Mango Butter vs Shea Butter For Skin

Mango butter and shea butter have both been used for skin for centuries, and yet, they have different qualities which make them appealing. Both butters come with their own benefits and drawbacks, but the fundamental differences come in how they act, react, and feel on your skin.

Mango Butter vs Shea Butter

In this post, we will review the differences between mango butter vs shea butter for the skin. Which is better? It depends on your skin type and skin concerns.

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What is Mango Butter?

Mango butter and fresh mango fruit close up

Mango butter is a fat extracted from the kernel of the mango fruit. It is often used in cosmetics for its high concentration of fatty acids, which are necessary for keeping your skin hydrated and healthy.

Mango butter is solid at room temperature but melts with heat when applied to your skin. It has a creamy yellow color and is a superb natural moisturizer.

Benefits of Mango Butter for Skin

There’s no question as to why the mango is often referred to as the king of the fruit. It is jam-packed with ingredients designed to nourish and help heal the skin.

Mango butter typically contains many vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, including:

  • Vitamin A
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin C
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B6
  • Iron
  • Vitamin E
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Oleic acid
  • Stearic acid
  • Palmitic acid
  • Arachidic acid
  • Linoleic acid

Along with these vitamins and minerals, mango butter contains fiber and polyphenols, which are nutrients in plants filled with antioxidants. Antioxidants are important for protecting your skin from free radical damage and environmental pollutants.

Antioxidants can help reduce the visible signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, hyperpigmentation, and dark spots.

Mango butter contains a high amount of the fatty acids oleic acid (approx 45%) and stearic acid (approx 44%). Oleic acid is monounsaturated, which helps improve skin elasticity and moisture retention and supports a healthy skin barrier, while stearic acid is a saturated fatty acid and an emollient that is ideal for sensitive and dry skin types, as it softens and moisturizes the skin.

Mango butter also contains a small amount of palmitic, arachidic, and linoleic acids.

Mango butter and fresh mango fruit and mango slices

Mango Butter is Great for Most Skin Types

Mango butter is excellent for most skin types since it is less likely to clog pores (it rates low on the comedogenic scale). Even though it doesn’t usually clog pores, if you have acne-prone skin or struggle with acne and breakouts, be sure to consult with your dermatologist or physician before using mango butter or other butters on your face.

Mango butter absorbs easily into the skin. This means that it won’t sit on top of your skin or leave a greasy film but rather will moisturize and nourish the skin, making it excellent for dry skin.

Although mango butter is generally non-irritating, if you have sensitive skin, be sure to patch test mango butter and any new skincare product before using it for the first time.

Mango Butter Has Multiple Uses For The Skin

Mango butter is a versatile natural butter that you can use for multiple skin issues and concerns in your everyday skin care routine. You can use mango butter to:

  • Moisturize and soothe dry skin
  • Treat a sunburn
  • Soothe skin conditions like psoriasis
  • Reduce fine lines
  • Calm bug bite itches
  • Reduce the appearance of scars

Mango butter is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. Mango butter can soothe, heal and moisturize dry, chapped, or irritated skin. Its reparative and protective properties protect against inflammation and improve the appearance of damaged and aging skin.

Mango butter can help improve skin elasticity and help smooth out the look of rough skin. It can also support collagen production in the skin, which can lead to firmer and more youthful-looking skin.

Unrefined Mango Butter vs Refined Mango Butter

Unrefined mango butter tends to be a bit softer and less creamy than refined mango butter. The color of refined mango butter is usually lighter than the unrefined product.

Unrefined mango butter has a mild smokey scent which is removed during the refinement process. (It doesn’t smell like mangoes because the butter comes from the seed, not the flesh.) Unrefined mango butter retains more of its natural properties and benefits than refined mango butter.

What is Shea Butter?

Shea butter in glass bowl and shea nuts

Shea butter is a type of vegetable butter consisting of fat that has been extracted from the nuts of the shea tree. It has an off-white or ivory color and comes from trees native to West Africa. Shea butter typically has a soft, silky, and airy texture.

Like mango butter, shea butter is solid at room temperature, but it can easily be melted with your hands for use in various applications. Shea butter melts around body temperature, making it very conducive to skin application. Shea butter acts as a barrier to lock in moisture and soothe dry skin.

