Psoriasis causes dry, flaky skin plaques. While shea butter will not cure psoriasis, it may help moisturize dry skin. It can also help repair the skin barrier and reduce inflammation.
The above information comes from a 2018 study published in the
Some trials of psoriasis management
Read on to learn more about using shea butter for psoriasis.
People with psoriasis
Regularly moisturizing the skin may help improve the health of the skin barrier and relieve dryness.
Shea butter is a rich moisturizer present in many skin care products.
As inflammation is a major symptom of psoriasis, this suggests that shea butter could help the condition while moisturizing and soothing dry skin.
Several studies have looked at shea butter for psoriasis both on its own and in addition to other remedies.
In a 12-week 2022 study of people with plaque psoriasis, participants used a daily combination of turmeric and salicylic acid, which can help exfoliate the skin. They also used a topical combining salicylic acid and shea butter.
This regimen improved symptoms at the end of the 12-week period and had few side effects.
However, these studies have been small and often test multiple substances rather than just shea butter. There is little research on the use of shea butter alone.
Despite this, the preliminary research on the use of shea butter for psoriasis shows promise.
No research has documented any widespread serious side effects of shea butter.
Manufacturers produce shea butter using nuts, so people with nut allergies may experience an allergic reaction to it. Some people may also have skin hypersensitivity reactions to either shea butter or other ingredients in shea butter products.
However, a person should not replace their psoriasis treatment with shea butter without first consulting a doctor. It is important to note that shea butter is not a cure for psoriasis.
Other rich moisturizers may help with psoriasis, and studies of shea butter for psoriasis also look at these creams.
Some examples of other potentially effective moisturizers include:
- aloe butter
- mango butter
- cocoa butter
However, moisturizers only soothe the skin and will not cure psoriasis. It is a chronic medical condition, and a person likely will need ongoing treatment.
- exfoliating products such as salicylic acid and retinol
- coal tar products, such as coal tar shampoo
- corticosteroids to reduce inflammation
- biological treatments
- light therapy, which involves exposing the skin to natural or artificial UV light
- tapinarof (VTAMA), a nonsteroid cream
Only a doctor can diagnose psoriasis. Moreover, psoriasis may mimic some other skin conditions, so it is important to get an accurate diagnosis so that infections and other serious skin conditions do not go untreated.
A person should contact a doctor if:
- Psoriasis worsens after using shea butter or any other skin care product.
- Psoriasis suddenly worsens or does not respond to treatment.
- They develop side effects associated with treatment.
- They develop joint pain, which may indicate psoriatic arthritis.
Shea butter can help keep the skin moisturized. This may help reduce some effects of psoriasis and prevent some complications, such as damage to the skin barrier. However, it will not treat the underlying inflammation.
People with psoriasis may need to try several different treatments to find relief. The right combination of therapies may improve symptoms and reduce the severity of psoriasis flare-ups.