Some dermatologists on Monday in Lagos, said Shea butter was a possible cure for stretch marks and other skin problems.
They said in separate interviews that Shea butter could also be used to improve skin conditions.
Dr Ayesha Akinkugbe, Consultant Dermatologist and Genito-urinary Physician, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos, said Shea butter was a cream-colored fatty substance made from the nuts of Karite nut trees.
Akinkugbe said most creams were extracted from the natural raw Shea butter, adding that unrefined one was the best kind of skin cream.
She said that Karite trees or Shea trees, were not cultivated, but grown only in the wild, and could take up to 50 years to mature.
“Shea butter is particularly effective moisturiser because it contains so many fatty acids which are needed to retain skin moisture and elasticity.
“The high fatty acid content in it also makes it a major additive to soap, shampoos, anti-aging creams, cosmetics, lotions and massage oil.
“Its soft, butter-like texture melts readily into the skin and helps protect the skin from harmful Utra-Violet (UV) or sun rays,” she said.
Another dermatologist, Dr Eunice Uzor, said that raw Shea butter could protect the skin from both the environmental and free-radical damages.
Uzor said the butter naturally contained vitamins A, E and F.
“Vitamin A and E which consist of anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that balance and normalise the skin. Vitamin F consists of essential fatty acids which work to soften and revitalise dry skin.
“It can be used as an all-natural hair conditioner, moisturiser and make-up remover or as a treatment for all skin problems.
“Shea butter may also help to treat skin problems such as stretch marks, minor scars, sores, chapped hands and lips, sunburn, eczema, rashes and so on,” she said.
Uzor said that it could also diminish wrinkles by moisturising the skin and promoting cell renewal.
She said that due to high demand, many producers added other ingredients to cut cost and it could alter the benefits.
Uzor, however, advised people to consult the physicians or dermatologists about serious or persistent skin problems for proper treatment.