Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Devanshi Singh (Beauty Expert)  on 23rd Sep 2020

Benefits & Risks of Shea Butter for Skin - Yes, it is not for everyone

Benefits of Shea Butter for Skin

If you landed on this article/ page while looking for the benefits of shea butter for skin, this article will somewhat change your mind and make you think twice before using it for your skin.

I believe many of you are here on Google after watching Youtube videos of shea butter for the skin. But here we will discuss some facts (and risks) about using shea butter for skin.

Let's begin! 

Shea Butter for Skin: The Big Picture

Shea butter, an off-white colored, creamy substance extracted from shea tree nuts, has become extremely popular for healthy & glowy skin in the last few years.

For people with parched and flaky skin, shea butter is pure bliss. But not many of us would agree with this. There are people for whom shea butter has been a boon for the skin, whereas it is a total disaster for some of us.

According to Dr. Claire Chang (a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology, Manhattan- New York), shea butter is an excellent natural substance with various benefits for your skin.

So, let's begin with the revision of some facts. 

What is Shea butter?- Shea Butter for Skin

What is Shea butter

Shea butter (popularly pronounced as shay) is a highly nutritious substance containing several nutrients believed to be good for the skin. Thus, over the years, people have developed the mindset that shea butter for skin is a miracle.

However, this is true to some extent. Shea butter has healing properties, and that is why it treats your skin for blemishes, dermatitis, eczema, wrinkles, and much more.

Besides these, it also has anti-inflammatory properties, which is good for moisturizing and soothing almost all skin types.

Thanks to all these fantastic properties, shea butter is a highly used element in skincare and hair care products.

Although shea butter for skin is believed to be a perfect choice, it can make your skin break out.  

Benefits of Shea Butter for Skin

People are literally crazy about shea butter for the skin. There are YouTubers making videos about how miraculous shea butter is for the skin. And believe me, the hype is totally worth it.

Below is the complete list of benefits of shea butter- 

1) Healing Properties

Shea butter is extensively used for its healing properties. It helps to heal the blemishes and the parched or dry areas of your skin.

2) Anti-inflammatory properties

It's proven that shea butter has amazingly beneficial anti-inflammatory properties. It can help you reduce the redness of your skin. 

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3) Anti-aging properties

Shea butter is a hit among the female population, and one of the reasons for this is its unbelievably excellent anti-aging properties. 

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4) Moisturizing properties

Shea butter has lots of fatty acids like oleic, palmitic, stearic acids, and many more. And all these contribute to its moisturizing properties.

The restoring nature of shea butter gives your skin all the needed moisture. 

5) Non-oily properties

Many people believe that as shea butter has moisturizing properties, it will make their skin much more oily than normal skin. But it is not true. Shea butter does not make your skin oily. 

Good to know.

Shea butter contains oleic acid and linoleic acid, ingredients that balance each other and do not make your skin oily. 

6) Antioxidant properties

Besides several fatty acids, shea butter also contains vitamins A and E. The presence of both these vitamins gives shea butter antioxidant properties.

These properties help your skin become bright and prevent premature aging. 

7) Antibacterial and antifungal properties

Shea butter will also help to reduce the bacterias on your skin and decrease acne. Thanks to its antibacterial and antifungal properties.

However, there is already evidence that shea butter can reduce the animals' microbial activity, but we still need some strong evidence for humans.

8) Boost in the production of Collagen

Though shea butter has plenty of fatty acids and vitamins and contains triterpenes, which reduce the destruction of collagen fiber. Thus, it is safe to say that shea butter boosts the production of Collagen. 

9) Cell- Regeneration Properties

You might not believe this, but shea butter has many exceptional cell regeneration properties. And the entire credit for this property of shea butter goes to its moisturizing and antioxidant properties.

10) Help in reducing the marks and scars

Shea butter for skin has much more in the store that you can assume. It is believed to halt the production of keloid fibroblasts (in layman's language, scar tissue). Consequently, it promotes skin to heal and healthy cell growth. 

