This Age-Defying Ingredient Fades Stretch Marks and Heals Your Skin Barrier

When I first heard that using shea butter can heal your skin barrier and fade stretch marks, my ears definitely perked up. After all, who wouldn't consider using such a magical ingredient if that's the case? Packed with essential fatty acids and vitamins, I always found it plausible that shea butter could heal your skin barrier. After all, with all those vitamins, it nourishes the skin and keeps it more youthful. What I was a bit more skeptical about, however, was its ability to minimize stretch marks. I decided there was no better way to find out the truth than by trying it for myself. Spoiler alert: it absolutely works. I've used Mutha's luxurious Body Butter ($95) with shea butter for some time now and it has definitely helped fade some stretch marks on my upper thighs. 

So yeah, I didn't stop at just body care after that. I decided that shea butter would become a staple in my beauty routine from then on. And trust me, if even I (who has very acne-prone skin) can use it, so can you. To get a little more insight on the matter, I polled my favorite derms on their choice shea butter products and why this ingredient is so amazing. Read on for their thoughts.

The Benefits of Using Shea Butter

Best Shea Butter Products

Photo:

@ariannabaq

Derms have a lot to say about shea butter and its benefits. For starters, Marisa Garshick, MD, says that it provides powerhouse hydration. "Shea butter is rich in fatty acids and vitamins help to moisturize the skin," she says. "Because it contains vitamin A and E,  it also has antioxidant benefits. Shea moisture also contains triterpenes which are thought to help prevent collagen breakdown, so there may be anti-aging benefits as well. It also has anti-inflammatory properties." Azadeh Shirazi, MD, also weighed in. "Shea butter is highly concentrated in fatty acids such as linoleic, oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids, that nourish and boost skin moisture. They also help restore and strengthen the skin barrier."

Personally, as someone who struggles with breakouts, my next question for the experts was, is it comedogenic? The answer may surprise you. "Many people worry about it clogging pores because essentially it’s an oil," Shirazi says. "On the comedogenic scale, it's between a 0-2, making it less likely to clog pores and cause breakouts. It also depends on how it’s formulated, what other products someone is using, and certainly climate plays a role." Whew. It's probably a good idea to check the other ingredients in a product before using it to make sure there's nothing else comedogenic in it but otherwise, you can use it if you have acne-prone skin. Now, if you'd like to cop a few quality shea butter products for yourself, keep scrolling.

Best Shea Butter Moisturizers

This whipped cream moisturizer is packed with hydrating ingredients like omega fatty acids, ceramides, antioxidants, and shea butter. It supports the skin's moisture barrie, quickly relieves dry skin, and leaves your complexion soft and supple.

"This rich, heavy, and nourishing cream is perfect to apply overnight to hydrate dull or dry skin." —Shirazi

La Roche-Posay's Ultra Soothying Repair Moisturizer is rich in shea butter to condition, tone, and soothe inflammation. Other ingredients like the brand's thermal spring water and nerosensine refresh and protect sensitive skin.

"This one has a lightweight texture, but it's also hydrating and soothing on the skin." —Shirazi

Best Shea Butter Body Butters

Hanahana Beauty products are the gold standard when it comes to shea butter. The brand's body butters are ultra-rich, creamy, and leave your skin feeling so soft. This delicious lavender-scented option is a personal favorite of mine. It smells divine and just puts me in a good mood.

Mutha's body butter is the ultimate prize. It's my all-time favorite body butter to use and it's loaded with—you guessed it—shea butter. And that's not all. Shea butter is one of many deeply hydrating ingredients in this one. Mangu butter, cocoa butter, and other pure seed extracts round out the formula as well. I love pairing it with the brand's Body Contour Serum ($95) for a full spa-like experience.

This waterless oil-butter formula is an absolute dream for the skin. I love the light neroli scent and it offers 24 hour hydration. It also protects the skin lipid barrier, calms inflammation, and even helps with body breakouts.

Best Shea Butter Lotions

"This rich cream helps to lock moisture in and soften and smooth the skin, using a blend of lanolin, sweet almond oil and shea butter." —Garshick

"This new lightweight yet effective lotion uses a vita-shea blend which combines shea butter with vitamin C, E and B3. Together, they work to improve the skin barrier while also brightening and smoothing the skin." —Garshick

Nobody does shea butter products quite like Sheamoisture. This option does contain coconut oil, which doesn't agree with everyone's skin, but it's still a great drugstore option for those without sensitivies.

Best Shea Butter Hair Products

Shea butter is great for curls since it's so nourishing and hydrating. Luckily, Curlsmith's Curl Conditioning Oil-in-Cream makes hair soft, smooth, and shiny. You only need a small amount of the rich concentrated formula and it's great for thick hair and protective styles.

For increased shine and managability, try Reverie's lush Milk Leave-in Treatment. It contains a blend of 16 essential oils, olive oil, amino acids, shea butter, and pracaxi seed oil that helps strengthen hair and enhances silkiness.

This deep treatment mask restores and revives curly hair types. It has Oribe's signature complex which soothes damaged locks and is infused with coconut oil, shea butter, sweet almond oil, and illipe nut butter.

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