Shea Butter For Stretch Marks [Full Guide]

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Chances are that if you’ve developed stretch marks at some point in your life, that you’ve also wondered if there’s a way to get rid of them. They are a natural part of growing, but many people hate the way they look and feel self-conscious because of them. 

Likewise, you’ve likely heard shea butter and stretch marks discussed together.

Does shea butter help with stretch marks? If you deal with stretch marks, shea butter just might be worth a try.

Unfortunately, shea butter cannot get rid of or prevent stretch marks. However, it can ease your irritation and reduce the appearance of the scars.

Below, I cover what causes strech marks and whether shea butter can remove, prevent or help stretch marks. I also discuss all benefits of shea butter for strech marks and how to use it for the best effect.

What Is Shea Butter?

shea butter for stretch marks

Shea butter is a type of nut fat that is derived from the seeds of the shea tree. The trees are native to eastern and western Africa, and the indigenous people have been using shea butter for thousands of years. 

There are two different kinds of shea butter: refined and unrefined. Refined butter is created through the use of extreme heat and chemicals, eliminating most of the nutrients found in the butter.

Unrefined butter is produced without any harshness, so the nutrients stay intact. Because of this, it’s always better to use raw shea butter for stretch marks if possible.

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What Causes Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are a very common occurrence among people: about 80% of the population has them somewhere on their body. The difference is that some people may have more than others, and they can vary in size and shape. Although they pose no real health risk, stretch marks can cause people to feel self conscious. 

How do people develop stretch marks? Where do they come from? 

The answer is really quite simple. Stretch marks are scars that are caused by the sudden stretching of the skin. Stretch marks are not caused by normal growth, which is why many growing children do not develop stretch marks. 

stretch marks

If your body grows too fast, it will force the skin to stretch to a degree that is not normal for it. The skin contains collagen and elastin fibers that allow a certain amount of stretching and pulling during your day-to-day life. However, if your skin is pulled too fast, these fibers will break down so that your skin cannot stretch as well. This is when stretch mark scarring occurs. 

Although this doesn’t happen with children, stretch marks can be caused by puberty if a child goes through a growth spurt. Other common causes include pregnancy, sudden weight gain, and even some medications. 

The most common places for stretch marks to appear include the stomach, breasts, hips, buttocks, and thighs. When they first appear, the skin will be irritated and itchy. The skin may appear pink, purple, or red in color. As time goes by, however, the color will fade to more closely match the tone of your skin. 

How badly stretch marks appear on your skin depends largely on your genetics and how much stress is being placed on your skin. Women are more likely to develop stretch marks then men, but anyone can develop stretch marks regardless of their gender or age. 

Another factor that can increase the likelihood of stretch marks is a higher level of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a hormone created by adrenal glands which causes weakening of the elastic fibers of the skin.

Does Shea Butter Remove Stretch Marks?

shea butter for stretch marks

Does shea butter work on stretch marks?

Shea butter has a lot of wonderful properties that make it great for skin. It moisturizes the skin and can promote healing of the skin cells. 

Still, this doesn’t necessarily mean that shea butter can prevent or cure stretch marks. In fact, there isn’t really a product out there that can completely rid you of your stretch marks. 

Shea butter can, however, help fade the appearance of stretch marks and reduce the likelihood of more appearing. 

The problem with stretch marks is that they’re a form of scarring. Scarring can simply be temporary, or it can be permanent. Unfortunately, in the case of stretch marks, the result is usually the latter. 

The scarring of stretch marks don’t just appear at the surface of the skin. The damage goes deep into the tissue. So, although it is possible for the marks to fade over time, it’s not generally possible that they will go away completely.

Is Shea Butter Good For Stretch Marks?

Shea butter. Stretch marks. Does the creamy product really do anything to help stretch marks?

Shea butter has a lot of great properties that make it ideal for use on the skin. It locks moisture into the skin, helping to promote new cell growth and encouraging your skin to stay healthy. 

Shea Butter To Prevent Stretch Marks

Because shea butter moisturizes and heals skin cells, it can potentially prevent stretch marks. It is not a foolproof method, however. It is still completely possible to develop stretch marks, even if you use shea butter every day. 

Rather than saying that shea butter “prevents” stretch marks, it’s better to say that shea butter strengthens the skin. When the skin is healthier and stronger, it will also be more elastic. More elastic skin is less likely to form stretch marks. 

However, shea butter can help with the symptoms of stretch marks, as well as reduce the appearance of them. Stretch marks often appear red, irritated, and itching. Shea butter is very moisturizing and very soothing. By using shea butter on your stretch marks, you promote healing of the scar tissue faster. 

