Many people use shea butter for stretch marks because it has natural healing properties that can help reduce scars and skin discolorations. The more natural and unprocessed the shea butter is, the stronger and more effective it will be, so most people believe raw shea butter is best for stretch marks. To treat stretch marks, regularly apply shea butter to the area where the stretch marks are present. To prevent stretch marks, or at least reduce the chances of them occurring, start using shea butter early in the pregnancy, on any area where stretch marks might appear.
African shea butter is a natural substance that has healing, moisturizing, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is used in many skin care products, and is effective at healing or reducing scars and skin discolorations like stretch marks, age spots, acne scars, burns scars, and wrinkles. Shea butter comes from the nut of an African tree called the Karite. Depending on the region in which the trees are grown, and the time of year when the nuts are harvested, “natural” shea butter can be any color from nearly white to intense yellow.
When buying shea butter for stretch marks, consider the different types of shea butter that are available, and some are more effective than others. Raw shea butter isn't filtered or processed and contains no additives, so it has natural healing properties that can help reduce and heal stretch marks and other scars. Unrefined shea butter has been melted and sifted to remove impurities, so it is nearly as effective as the raw variety, and usually much easier to find. Refined shea butter usually contains preservatives and other chemicals, and will often be treated to remove the naturally strong smell and color. Ultra-refined shea butter is what is usually found in commercial beauty products and, while it can be an effective moisturizer, most of its healing properties are removed by the refining process.
There are many options when choosing shea butter for stretch marks. Beauty products that contain refined or ultra-refined shea butter are the easiest to find, but might not do much to reduce stretch marks. Raw shea butter is the most effective at reducing stretch marks, but it can also be hard to find, and some might not care for the strong, natural smell. Unrefined shea butter is nearly as effective as raw shea butter for stretch marks, is easier to find, and the scent usually isn’t as strong.