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Your skin is your body’s biggest organ, and it pays to take care of it. Not only is your skin one of the first things people will notice about you, but it also acts as a barrier between the rest of your body and the nasty chemicals and pollutants in the world around you.

There’s just one problem. Skin isn’t a great barrier. In fact, your body is highly permeable and often allows chemicals to travel through into the blood stream, especially if they’ve been rubbed onto the skin. That’s the reason why essential oils are so effective for aromatherapy and why nicotine patches work to curb your craving for a cigarette.

The truth is any substance you slather on your skin may find its way into your bloodstream. If you don’t think that’s a problem, read the side of your newest lotion or cosmetic item; odds are good that there’s a warning not to consume the contents. If you shouldn’t put it in your mouth, why on earth would you put it on your skin?

Thankfully, there are alternatives. Plenty of natural products are formulated to make your skin glow on the outside while keeping you healthy on the inside. Among body-friendly lotion alternatives, few things are as effective as natural butters. Once you learn the truth about the whole-body benefits of natural butters, you’ll keep some on hand for every occasion.
three small bottles of natural oils and large bottle to the left

What are natural body butters?

“Body butters” is a general term used to describe dozens of nutrient dense creams that hydrate your skin. Body butters are one of the absolute best ways to nourish your skin, and all it takes is the effort to rub the oil into your skin.

Skin-safe body butters are made from a wide variety of natural sources found around the world, including the fruit, beans, seeds and leaves. The cold pressed oil that is extracted from the material is then hydrogenated and combined with fatty acids and other forms of oil to give it a thick consistency.

Most body butters melt from the heat of your skin and are quickly absorbed into it. This creates an incredibly moisturizing additive for your skin that contains plenty of other body benefits like antioxidants, nutrients, and even SPF protection.

What benefits do they provide for your skin?

The benefit that you get from body butter depends on the type and quality you use, but below are some of the common advantages that all types of body butter will give your skin.

  • Moisture: Daily living takes a beating on the moisture content of your skin, so slathering on some body butter every day will keep you moisturized. Unlike commercial lotions that contain parabens (a preservative linked to types of female cancer), body butters rely on their natural emollients to keep you soft. The hydrating oils within natural butters will keep your skin moisturized far longer than any regular lotion.
  • Protection: Because they help your skin lock in moisture, body butters easily form a protective layer around your skin that keeps you safe from harmful contaminants and environmental damage. Once you give your skin a coating of body butter, you’ll be safe from the harm of dry air, cold and wind on your skin.
  • Reduce wrinkles: If you allow your skin to dry out it’s going to start looking old and faded. Protect your skin against the marks of time by keeping it moisturized through body butters. Many types are shown to be effective treating fine lines, stretch marks and wrinkles, and the antioxidant properties in many butters help keep chronic inflammation down that can lead to flair ups.
  • Healthier skin: Do you suffer from skin allergies? Constant insect bites? Itchy skin rashes, sunburn or even eczema? A regular coating of body butter can ease these problems away.
  • Skin nourishing vitamins: Almost all body butters are filled with healthy fats that help your body both inside and out. Most contain omega 3s, a highly moisturizing fat that works to calm down inflammation before it becomes a problem. Also, because most body butters contain beneficial antioxidants like vitamin C, E, and A, your skin will be equipped to handle any challenge.
  • Softer skin: You’ll notice the difference in your skin immediately once you start using body butters. The rich creamy moisture they add eliminates any sign of dry, chapped skin and leaves you feeling smooth and renewed.
  • Affordable: Best of all, body butters are cheap to use. In almost every situation, natural butters cost far less than high-end creams from fancy companies. Because most body butters are food grade, you can buy them in large sizes that will last you forever, meaning you’ll spend less but get better quality.

Different body butters have different properties and are best suited to specific skin types. No matter what skin issue you want to clear up, there is sure to be a body butter that can do it.
two jars of healthy body butter beside green leaves

Types of body butters

The variety of body butters you can use is only limited by your creativity, but below is information about the most common types used today.

