Shea Butter for Acne - Does it Help?

Acne is one of the most common skin disease affecting millions of people across the globe irrespective of their gender, race or age.

It is characterized by frequent outbreaks of pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, and inflammations marked by scarring and redness of the affected area.

A lot of medications and methods have been developed to prevent if not completely cure these breakouts.

This includes various antibiotic, anti retinoid and herbal and home remedies.

This article will talk about an organic treatment for acne breakouts, shea butter, along with determining its effectiveness in the process.

About Shea Butter

It is a kind of butter extracted from the nut of a shea tree.

This tree is native to Africa and is scientifically known by the name of Vitellaria Paradoxa.

It has been classified as a triglyceride fat and is edible, being used widely in Africa in food. In spite of the difference in taste, it is often used as a substitute for cocoa butter.

Shea butter has also been known to procure a lot of health and skin benefits.

It has been widely used across the globe as a skin and hair care product and is known for its excellent moisturizing effect on the skin.

Its components variously act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory in order to improve the health of the skin further.

How Shea Butter Treats Acne

Shea butter has a number of constituents that can contribute towards skin benefits, specifically towards the prevention of acne breakouts.

Shea butter contains in itself 10 phenolic compounds which serve as strong antioxidants  It also contains catechin and vitamin e which alleviates its antioxidant properties.

All this helps in the destruction of free radicals thereby destroying the bacteria and preventing further breakouts.

It also contains essential fatty acids which promote cell regeneration and circulation thereby helping in the growth of new undamaged cells and facilitating the healing process.

The presence of vitamin A also helps in healing as well as in fading away the scars and blemishes caused as a result of the breakout.

Furthermore, it exhibits anti inflammatory properties which helps in reducing the acne induced inflammation and the resultant swelling and redness.

Additionally, it is also known to be an excellent moisturizer for dry skin and keeps the skin healthy overall.

Other benefits to skin and potential side effects

Shea butter procures a lot of skin and health benefits in general. Some of these benefits are enumerated below:

  • It is used in cases of burn marks, eczema, skin discoloration, stretch marks and skin irritation among other skin conditions
  • It is often used to protect the skin against exposure to the sun
  • Its hydrating properties help in healing nasal congestion thus facilitating respiration
  • Its is used as an anti aging product to reduce wrinkles and lines
  • It works as an excellent moisturizer and helps with the dryness induced skin irritation
  • It might also be used on the scalp to remove the dandruff

Side effects

The side effect of using shea butter is extremely rare. They are as follows:

  • It may cause irritation, itching, and rash because of an allergic reaction
  • Since it contains latex, it might induce latex allergy
  • Shea butter tends to increase the chances of bleeding by delaying clotting of the blood

Precaution with Shea Butter

In order to assure maximum effectiveness towards the treatment of acne and benefits of the skin in general, the following precautions must be observed:

  • If you are using it on the skin topically, it is advised that you do a patch test before going ahead with the application, in order to test for allergies
  • If you are buying the product from the market make sure that it is not adulterated as it might cause adverse reactions
  • It is edible and therefore can be taken in orally. It is often used in food preparations in Africa.
  • People with bleeding disorders should avoid its use as it tends to increase the risk of bleeding
  • It has so far no medical evidence that signals towards its prohibition during pregnancy or while breast feeding. It is likely to be safe.
  • Lastly, it should not be stored at a very low melting point or exposed to heat or light


It should be stored in a cool place but not necessarily refrigerated. It can be stored for a couple of years after which it might start losing its efficiency.

Drug interaction

Shea butter should be avoided along with the following as it may cause an adverse reaction:

  • Since it increases the risks of bleeding, it must not be taken with medicines which increase the risk of bleeding as it may worsen the situation. These medicines include aspirin and anti coagulants.
  • It should not be taken with herbs like garlic, ginkgo biloba and saw palmetto as it might increase bleeding risks

What customer say about using shea butter for acne

We did an analysis of online consumer review to check the effectiveness of treating with shea butter based on the experience of these consumers, here is a summary of what they liked or disliked about it:

What they liked about it

Better skin: A lot of consumers were of the view that shea butter made their skin healthier internally as well as externally.

It added a glow to their skin and added a shine to it along with moisturization. It also speeded up the healing process with its cell rejuvenation and made it glowing even from the inside

Organic: Since it is an organic treatment, many people found it to be extremely beneficial for sensitive skin which when otherwise exposed to other chemical based treatments, tends to not react properly and suffer from side effects.

Reduces scars: Shea butter was also observed to be effective in treating the acne induced scars and blemishes.

It is also helpful in reducing the inflammatory redness.

The consumers therefore have an added advantage as they do not have to rely on two different products for acne and their scars.

Time effective: Shea butter was seen to be very time effective in its treatment of acne. Many consumers noticed a difference in their skin in very few applications.

One consumer admitted to being free of a few pimples in just 3 days.

What they did not like about it

Clogging: A few consumers experienced clogging on the application of shea butter.

It might have resulted because of application in excessive amounts and is a very rare case scenario

Breakouts / reactions: Some consumers reported breakout and blackheads caused due to the application of shea butter.

This might be because of its fatty acids but is often caused to use of extra high amounts. It can be voided by ensuring only moderate application.


Shea butter is an all round product for your skin. It kills the bacteria, heals the damage and repairs your skin making it healthier and more attractive.

Its anti oxidant and anti inflammatory properties fight the acne causing bacteria on the one hand while its moisturizing properties calms down the damage on the other.

Side effects associated with shea butter are almost negligible.

Since it is an organic substance and therefore free of chemicals it is least likely to damage your skin.

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