and acts as an emollient and skin moisturizer. Topical use of Shea butter has also demonstrated anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties.Research Gate
The quote above from Research Gate describes in a nutshell the wonderful healing and nourishing properties of the butter. I’ve written extensively on the benefits of Shea butter but it never goes amiss to name a few on each article I write:
- Shea butter is one of the most widely used butters in many African countries for medicinal purposes.
- It’s also used to treat sunburns, bug bites, and other skin conditions like eczema
- Powerful emollient and moisturizer
- Can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- With nutritional components include oleic, palmitic, stearic and linolenic acids
- Contains Vitamin A: important component that regenerates skin cells, reduces hyperpigmentation and lightens scars and blemishes
- Contains a wide variety of other vitamins and antioxidants to heal skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rashes, scars, stretchmarks, cellulite and more
- Anti-inflammatory: contains highly anti-inflammatory compounds which reduce puffiness, swelling and redness from the skin
- It has antimicrobial properties and fights harmful bacteria that cause acne
- It is is non-comedogenic and does not clog pores (that cause acne and blackheads)
Shea Butter for Scars
When we look at our scars, the chance of them healing and disappearing completely seems impossible. But the chances are very high if we treat the scars properly.
Shea butter is a natural remedy that can help with all types of scars. It is a great skin healer and also helps to reduce the appearance of scars by healing and stimulating collagen production.
Newer scars heal more quickly than older ones do because they produce less scar tissue to begin with. Shea butter is a natural moisturizer that has both skin smoothing properties and healing benefits.
Shea butter can:
- Help minimize the appearance of scars by softening the scarred area around it (for newer scars)
- It can also support the skin’s natural collagen production (for older as well as newer scars)
When we look at our scars, the chance of them healing and disappearing completely seems impossible. But when applied to scars, Shea butter can highly reduce the time needed for them to heal.
What are the Benefits of Using Shea Butter on Acne Scars?
Shea butter is an excellent choice for people wanting to reduce acne scars and redness. The butter helps eliminate keloids, which are a type of scar tissue. It has the ability to soften acne scars, reduce swelling and redness in scar tissue, and can even help with skin rejuvenation.
Shea butter is an effective ingredient to fight acne scarring
- Shea butter is an excellent choice for people dealing with acne, scars and redness
- Shea butter helps reduce keloids, a basic form of scar tissue.
- Shea butter is known to soften acne scars
- Reduces scar tissue swelling
- Shea butter prevents old scar tissue from being noticeable
- The Omega-3 fatty acids hydrate the skin and promote long-term moisturizing.
- Acne tissue can feel like the rest of your skin when using shea butter
How to Use Shea Butter for Acne Scars
Shea butter can be used as a spot treatment for acne scars. It has been shown to reduce the appearance of scarring and increase healing time.
Here’s what you can do:
- Once a day try washing your face with a special shea butter soap bar or black soap, or cleanser/cream/lotion that has been created for this purpose. Here’s an excellent black soap for acne.
- After, apply Shea butter to affected skin for 1 or 2 weeks
- Assess the changes after 2 weeks. Re-apply as necessary until the scar is visibly reduced
- If not, you could ask your dermatologist for additional options
Types of Shea Butter
Here are the 5 grades of Shea butter:
- A (raw or unrefined, extracted using water – has all properties almost intact)
- B (refined – some properties are lost)
- C (highly refined and extracted with solvents such as hexane)]
- D (lowest uncontaminated grade)
- E (with contaminants)
I ONLY buy A or B, depending on the purpose of the Shea butter (sometimes I’m wanting only the texture and I’m not so worried about its properties).
For treating scar formation or old scars, please ONLY buy grade A, which has all the properties intact.
For healing acne and acne scars, I would again ONLY go with the A grade Shea butter as well.
You can use Shea butter alone or enhance it with Vitamin E, Rosehip oil (which is known to help heal general scars as well as acne scars) and Frankincense essential oil, known to reduce scars (here’s my post on how to mix Shea butter with essential oils by the way). Check my recipe below.
Shea Butter Recipe for Scars
- 1 tablespoon raw, grade A shea butter
- 1 tablespoon Rosehip oil
- a few drops of Vitamin E oil
- and 5 drops Frankincense essential oil
How to make:
- Melt the shea butter in a double boiler or a bowl placed on a pot of just boiled water. Just melt it until it becomes soft, then remove from heat.
- Add Rosehip oil and mix well
- Add the Vitamin E oil and mix well
- Add the Frankincense essential oil and mix well
- Transfer to a clean jar
- Allow to cool (if you want it to harden a bit you can place inside the refrigerator)
There you have it! Your Shea butter for scars is ready to use!
Where to Buy Shea Butter
Online: Amazon and eBay carry many varieties of shea butter.
Local: You can purchase shea butter at a local market or your local pharmacy.
Shea butters I recommend: 100% Natural African Shea Butter. You don’t need a big tub for treating scars. A small one will do.
Note: Shea butter does not harm skin, it is suitable for nearly all skin types and therefore considered safe to use as a skin care ingredient. Studies show there is no evidence that shea butter clogs pores or leads to breakouts.
Living With Scars
Scars are a reminder of the past. Whether caused by an accident or an illness, a scar is a mark which most of us come to live with. In fact, scars are common and affect most people at some point in their lives.
I understand if people want to get rid of or minimise their scars using Shea butter or similar items. But it won’t harm you to look deep within and see the lessons you have learned from that scar. You could be thankful for that scar or try to learn something from the scar.
- True self-acceptance is being able to look at your scars and say, “Hey, there’s a lesson here. I’m going to accept myself despite this apparent imperfection. I’m going to embrace it.”
- Honouring your scars is a form of self-care. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of the scar, you learn to focus on the lesson behind your scar, as well as how to live with it as a part of who you are.
Each individual is different and has a different reaction and experience with their scars. How we treat our scars is up to us, but if you decide to get rid of them don’t do so because you feel ashamed of yourself.
Leave me your comments below please.