While in Jos, I went for my daily walk with my friend and longterm mate, Abdul.
We are constantly ribbing each other but I would trust him with my life. Even the way he came to get me, I swear, if it had been any other person, they would get a slap. But its Abdul, he came and got me out of bed and cos I had missed (by this time) like a week’s worth of walks, I was chomping at the bit to go.
I knew he needed the exercise and my Nike Run app droned on and on about how slow we were walking and how below par we were performing. So, I tried to get him to do better (he’s lazier than me and more out of shape). You know, speed up.
Problem is, was, I was wearing a pair of pants that were not happy about my voluptuous thighs touching and they split to allow the extra flesh room, but the rubbing continued. Which is how, by the time the 3km+ we walked were done, my thighs were on fire.
I rushed to the room and took off the offensive pants and wow! Angry red was the colour and boy! Did it sting?!
Luckily, I had brought a small tub of shea butter with me for creaming my body. I remembered Jos weather and my hatred for the Vaseline that attracted dust (which was available in abundance) at every movement but which was really the only salve that protected the skin from the harshness of the weather, so I had brought my shea butter along.
My skin has been lucky. It feeds on mostly natural stuff.
Since I had my first child in 2002 and had after several warnings about the unsuitability of Johnsons baby products for Nigerian babies skins and my dowey eyed hypnotic stance upon entering a shop and seeing and liking the entire range and buying and using it on her which caused her to break out in angry red rashes all over, I had cried to my mum who promptly advised me to switch to coconut oil. I have since only used that for my skin. And luckily, my dad’s farm is still located near enough to Badagry that I can always get the purest form of it which I usually buy a 5litre keg of at a time which means my skin and that of the girls thank me glowingly.
But I digress.
I had my tub of shea butter and not just any. The special kind.
I have 2 giant tubs of shea butter that has been finely blended and smoothed and scented and essences added cos I am a very sensual and smell-loving person. I watched my friend do the mix, one tub for hair and another for my skin. These two tubs are huge and I don’t take them out of my bedroom. I also have two small tubs of shea butter, and of these two, I had one. These two were created for me by the same friend and are special. One has chocolate essences and the other is a banana flavoured tub and they are both beyond compare. I use either when I feel the skin feels dry and needs some pampering. I was describing the banana one I brought along to Jos to a classmate and he exclaimed, ‘no wonder you always smell edible’! Yup! It is that good.
Anyway, my droning about the shea butter is in relation to the very bad red, angry wound I was now nursing between my things, a very painful spot just a few centimeters from the seat of power.
The poor wound was not helped by me donning a pair of jeans the following day and spending extended periods walking up and down to find an airline to fly me home from Abuja and the ensuing 7hour wait at the airport before throwing in the towel to try the following day. By the third day, it had become a huge sore with attendant pain. During all this time, I tried to put a coating of the shea butter on it which were the only times I was pain-free.
By the time I returned home, I was ready to cut out a portion of my thighs to obtain relief and I was now severely worried about infection. I got my antibiotic cream and tried to use it in between the shea butter application but no, those times I applied the antibiotic cream, the pain returned and it appeared only the shea butter gave me any relief.
So after a while, I ditched the antibiotic cream and used the shea butter alone and to my surprise, the healing sped up. I marveled at how much more effective the wound healed.
Before my very eyes, I watched the neovascularization I had talked about when I was studying wound healing during the work I did with my Masters’ thesis and the regranulation of my skin occur in quick succession. The itching that accompanied the healing alerted me that the tiny cells which carried histamine were rushing there and dumping their contents and angry red changed to bright pink and then white spots and then, black (melanin) returned and in under a week, my skin was healed.
I wish I had photos to share but like I said the wound was way too close to the seat of power and there is NO WAY I was taking or sharing any photos from there. It just got me thinking about the wound healing properties of shea butter and how it needs to be looked at again with respect to what it can do for surgical wounds (Researcher mode activated)🙋.
And of course I thought of how blessed I am to have the friend who blends and prepares my shea butter mixes. For her, it is a business born of love and I have watched her work at it with incredulity at how much she lovingly mixes and mixes till it is just right. I daresay the love in each tub adds to the power of the shea butter to heal, soothe and caress the skin. Whatever it is, I am won over (again and again) by the shea brilliance of shea butter.
Thanks Ajoxy baby!