Oftentimes, stretch marks are more sensitive than the rest of your skin, both when the scars are new, and when they’re older. Besides containing healing properties, shea butter can also protect your sensitive skin from damaging UV rays.

How About Using Shea Butter For Pregnancy Stretch Marks?

As I already mentioned, it isn’t really possible to prevent or heal stretch marks by using shea butter. While extra hydration and moisture promotes the elasticity of your skin, it’s not usually enough to prevent stretch marks altogether. 

Stretch marks are formed by an extreme amount of stress being placed on the skin. This stress is exacerbated when you are pregnant because your abdomen is gaining a significant amount of weight in a very short amount of time. 

For this reason, it’s not possible to prevent pregnancy stretch marks using shea butter. Nor will it get rid of your stretch marks after they’ve formed. 

However, it can help reduce the appearance of the stretch marks to an extent. As I stated above, shea butter will introduce moisture to your skin which can help reduce the puffiness and redness of the scarring. Therefore, a shea butter cream for stretch marks might be worth a try.

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Benefits Of Shea Butter On Stretch Marks

shea butter
Shea butter

Although shea butter cannot heal or thoroughly prevent stretch marks, it can do a nice job at reducing the appearance of stretch marks and the irritation that comes with them. 

It Moisturizes The Skin

By now, you’re probably well-versed in just how effective shea butter is at moisturizing. Shea butter works as an emollient so that the moisture penetrates deep within the skin and is locked in for long-lasting moisture. 

The moisture in the shea butter can relieve any itching and irritation caused by the stretch marks. It can also aid in faster healing so that the redness of the marks will go away more quickly. 

Not only that, but the moisture forms a protective layer over your skin as well as within your skin. This can prevent your scarring from penetrating deeper into your skin. It can also prevent the scarring from burning if you’re out in the sun. 

And of course, when your skin is better moisturized, it will prevent your skin from flaking. Skin dryness and flakiness is increasingly common in those experiencing a pregnancy or weight gain. By preventing flakiness, shea butter will also prevent the worsening of your stretch marks. 

It Promotes New Cell Growth

One of the most important parts of healing your skin is ensuring that new skin cells are being generated.

Shea butter is a great product because it helps your tissue to more quickly regenerate, and encourages healing. Shea butter is great to use on red, pink, or purple stretch marks for this reason. 

It Reduces Inflammation

Another way that shea butter can soothe and heal your skin is by reducing inflammation. The butter contains many fatty acids and antioxidants that contain anti-inflammatory properties. These properties are great for stretch marks because it can make them smaller and reduce their appearance.

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How To Use Shea Butter For Stretch Marks

If you keep your shea butter at room temperature, it is going to be solid and quite difficult to spread over your body. However, it’s very easy to warm it up so that it becomes liquid. You can do this by placing a small amount in the microwave for a few seconds. Oftentimes, you can even warm the fat up simply by rubbing it in your hands. 

You don’t need to mix shea butter with anything if you choose not to. You can massage the melted shea butter directly into your skin. It’s best if you rub the butter into your skin by massaging your fingers in a circular motion. Continue doing this until the butter has completely absorbed into your skin. 

If you don’t like the feel of shea butter on its own, you can also mix it into one of your existing beauty products. 

For example, rubbing shea butter into your skin before applying sunscreen can give you extra protection against sunburn. Or, if you add a small amount of shea butter to your exfoliating body scrub, it will better hydrate your new skin cells after the dead cells are gone. 

If you don’t want to be bothered with all that, simply purchase a beauty product that already contains shea butter. There are plenty of shea butter stretch mark cream on the market. You can also find shea butter as an ingredient in many products such as moisturizers and cleansers.

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Conclusion

Stretch marks are caused by an excessive amount of growth over a short period of time. The skin is not able to keep up with the growth of the body, so stretch marks form in these areas of growth in the form of scars. 

Because stretch marks are the result of an extreme process, it’s not really possible to prevent them. Also, because they are a type of scarring, it’s not generally possible to get rid of them completely, either. 

However, if they bother you, shea butter is a good option for overall relief. It can reduce itchiness, redness, and irritation produced by newly-formed stretch marks. It can also reduce the appearance of stretch marks over time.

Click here to know exactly how shea butter is made, here for using shea butter on curly hair or here for all our shea butter guides. Also check out all the best shea butter to use for face here.

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By Cara Davis

Cara Davis is a food lover and health fanatic who likes to make life as stress free as possible - thus why she loves to eat quick and healthy!