Is shea butter or coconut oil better for skin?
Although coconut oil and shea butter are similar products, they are also very different. Which product you choose to use really depends on what you are trying to achieve.
Below, I cover what coconut oil and shea butter are and their benefits. I then do a full comparison between these products covering both their differences and similarities and which works best for eczema, stretch marks and more. I also discuss whether you can use them on your skin together.
What Is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is, of course, an oil derived from coconuts. Specifically, the oil is dried from the meat of the coconut. Although it is called an “oil”, coconut oil is a semi-liquid that is thick and spreadable. It melts to a liquid at about 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius).
People use coconut oil all the time because it has a lot of health benefits, and it is versatile. You can use it on the outside of your body to treat your hair and skin. You can also cook with it to ensure your insides are receiving many great nutrients.
However, not all dieticians are convinced that coconut oil is the healthiest oil to cook with. It consists of about 80% saturated fats. It’s not recommended to eat more than 10% saturated fats everyday. For someone eating 2,000 calories a day, this equates to 20 grams of saturated fat. It’s not likely that you’ll exceed this daily amount with coconut oil alone, however, so it is generally healthy to use in your dishes.
Although coconut oil is 80% saturated fat, it consists of MCT (medium chain triglycerides) fats. This is different than many other products — such as animal fats — than are made up mostly of LCT (long chain triglycerides) fats. MCTs are much easier to burn off because your body cannot easily store them.
Benefits Of Coconut Oil For Skin
Although there is much debate over exactly how healthy coconut oil is, the bottom line is that it can do great things for the body.
It Nourishes Your Skin & Lips
There are multiple ways in which you can use coconut oil to soothe your skin. Many people use it as a kind of shaving cream, lotion, and lip balm.
First, coconut oil makes a great shaving cream because it protects against razor burn while also making for a smoother shave. Besides that, the coconut oil will be massaged into your skin while you shave, effectively moisturizing it.
Why does coconut oil make such a great shaving cream, though? Firstly, it smooths out very easily, so you only need to use a small amount. This can save you a lot of money. As we all know, commercially-produced shaving creams can get quite expensive.
The oil also contains antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. The oil acts as a barrier between your skin and the razor, preventing any contaminants from entering your skin. Because it has anti-inflammatory properties, it is also great at preventing razor burn.
Besides all that, coconut oil is simply moisturizing. When you use the oil while shaving, most of it will sink into your skin, so you won’t even have to wash most of it off. When it permeates your skin, it will moisturize it and help it to be healthier.
Coconut oil is also great to use to moisturize your lips. Your lips are one of the most sensitive areas on your body, so it’s better to avoid less-natural products like chapstick and lip balm. Instead, try combining a bit of coconut oil and beeswax for the perfect lip balm. Find my favorite recipe here.
It Makes A Natural Deodorant
Manufactured deodorants are filled with harmful chemicals and ingredients. If you’d prefer something more natural, give coconut oil a try.
The oil makes an effective deodorant because its scent is very light, and it visibly reduces the amount of sweat your underarms will produce.
It Treats Diaper Rash
Diaper rash can occur if a diaper is left on for too long, if the diaper is too tight, or if the baby has sensitive skin, among other reasons. Diaper rash is a scaly, red rash that loves to develop in warm and moist places. This is why it is particularly common on a baby’s bum.
Fortunately, you can safely use natural coconut oil to treat your baby’s diaper rash. Just be sure not to purchase any processed oil as the extra ingredients could cause more irritation.
Coconut oil is great for treating diaper rash because it has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It also has antioxidants, Vitamin E, as well as moisturizing properties. These factors all help to moisturize the baby’s skin while also healing the irritating rash. The thickness of the oil also acts as a barrier to prevent the diaper from causing any more problems.
What Is Shea Butter?
Like coconut oil, shea butter is also derived from a plant. Shea butter comes from the shea tree and is a type of seed fat. The oil is extracted from two kernels that are found within the seed which contain the oil.
Once the kernel is removed, it will then be ground into a powder and boiled in water. The butter will rise to the top of the water where it becomes solid. This product is what we call shea butter.
