Body butter can be a very inexpensive way to pamper yourself, diminish the signs of body wrinkles, and get your skin feeling sensual, soft and smooth.
But if you walk down the health and beauty aisles in just about any retail store you’ll be faced with tub after tub of body butter.
With ingredients ranging from the common to the unpronounceable, and textures, aromas, and packaging forming a dizzying variety of products, it’s tough to know what you’re looking for in a body butter. Here are a few things to consider…
What Is Body Butter?
Body butter is a thick paste, cream, or lotion intended to be applied directly to the skin of various body parts for moisturization, cosmetic use, and healing. What differentiates body butter from a simple body lotion? In many cases – not very much. Modern synthetic body butters are essentially the very same combinations of ingredients as any hand or body lotion, formulated to be thicker and less fluid – like butter.
The body butter craze, though, was likely started as the modern world gained exposure to the ways that Ghanaians and western African peoples use Shea butter – a natural fat from the nut of the Shea tree – to moisturize the skin, treat skin conditions, and treat minor wounds. In keeping with this natural nut butter, most body butters contain a natural fat as a moisturizer and are thicker than lotions.
What Does Body Butter Do?
A good body butter will protect and moisturize – and they’re good at that. A light application of a body butter creates a thin barrier between your skin and the elements, keeping your skin from drying out and getting pummeled by wind and rain. They higher the fat content, the more pronounced this protective action, and the greasier the butter will feel.
Some people feel that natural body butters serve to protect minor wounds from infection. Historically, people have treated minor, and even major wounds, with natural barriers to infection, two examples of which are honey and lard. Both substances are naturally inhospitable to bacteria, making them relatively effective barriers during healing. Natural body butters – such as Shea and Cocoa butters, are mostly fat, and should provide the same primitive protection from bacterial infection. Neosporin will still work better than body butter though to prevent infections.
Finally, many claim that high-quality body butter helps to treat conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Most body butters naturally contain a number of essential fatty acids and vitamins, and both nourish and moisturize the skin. Healthier skin is more prepared to fight off these chronic conditions, and less prone to outbreaks.
Does Body Butter Reduce Wrinkles?
The rich emollients in a good body butter add moisture to the skin which diminishes the signs of wrinkles. Many body butters contain nourishing ingredients which help repair the skin and give a smoother appearance.
What Ingredients Should I Look For?
There are so many formulations sold as body butters. The true benefit of body butters, is in the natural nut fats common to the best products. Good body butter will go on thick – almost chunky – but will quickly absorb the warmth of your skin and turn into a silky, luxurious cream. Look for high amounts of Shea, Cocoa, Avocado, Mango, or even Almond butter, though there are body butters with even more exotic and rare fat sources – the Hawaiian Kukui nut springs to mind as an unusual (but not too hard to find) example, as does body butter made from the oil of natural olive pits. It is a good idea to try a few different one to see which feel right with your skin.
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