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Shea Butter | Does it really offer sun protection?

Shea butter has been shown to increase the sun or UV protection offered by products. One study showed that the use of shea butter increased the SPF of a lip product by 35%. Some papers have cited an SPF of 3 to 4 based on a concentration of triterpene esters of 20%. It may also enhance the photostability of some sunscreen ingredients. Read more...
 

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What is shea butter?



Shea butter is a popular ingredient in skin care products. It is extracted from the shea tree grown in certain regions of Africa. It has been noted to have some antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects on the skin. It is rich in triglycerides and numerous fatty acids including oleic, linoleic, stearic, and palmitic. It was shown in one study to have similar effects in atopic dermatitis management as a ceramide product tested. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, it has been shown to have photoprotective properties. It contains triterpene esters which are considered phytochemicals.



What types of products is shea butter found in?


Most products I come across that include shea butter tend to fall in the category of moisturizers. I have also found that some conditioners may include it and lip care products.



Can shea butter clog pores? Is shea butter comedogenic?



Determining how likely shea butter is to clog pores relies on testing it. I did not come across any studies in the medical literature evaluating this property. Several sites claim it to be non-comedogenic or non-pore clogging but it is really challenging to figure out how these sites determined this information without testing referenced. It has a thick fatty texture which implies it may have the potential to clog pores however it really depends on the particle size and its ability to do so. This may vary from person to person.



Video: Techei


Can shea butter offer UV protection? What is the SPF of shea butter?



Shea butter has been shown to increase the sun or UV protection offered by products. One study showed that the use of shea butter increased the SPF of a lip product by 35%. Some papers have cited an SPF of 3 to 4 based on a concentration of triterpene esters of 20%. It may also enhance the photostability of some sunscreen ingredients.



Is shea butter safe to use on the skin?


Shea butter itself may have a lower likelihood of contact dermatitis however it is often combined with other ingredients in products that may.




Shea Butter Sun


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