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Sunburn, irritation...: shea butter aids in the skin's healing process.

Sunburn, irritation...: shea butter aids in the skin's healing process.

The sun, wind, cold, airborne microorganisms, and pollution are factors that impact the skin. They are often the cause of lesions, skin irritations, or other targeted problems that result in imperfections on the skin's surface. Discover in this article the properties of shea butter on skin healing.

Published January 31, 2024, by Manon, Head of Scientific Communication — 4 min read

What could be the causes of skin irritation?

Irritation is a condition that manifests acutely or chronically on the skin's surface. It can present in various ways, but the most common are characterised by redness, swelling, itching, tightness, erythema, or feelings of discomfort. Initially short-term, skin irritation can also cause long-term damage that is sometimes complex to alleviate. Indeed, it can alter the skin's texture, dull the skin's surface, and cause fine lines to appear. The skin's texture can also become uneven.

Generally, skin irritation results from the excessive reactivity of the skin surface to external or internal aggressors. Wind, sun, cold and heat are among these stimuli. The same applies to hard water, unsuitable skincare, pollution or friction. Among the internal factors, you can list hormonal disorders, emotions, stress or unbalanced diet. Skin irritations can occur temporarily or seasonally.

In reality, skin irritation is the result of the impairment of the hydrolipidic protective barrier established by the skin tissues. When this protective film is compromised, water escapes, the skin becomes dehydrated, loses elasticity, suppleness, and radiance. Cracks or fissures appear, the skin surface becomes rough and the previously mentioned symptoms manifest. The inefficiency of the hydrolipidic barrier can also promote reactive hyperseborrhea, which is the overproduction of sebum by the sebaceous glands. Consequently, the skin shines, the skin texture is irregular, pores are visible, and acne spots multiply.

Promoting the healing of irritated skin with shea butter.

For irritated, red, uncomfortable or itchy skin to heal, it is necessary to avoid any contact with the irritating factor. Thanks to some of its properties, shea butter soothes irritations and heals the skin.

  • Anti-inflammatory properties

You may resort to shea butter, which possesses properties against skin inflammation. Lupeol, a terpenic alcohol, is a component of shea butter. It has an inhibitory action on the mRNA expressions of iNOS, COX-2, TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-12 through the NF-kB signalling pathway induced by lipopolysaccharides (LPS). Shea butter is capable of triggering cytokine cells that alleviate pain and discomfort experienced in cases of targeted skin problems. It helps to reduce inflammation and skin redness.

  • Healing properties

The unsaponifiable content in shea butter is at least 4% and can go up to 10% (phytosterols, tocopherols, triterpenes...). Triterpenes are responsible for inactivating proteases such as collagenase, a metalloprotease, and elastase, a serine protease. They promote the production of collagen and elastin, two proteins essential for skin firmness, elasticity, and resistance.The fatty acids it contains also have moisturising and healing properties. Rich in Vitamin A which is an antioxidant, shea butter allows the skin to heal and ensures good cell renewal.

The application of shea butter on the skin contributes to skin healing by promoting cellular renewal.

To restore the hydrolipidic barrier and alleviate the discomfort of irritated skin, you can incorporate into your routine the Nourishing Face Cream Hyaluronic Acid 1% + Shea Butter offered by Typology. It hydrates, nourishes the skin and restores the hydrolipidic film to limit skin dehydration. Gently massage in circular motions until the moisturising cream has fully penetrated the skin.

You can also use pure and unrefined shea butter. Massage a small amount of shea butter onto clean, dry skin using circular motions to allow the shea butter to penetrate. Focus on the roughest areas of the body such as the elbows, knees and heels.


GAUTAM H. K. &al. Anti-inflammatory effects of shea butter through inhibition of iNOS, COX-2, and cytokines via the Nf-κB pathway in LPS-activated J774 macrophage cells. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine (2012).

PEKER K. & al. Medicinal and nutritional benefits from the shea tree. Journal of Biology, Agriculture and Healthcare (2017).


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