11) Reduction of fine line and wrinkles

Shea butter is also famous among women because it effectively reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Good to know.

Shea butter boosts Collagen's production and promotes the growth and formation of new cells. Thus, because of both things, it effectively helps in treating fine lines and wrinkles. 

These were some of the primary benefits of shea butter for the skin. However, besides these, there are several other proven uses and benefits of shea butter for skin and hair.

Some of them are: 

  • Helps in preventing hair breakage
  • Treats and prevents dandruff 
  • As per the research, it helps with multiple hair conditions like eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis. 
  • Treats and to avoid skin sunburns 
  • encourage healing of wounds 
  • help in relieving arthritis pain
  • There is evidence that shea butter also helps in reducing nasal congestion

Risks of Shea Butter for Skin

Even a coin has two sides, so how can you expect shea butter for the skin to be just a simple miracle!?
Shea butter may prove to be a gem for some people, but other people still hate using shea butter for obvious and genuine reasons.

It does not suit everybody's skin. And that is why there are some risks of using shea butter for the skin.

So, if you were thinking of using shea butter for healthy and glowing skin, please know the risks before you directly jump to the usage. 

1) Allergies

Yes, you heard it right!

A substance with so many beneficial properties can give you allergic reactions.

The reason behind this is the fact that shea butter is a low-risk tropical substance.

Though these allergic reactions are rare, they do happen. So you can not just be confident enough to use shea butter on your face directly.

It is advised first to know if it even suits your skin or not. 

2) Clogging Pores

It may come as a surprise/shock to you, but yes, shea butter can clog your pores, not just a vague assumption. Even The American Academy of Dermatology agrees on this.

The moisturizing properties of shea butter are good but not worthy enough to get your skin clogged.

Especially if your skin is acne-prone, then there are high chances that you will end up clogging your pores by using shea butter on your face. 

3) Breakouts

As discussed above, the moisturizing properties of shea butter can even clog your pores. Consequently, it can even make your skin breakout.

The people who have experienced breakouts before can imagine how horrible that can be. So if your skin is acne-prone, think at least twice before using shea butter for your skin.

You can even talk to or consult your doctor and ask him/her if shea butter suits your skin or not. No matter your skin type, you must do some patch test type of thing before using shea butter for your skin. 

Moreover, if you have already started using it and are experiencing the following things, you must stop right now.

  • redness
  • itching
  • pain
  • pimples

The Final Word

Shea butter is undoubtedly full of goodness and plenty of beneficial properties, but some gruesome risks and side effects still exist. So, if your skin needs plumping and shea butter suits your skin type, then you must continue with using it as it will prove to be a pure gem for you.

Whereas, if you have acne-prone skin, then be 100% sure that shea butter will not do something terrible to your skin (talk to your doctor) and then decide on something.

FAQS about Shea Butter for Skin

1) Can Shea butter help in removing dark spots?

Shea butter is famous for reducing stretch marks, scars, and dark spots on your skin. It gives your skin all the needed moisture and helps you get rid of blemishes. 

2) Can Shea Butter repair damaged skin?


Shea Butter is a bliss for the skin. It provides your skin with everything that it needs (from moisture to nutrients). It even boosts collagen production and promotes the regeneration of new cells. Thus, it can effectively help you repair your damaged skin.  

3) Can Shea Butter lighten the skin?

Shea butter has plenty of nutrients and vitamins. From vitamin A to all the fatty acids, it has it all. And because it contains vitamin E, it has the potential to lighten your skin.  

3) Can Shea Butter lighten the skin?

Shea butter has plenty of nutrients and vitamins. From vitamin A to all the fatty acids, it has it all. And because it contains vitamin E, it has the potential to lighten your skin.  

4) Can I directly use pure shea butter on the face?

Yes, it is possible to use pure shea butter on your face. You can do it at night to absorb all the excellent properties of it in your skin. But before you do so, be aware of all its side effects and risks. 

5) How long will it take for shea butter to show results? 

The average time, in 4-5 weeks.

However, as every skin type is different, it may take more or less time for your skin to show the evidence and desired results.