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As an after-sun emollient

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Instead of commercial preparations, why not try applying shea butter after spending time in the sun? The essential fatty acids in raw shea butter help the skin retain moisture and soothe minor inflammation. There’s also some evidence to suggest that it helps promote healing after mild sunburn.

Moisturizing chapped lips

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If you struggle to find a lip balm that works for you, using shea butter might be the answer. It’s especially good for soothing the chapped, bleeding lips that so many people suffer from over the winter. However, don’t forget to apply it during the summer months, when it can help protect the delicate skin of your lips from the sun.

Reducing fine lines and other signs of skin aging

Fine lines
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There’s no magic bullet against the ravages of age and environmental stresses. Luckily, research suggests that the collagen-boosting properties of shea butter and its role in promoting cell division mean it may help reduce “photoaging”. This refers to the fine lines and wrinkles that skin develops as it ages – and that so many people hate seeing reflected back in the mirror.

Relieving pain from arthritis

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Although there’s no definitive research, evidence points to the role that topical application of shea butter can have in relieving arthritic joint pain. This makes sense given that arthritis is essentially inflammation in the joints, and shea butter is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Less well-known is the fact that shea butter has mild analgesic properties, which may help the brain perceive the pain differently.

Easing the inflammation associated with eczema

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As any eczema-sufferer knows, it can be really hard to find a skin product that reduces the risk of suffering another outbreak. Daily moisturizing with shea butter can help keep your skin irritation and inflammation at bay. It’s absorbed quickly into the skin while also forming a protective barrier on the surface layer that locks in moisture.

Alleviating nasal congestion

Nasal congestion
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Whether it’s the common cold, seasonal allergies or some other cause, nasal congestion can be miserable. Adding a little shea butter to nasal drops can help reduce inflammation in the nasal cavities and so make breathing easier. The shea butter may also act on mucosal damage in the nose, making future nasal congestion less likely.

Improving the appearance of stretch marks and scars

Stretch marks
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Most commonly appearing in adolescence, during pregnancy or after significant weight change, stretch marks can really affect confidence. Shea butter may reduce the rate at which scar tissue, properly called keloid fibroblasts, forms. In its place, it promotes the growth of healthy tissue, so reducing the appearance of stretch marks. Shea butter can also have a similarly beneficial effect on scarring from a wound or surgery.

Helping to prevent acne

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The scourge of many adolescents, a cure-all for acne is something of a holy grail. Until such time as it’s found, the fatty acids in shea butter help remove excess sebum (oil) from the skin. Although it’s natural for skin cells to secrete sebum, too much can clog pores and cause acne. Meanwhile, shea butter’s moisturizing properties mean it’s not too harsh to use on even young skin.

Dealing with fungal skin infections

Athlete's foot
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As a natural anti-fungicide, shea butter can be a powerful first-line weapon in the fight against skin infections caused by fungi. Athlete’s foot and ringworm are just two common infections that it may help treat. Obviously, though, it’s always best to seek medical advice when it comes to new or long-standing infections.

Boosting anti-oxidants

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Many people pay a lot of money for lotions that promise to reduce skin-damaging free radicals and boost anti-oxidants. Perhaps those people don’t yet know that shea butter is rich in vitamins A and E. Together, these two vitamins promote anti-oxidants, which fight the free radicals that often lead to premature aging.