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How Do I Use Shea Butter for Acne?

By Angela Farrer
Updated May 21, 2024
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You can use shea butter for acne by first washing your face with a medicated cleanser and then applying a thin coat of raw shea butter to areas of your skin that are prone to breakouts. Many dermatologists recommend leaving the shea butter on your skin for about eight hours before washing it from your face. Shea butter is a natural fat derived from the nut of the shea tree found growing on the savannahs of Africa. It can be helpful for treating and preventing acne due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The best type of shea butter for acne does not have any additives such as dyes or fragrance that can sometimes further irritate sensitive skin.

The type of cleanser you use for acne can be very important in treating the condition. It needs to remove excess oil and trapped bacteria for your shea butter treatment to be effective. If you have the oily skin common in younger acne sufferers, skin-care experts usually recommend a cleanser with salicylic acid. Adult acne sufferers often need a different cleanser with lower concentration of anti-acne medication because their skin is usually more prone to dryness. Shea butter can be especially helpful in this case because it absorbs into the skin and provides moisture without further clogging pores.

Unrefined shea butter soap is another alternative if your skin does not respond well to salicylic acid anti-acne cleansers. This type of soap does not have the added mineral oils and humectants found in refined shea butter products that are normally used as body moisturizers. Pure shea butter soap can often help clear away excess oil and heal existing acne blemishes. Some acne sufferers report that unrefined shea butter soap can be slightly drying, so you may need to apply a mild face moisturizer intended for acne-prone skin.

Once your skin is clean and dry, dermatologists recommend applying fresh shea butter with a small sponge normally used for makeup application. Rubbing in shea butter with your fingers can actually be counterproductive because it usually introduces further sebum and bacteria into acne breakouts. Using a clean makeup sponge prevents this problem. It is also important not to touch your face once you have applied a coat of shea butter for acne. If you decide to leave on shea butter for acne overnight, many dermatologists advise waiting until the shea butter is at least partially absorbed into your skin so that it does not transfer to bed sheets or pillow cases.

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Discussion Comments

By anon336475 — On May 29, 2013

I get my Shea butter online and I love it. I use it for everything. It even saved me from a brown recluse spider bite!

By myharley — On Aug 08, 2012

@bagley79-- Many times you can find shea butter at a beauty supply store or a store that sells African products. If you aren't close to any places like this, there are several places you can buy this online.

I am particular about the type of shea butter I use, as I want it to be pure and free of additives. I usually order mine from an online supplier. Not only does shea butter work great for acne, but also helps with the overall health of your skin.

I first started using shea butter when I bought a bar of unrefined shea butter soap at a health food store. I was so impressed with the results, that I like to use shea butter in a lot of my skin care products. Having clean, healthy skin can go a long ways towards preventing acne in the first place.

By bagley79 — On Aug 07, 2012

I have seen shea butter used in a lot of beauty products lately. This seems to be in everything from lotion to shampoo to face moisturizers. I had never thought about specifically using this for acne.

Where do you buy unrefined shea butter like this? Every time I have seen shea butter used, it is already included in a product with other ingredients.

By SarahSon — On Aug 06, 2012

I have found that applying the shea butter at night is the best way to use this product. If I apply it in the morning, my face feels too greasy throughout the day.

What I like about using shea butter for acne is that it will help clear up a breakout without drying my skin like most other acne products do.

By andee — On Aug 06, 2012

I was really hesitant to use shea butter for my acne because I thought it had a greasy feeling to it. I thought this was exactly the opposite of what I needed to be using on my face.

I was ready to try anything though, and figured I didn't have anything to lose. After cleansing my face before bed, I applied some shea butter to my face and let it soak in all night long.

I was amazed at how soft my skin felt in the morning. After doing this every night for about a week, I noticed a difference in my acne. In the past, I always thought I was supposed to dry up my acne.

Who would have thought that by applying a natural moisturizer like shea butter, it would actually help clear it up.

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