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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Ready

Shea Butter in Skincare: The Ultimate Guide to Uses, Benefits, and Risks

Updated: Jan 5, 2023

What is shea butter?

Shea butter (Butyrospermum Parkii Butter) is a seed fat collected from the shea tree found in the savannah belt of West Africa. The shea butter comes from oily kernels within tree seeds and is extracted through the process of grinding the kernel and boiling in water. The oil within then rises from the water, setting into an ivory-coloured butter (it is known as butter rather than oil as it sets into a solid at room temperature).

Shea butter is composed of five key fatty acids (palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, and arachidic), it is these fatty acids that give shea butter brilliant properties.

What are the benefits of shea butter on your skin?

  1. Recent studies have revealed that shea butter manifests anti-inflammatory activity.[1] Which means less irritation and redness for inflamed skin.

  2. Shea butter is rich in antioxidants, substances that help protect the skin's surface from oxidative damage caused by free radicals and environmental factors like UV and pollution.

  3. Rich emollient benefits. Shea butter is most known for its excellent moisturising properties and is included in many high-end skin products as a result.

Because of these benefits, skincare rich in shea butter is useful for face, lip, body, feet, hand and under-eye application.

Does shea butter restore collagen?

There is also evidence supporting the claim that shea butter helps to restore collagen levels.[2] Shea butter contains triterpenes, these naturally occurring compounds accelerate the process of tissue repair and in turn promote the production of collagen.

Side effects or risks of using shea butter?

Given shea butter’s anti-inflammatory properties it is generally safe to use for all. However, those who have a nut allergy should patch test and be cautious when using products rich in shea butter. But topical allergies to shea butter are rare.

Some people suggest that shea butter clogs pores due to its thicker texture, but there is little evidence to support this claim. In fact, the fatty acids forming shea butter have a similar structure to the body’s natural sebum and is one of the best non-comedogenic (non-pore blocking) oils you can use.[3]

Incorporating shea butter into your skincare regime with Bee Cosmetics

Organic shea butter is a core ingredient across the Bee Cosmetics range. We use refined shea butter, in combination with beeswax, honey and propolis to formulate skincare that’s kind to your skin and environment.

This ultra-nourishing foot balm is the perfect way to revive worn feet. Being in shea butter helps restore, rejuvenate, and soften cracked and damaged skin. A bronze medal winner at the 2022 Free From Skincare Awards!

Being rich in antioxidants makes shea butter the ideal ingredient for a lip balm, protecting from the weather, pollution, and UV damage. All while keeping your lips nourished and soft. Beeswax has similar properties, along with locking in moisture by forming a thin protective film. Together, shea butter and beeswax make for a formidable pair.


[1] Thioune O, Ahodikpe D, Dieng M, et al. Inflammatory ointment from shea butter and hydro-alcoholic extract of Khaya senegalensis barks (Cailcederat). Dakar Med. 2002;45:113. [2] Cosmetics & Toiletries. (2015). Shea Butter Extract for Bioactive Skin Care. [3] Hunar (2017). Best Non Comedogenic Oils.


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