Benefits of Shea Butter for Skin

Shea butter is popular in cosmetics and skincare products. It contains multiple vitamins and skin-moisturizing fatty acids. It is easy to spread and is a great product for soothing and hydrating skin.

Similar to mango butter, shea butter also contains many nutrients. However, the composition differs slightly from mango and consists mainly of:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin F
  • Oleic acid
  • Stearic acid
  • Palmitic acid
  • Linoleic acid
Shea butter and shea nuts in spoon and bowls on wooden background

Like mango butter, shea butter contains a high concentration of oleic acid (approx 47%) and stearic acid (approx 43%). These fatty acids moisturize and nourish the skin.

Shea butter also contains cinnamic acid, a natural sunscreen that protects the skin from damage due to ultraviolet radiation. Cinnamic acid might even help with hyperpigmentation, as it inhibits melanin (pigment) production in the skin.

Related Post: Is Shea Butter Comedogenic?

Shea Butter is Great for Most Skin Types

Shea butter is not as versatile as mango butter but is still suitable for most skin types. Those with oily or acne-prone skin should take caution, however, since shea butter can aggravate acne and breakouts.

While shea butter scores low on the comedogenic scale (a scale that measures how likely a product is to clog pores), due to the concentration of the fatty acid oleic acid, shea butter may cause some people to experience breakouts.

Oils and butters that contain higher amounts of the essential fatty acid linoleic acid are better for acne-prone skin since this fatty acid has been shown to be low in acne patients. Unfortunately, shea butter only contains around 5-7% linoleic acid, so it’s not the best choice for those with acne-prone skin. (Mango butter has even less oleic acid at around 3%.)

The American Academy of Dermatology notes that shea butter has the potential to clog pores, so if you have acne-prone or oily skin, it is best to use shea butter in limited amounts.

Shea Butter is a Great Moisturizer

Shea butter absorbs easily into the skin, which then acts to increase moisture levels in your skin and strengthen and restore the barrier between skin and the outside environment.

While shea butter can be effective as a face treatment, you can also use it to improve the look of scars and stretch marks on your body. You can apply pure shea butter to your skin or use a shea body butter formulated to replenish the skin.

Shea Butter is Anti-Inflammatory

Shea butter contains anti-inflammatory properties, largely due to the plant esters it contains.

When applied to the skin, the shea triggers inflammatory cells to slow their production. Therefore, shea butter can help minimize the irritation caused by environmental factors and calm inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema.

Shea Butter Has Multiple Uses For The Skin

The benefits of shea butter for the skin are extensive. Uses of the butter include:

  • Increase collagen production for improved skin elasticity
  • Cell regeneration
  • Reduce stretch marks and scarring
  • Reduce the appearance of wrinkles
  • Added sun protection
  • Promote wound healing
  • Soothe muscle soreness

Unrefined Shea Butter vs Refined Shea Butter

Unrefined shea butter has a strong aroma that most people find unappealing. This is because unrefined shea butter is not processed. It retains all of its nutrients, vitamins, and fatty acids.

Refined shea butter, on the other hand, is processed through steam or chemical extraction to remove its distinct odor and color. Refined shea butter is considered more convenient for most uses, but unrefined shea butter retains more of its benefits.

Differences Between Mango Butter and Shea Butter for Skin

As you can see, there are many similarities between mango butter vs shea butter for the skin.

Both mango butter and shea butter contain useful vitamins, both are moisturizing for the skin, and you can use both to reduce skin dryness and damage. However, you will have also noticed that there are a few differences.

  • Mango butter is more nutrient-dense than shea butter, so its antioxidant content and fatty acid profile make it a richer and more potent moisturizer.
  • Unrefined mango butter has a surprisingly subtle natural scent, more so than shea butter. Conversely, unrefined shea butter has a nutty and woody smell which is significantly stronger.
  • Mango butter tends to have a softer texture than shea butter, which makes it easier to apply.

Final Thoughts: Mango Butter vs Shea Butter For Skin

At the end of the day, the best butter comes down to skin type and personal preference. Both mango butter and shea butter will work wonders for your skin, but you should choose the butter that best fits your requirements to get the most out of them.

Don’t forget that these butters are multi-taskers. You can also use both butters on your hair (like cocoa butter) to strengthen your tresses and reduce breakage.

Thanks for reading, and until next time, here’s to your good skin health!

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