Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — created by Hana Ames ~ above April 21, 2021

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Shea butter is a herbal vegetable fat that originates from processing nuts from the shea tree. In enhancement to being perfect for cooking, it may be useful for the hair and also skin.

According to the Centre because that the promotion of Imports, some of the main applications of shea butter are:

hair treatment productsanti-aging and anti-wrinkle creamsmoisturizing creams for the body and faceaftersun productshair treatments for a dried scalp

This is as result of its moisturizing and also anti-inflammtory properties.

In this article, we look at how shea butter can advantage the hair and also skin.

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A person can purchase a range of moisturizing assets that save on computer shea butter.

Alternatively, a human can apply raw, unrefined shea butter straight to the skin till it is fully absorbed.

A person deserve to also:

use it together a replacement for shaving creamapply it to the lipsapply it come the nail cuticles


According to a 2018 article, shea butter includes components that have anti-inflammatory and also antioxidant properties, such together triterpenes.

These room a group of compounds that may help with:

cell migrationcell proliferation, which is the process in which cells grow and divide

There is some evidence to indicate that shea butter might be effective against wrinkles.

Dry skin

Shea butter is emollient. Together an emollient, shea butter helps trap moisture in the skin.

The American Academy that Dermatology association (AAD) argues using commodities such together shea butter within a couple of minutes of drying off.

Shea butter likewise contains linoleic acid.

According to 2018 research, assets containing linoleic acid had anti-inflammatory results on the skin and also hydration an enhancing properties.


Shea butter has bioactive ingredients that offer it anti-inflammatory properties.

A small 2015 study consisting that 25 people with mild-to-moderate eczema uncovered that shea butter may aid alleviate the signs and also symptoms the eczema.


Shea butter may have actually an capability to soften scar tissue.

A keloid is a form of raised and also enlarged area that scarring. Over there is proof to suggest that using shea butter may help prevent the formation of keloids.

However, the is necessary to note that the researchers provided lab cultures. As a result, there is not sufficient research to show how reliable shea butter is at avoiding keloid scars.


A 2016 study argues that shea butter oil may have actually antibacterial properties.

However, the AAD says that applying products the contain shea butter to a person’s face, back, or chest may reason clogged pores, which can lead come acne.

People who endure acne-prone skin might want to stop using shea butter, or assets containing shea butter, ~ above the face.

Because the its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties, shea butter may aid reduce dried scalp and scalp irritation.

However, shea oil might be much more beneficial because that hair 보다 shea butter.

A 2017 research of a seeds oil with a comparable bioactive-rich contents to shea butter uncovered that the particle oil made hair much more resistant come breakage.

Additionally, an enlarge 2009 study examined the impacts of oils and butters from plants on hair. It discovered that oil treatment reduced the combing pressure on wet hair. Butters perform not spread as conveniently as oil throughout the hair.

How to usage

People can pick over-the-counter hair care products the contain shea butter.

Alternatively, a person deserve to melt life shea butter and massage it right into the scalp and full size of the hair.

Leave the shea butter on the hair and also then to wash it off in the shower using a soft shampoo.

People with hair that tends to get greasy may want to stop using shea butter or shea oil top top the hair, together this may make it worse.

Shea butter walk not show up to create nut allergies. Follow to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, back the U.S. Food and also Drug management considers the shea nut to be a true nut, allergic reactions are either extremely rare or non-existent.

The American Shea Butter institute (ASBI) notes that unrefined shea butter has latex. Together a result, those through a latex allergy might experience an allergic reaction come shea butter.

People should constantly stop using any kind of products if they endure irritation or inflammation.

According come the CBI, there are two main types of shea butter — West African and also East African.

East african shea butter:

is much more yellow in shade than Western african shea butterhas a lower melting point, so is much more liquid at room temperaturehas a greater concentration that leicacidhas a soft and also creamy texture

Western african shea butter:

has a greater concentration the vitamin Ahas a higher melting point, therefore a denser consistency in ~ room temperaturecontains a reduced concentration of oleic acidis more tough in consistencyhas a greater concentration the sterol

Both species have similar but slightly different uses.

The CBI notes that eastern African shea butter might be more suitable for:

sensitive skinaging skinbruised skinwoundsdry skinpeeling skin

West african shea butter has actually a much higher content of vitamin A and therefore may be much more suitable for usage on:

scarsblemisheswrinklesstretch marks

Unrefined shea butter way that it has been extracted and also prepared without using any kind of chemicals or preservatives.

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Refined shea butter has actually undergone a procedure to eliminate the organic scent and make the whiter in color.

According come the American Shea Butter academy (ASBI), refined shea butter has actually lost about 75% of the active ingredients.

Additionally, the ASBI describes the five grades the shea butter. Grade A consists of the greatest amount the bioactive nutrients and also grade F is unsuitable for person use.

Because the this, civilization should opt for unrefined shea butter, between grades A come D.