You can use shea butter for acne by first washing your face with a medicated cleanser and then applying a thin coat of raw shea butter to areas of your skin that are prone to breakouts. Many dermatologists recommend leaving the shea butter on your skin for about eight hours before washing it from your face. Shea butter is a natural fat derived from the nut of the shea tree found growing on the savannahs of Africa. It can be helpful for treating and preventing acne due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The best type of shea butter for acne does not have any additives such as dyes or fragrance that can sometimes further irritate sensitive skin.
The type of cleanser you use for acne can be very important in treating the condition. It needs to remove excess oil and trapped bacteria for your shea butter treatment to be effective. If you have the oily skin common in younger acne sufferers, skin-care experts usually recommend a cleanser with salicylic acid. Adult acne sufferers often need a different cleanser with lower concentration of anti-acne medication because their skin is usually more prone to dryness. Shea butter can be especially helpful in this case because it absorbs into the skin and provides moisture without further clogging pores.
Unrefined shea butter soap is another alternative if your skin does not respond well to salicylic acid anti-acne cleansers. This type of soap does not have the added mineral oils and humectants found in refined shea butter products that are normally used as body moisturizers. Pure shea butter soap can often help clear away excess oil and heal existing acne blemishes. Some acne sufferers report that unrefined shea butter soap can be slightly drying, so you may need to apply a mild face moisturizer intended for acne-prone skin.
Once your skin is clean and dry, dermatologists recommend applying fresh shea butter with a small sponge normally used for makeup application. Rubbing in shea butter with your fingers can actually be counterproductive because it usually introduces further sebum and bacteria into acne breakouts. Using a clean makeup sponge prevents this problem. It is also important not to touch your face once you have applied a coat of shea butter for acne. If you decide to leave on shea butter for acne overnight, many dermatologists advise waiting until the shea butter is at least partially absorbed into your skin so that it does not transfer to bed sheets or pillow cases.