  • Almond butter: Made from sweet almond oil, almond butter is a thick, rich butter that is especially effective for hydrating dry skin and a flaky scalp.
  • Apricot kernel butter: A light, nutty form of butter, apricot butter is a good all-around moisturizer, though it can be too much for naturally oily skin to handle.
  • Avocado butter: Made from the oil in the seed and flesh of avocado fruits, this exotic butter has a mild scent and is perfect for adding moisture back into your hair and as a lip balm. Some people also use it as a natural makeup remover.
  • Cocoa butter: As one of the most stable fats on the planet, cocoa butter is full of natural antioxidants and lasts for years without going bad. Users love the silky smooth texture and light fragrance in this butter, which is why it’s commonly used for commercial soaps and lotions. In fact, cocoa butter has been used by pregnant women to minimize stretch marks for centuries. Cocoa butter contains plenty of vitamin E, which helps to keep your skin smooth and wrinkle free. Oily-skinned people beware; cocoa butter might be too much for your skin to handle.
  • Coconut cream: Practically a liquid at room temperature, coconut cream is as beneficial for your body as it is delicious in your curry. The yummy tropical smell might tempt you to lick it right off, but if you can keep it in place coconut cream is great for treating acne spots.
  • Cupuacu butter: Imported from Brazil from the cupuacu fruit, cupuacu butter is a smart choice for restoring moisture to your skin and hair. Lots of people find that it’s the perfect additive for their natural hair conditioner, though be careful to use it sparingly on your skin if you are naturally oily.
  • Jojoba butter: Jojoba oil isn’t one to mess around. This intensive moisturizer boost is perfect for treating skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Best of all, it can be used effectively on all skin types, especially oily.
  • Mango butter: Coming from the kernels of the mango tree, the texture of mango butter is similar to cocoa, though the higher levels of fatty acids make it an even better moisturizer. Your skin will be softened, soothed and moisturized after just a few applications.
  • Shea butter: As one of the most common body butters used today, shea butter truly lives up to the hype. The unique fatty acid composition it contains makes it a smart choice for a wide range of uses, including skin care, massage creams, dry rash care and even sun protection. Just about every skin type can benefit from a regular infusion of shea butter.

Ways to make your own body butter

Every form of body butter has its benefits, but what if you want the best of everything? Making your own uniquely formatted body butter is simple and allows you to personalize the recipe to fit your needs. Below is an example of a nourishing body butter recipe that combines three kinds of butters together to get you maximum skin hydration.

Gather 1 cup of shea butter and a 1/2 (half) cup of both coconut oil and almond oil. Melt the shea and coconut oil together and let it sit away from heat for thirty minutes. Stir in the almond oil and 20-25 drops of your favorite essential oil. Let the mixture start to solidify and then whip it into a butter-like consistency and store in an air tight container. If you keep your butter in a cool, dry place, it should last for up to a year or two.

Simple tips for using body butter

In many ways, using body butters couldn’t be more intuitive. However, there are plenty of tips and tricks that are good to know about how to get the best benefits out of your butter. Below are some top suggestions for success.

  • Be careful what kind of butter you purchase. Look for labels that say things like “unrefined”, “crude” and “cold pressed”, as these mean that the oil was extracted through natural methods and didn’t rely on high heat that might have destroyed the butter’s nutrients.
  • Remember, body butters are concentrated, so a little goes a long way! Before applying to your skin, warm the butter between your hands and carefully rub it in. Wait a few minutes for the oil to absorb in before seeing if you need to reapply.
  • When stored in airtight, dark, moisture-free containers, most body butters can last a year or more. No synthetic chemicals are needed as preservatives because body butters aren’t made with water.

In summary

Natural skin care is an easy and effective way to keep your body’s biggest organ in top shape. By adding a homemade body butter to your skin care routine, you will help keep your skin hydrated, healthy and youthful looking, all for less money than it costs to buy big brand lotion products.

The choice is easy; take care of your skin the natural way by treating it with natural body butters.

About Author

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Lydia Noyes is an Appalachian homesteader and writer that lives on a land trust deep in the mountains of West Virginia.