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Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter); Butyrospermum Parkii
(in 18,419 products)

Potential Risk Index®:

ISCE InhaleISCE SwallowISCE ContactISCE Environment
PRI Legend


1. Drug / Medicine - Treats, alleviates, cures, or prevents sickness. As officially declared by a governmental drug/medicine regulatory body
2. Emollient - Softens and soothes the skin. Helps with skin conditioning.
3. Lubricant - Prevents or reduces friction
Butyrospermum parkii, commonly known as shea tree, shi tree or vitellaria, is a tree of the family Sapotaceae.
Shea butter is a fat extracted from the nut of the shea tree. It is ivory in color when raw and becoming white with more processing methods, although it is commonly dyed yellow with borututu root or palm oil. Shea butter has many uses and may or may not be refined. In the West it is most commonly used as an emollient in cosmetics such as bath products, cleansing products, eye makeup, lotions and creams, suntan products, lipstick and hair care products. It is less commonly used in food. In Africa, however, it is used extensively for food, as a major source of dietary fat, and for medicinal purposes.
Shea butter is also used by soap makers and massage oil manufacturers with small amounts, because it has plenty of unsaponifiables, and higher amounts result in a softer soap that has less cleaning ability. It is an excellent emollient for dry skin. It is sometimes used as a base for medicinal ointments as it may have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, emollient, and humectant properties.
Fun Facts:
- Shea butter is composed of five principal fatty acids: palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, and arachidic. About 85 to 90% of the fatty acid composition is stearic and oleic acids. The relative proportion of these two fatty acids affects shea butter consistency. The stearic acid gives it a solid consistency, while the oleic acid influences how soft or hard the shea butter is, depending on ambient temperature.
- It is relatively high cost to use in soap making commercially compared to oils such as palm oil and olive oil, therefore, smaller amounts is always used.
Regulatory References:
1. US FDA Food Additives Status List [2018]
- Substances Added to Food (formerly EAFUS)

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