Shea butter has been claimed to help with dozens of skin issues. These benefits include, but are not limited to:

  1. anti-aging properties
  2. mitigating acne
  3. healing wounds/scars/strech marks
  4. healing skin issues like dry and inflamed skin

However, webmd's list of benefits lists shea butter as having tentative evidence of treating eczema and hayfever only, implying that the many other listed supposed benefits have insufficient proof.

Is there scientifically sound evidence to prove (or disprove) the supposed benefits of use of shea butter, other then the eczema and hayfever which webmd lists as having tentative evidence in favor of?

  • 2
    This is too broad. If someone wanted to answer "No", they would need to write respond to dozens of claim. Can we limit it down to one claim, please? And put it in the title - the current one is way too open.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 1:55
  • 1
    Please don't go with the vaguer claims: "Anti-aging" is an empty marketing term. (I get a year older every year, no matter what I put on my skin.) I can't measure if my acne has been "mitigated". It strikes me that it is just another emollient.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 1:58
  • 1
    The WebMD article you linked says there is "insufficient evidence" about any of the supposed effects, which is not really promising. At the very bottom of that page you can see that their information is based on "Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database," which is a collection of reviews of various natural medicines. While not the most fresh source, it is based on reviews of several studies about every medicine. Such sources are usually considered higher evidence than single studies mentioned in your first source.
    – Jan
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 11:17

1 Answer 1


Just to focus on one of the specific claims, a journal article from 2009 describes what the authors believed to be the first clinical application of shea butter to treat eczema (aka atopic dermatitis). The results were favorable but the only conclusion they drew was that further study might be worthwhile.

A more recent article from 2018 provides a meta-study of emollient tratments in general. A number of the specific products tested in clinical trials contained shea butter. The main conclusion:

Most moisturizers showed some beneficial effects, but there was generally no evidence that one moisturizer is better than the other.

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