While pure shea butter is useful in cooking, it is also highly beneficial as a topical cream for treating dry skin, moisturizing hair and soothing cracked heels and chapped lips. It can also be used to combat cosmetic problems, such as wrinkles, acne and stretch marks.
Pure shea butter is a good choice for treating dry skin, because the moisturizers in the nut oil are similar to those produced naturally by the skin's sebaceous glands. The same moisturizers in the oil are also beneficial for the hair and scalp and have been shown to help combat dandruff.
Pure shea butter boasts anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor promoting compounds. It is high in vitamins A and E as well as other plant antioxidants and catechins, which may help protect the skin from damage. Pure shea butter has a higher non-saponifiable fraction, or healing fraction, than other nut oils, which means that it offers greater healing properties.
In addition to its uses for skin and hair, pure shea butter can also fight nasal congestion when a small amount is applied to the interior of the nostrils. Many women's cooperatives in Africa produce shea butter, which creates employment for thousands of people, according to the U.N.