Benefits Of Shea Butter For Skin
Shea butter is great for the body and can be used for a variety of things. Some of its most common uses are for moisturizing the skin, treating acne, treating burns, and treating dandruff. It is also commonly used as a healthy fat in cooking.
It’s Great For Skin
Shea butter is filled with beneficial vitamins and fatty acids that keep your skin healthy, glowing, and smooth. It works as an emollient, effectively trapping moisture deep within your skin to keep your skin hydrated and smooth.
Further, shea butter works to restore the natural amount of lipids that should be found within the skin. Lipids easily absorb into the skin, providing your skin with extra moisture.
Shea butter is rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and E. These properties protect your skin from free radicals, reducing the signs of aging like wrinkles and dark spots.
Because shea butter is so moisturizing, it also acts as a good barrier against outside pollutants. The butter is very thick, so as it’s moisturizing your skin, it will also prevent dirt, chemicals, and bacteria from entering your pores.
It Promotes Wound Healing
One of the many problems associated with wounds and pain is inflammation. Fortunately, shea butter has properties that make it an effective anti-inflammatory product. It reduces swelling of the skin while also easing pain and irritation. This can help with conditions such as general wounds, acne, burns, and eczema.
Shea butter also has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that can help it fight infection. It kills bacteria to treat issues like athlete’s foot, dandruff, acne, and ringworm.
Besides that, shea butter helps the skin by generating new skin cells. Every day, your body will lose 30-40,000 skin cells. However, if you regularly use shea butter as a moisturizer, these cells will all be replaced faster than they are lost.
The generation of new skin cells helps keep your skin feeling and appearing healthier. It can also prevent the formation of scars, or reduce the appearance of existing scars.
It Doesn’t Contain Allergens
There can always be exceptions to this rule, but for the general population, shea butter contains no allergens. Shea butter is classified as a “tree nut”, but it does not have any of the properties that cause an allergic reaction in those usually allergic to tree nuts.
Still, if you’re worried, always take caution. Try a small amount of butter on a section of your skin before just slathering it everywhere.
Coconut Oil Vs Shea Butter For Skin
Coconut oil and shea butter both have great properties that can make them useful for treating our bodies. Both products are great for moisturizing the skin and making it appear and feel healthier. Likewise, they are both great for making your hair stronger and more moisturized.
However, there are quite a few differences between the two products as well. So, coconut oil or shea butter for body: which is better? What about shea butter or coconut oil for skin?
What Is The Difference Between Shea Butter And Coconut Oil For Skin?
Although shea butter and coconut oil are very similar, they also have many notable differences.
Shea Butter Vs Coconut Oil For Eczema
Can you use shea butter and coconut oil for eczema? Both of these products are really great for soothing eczema, although shea butter comes out on top.
Coconut oil cannot cure eczema, although it can reduce the symptoms associated with it. Coconut oil will sooth your skin by reducing itching and irritation. Regular use of coconut oil will also prevent you from developing eczema in the first place.
Shea butter, on the other hand, can effectively treat the symptoms of eczema and get rid of the infection. Shea butter has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties which treat symptoms of eczema and prevent infection. Although eczema is not an infection itself, it will cause you to be more susceptible to skin infections.
It also introduces moisture to the skin to prevent the infection in the first place, and keeps the skin hydrated to prevent a break out in the future.
Shea Butter Vs Coconut Oil For Stretch Marks
Neither shea butter or coconut oil is really better when it comes to reducing the appearance of stretch marks.
They both contain antioxidants that fight free radicals to reduce the appearance of stretch marks over time. They both also have healing properties that can help repair and moisturize the skin.
Shea Butter Vs Coconut Oil For Skin
Similar to the answer above, neither coconut oil or shea butter is really better than the other. They are both great for the skin: hydrating your skin and generating new skin cells to repair damage.
However, if I had to choose, I’d say that coconut oil stands out a bit more than shea butter.
You are able to use coconut oil to shave your skin, so you can prevent razor burn while also moisturizing your skin at the same time. It’s an effective product for naturally hydrating lips, and you can even use it as a deodorant.
Long story short, coconut oil simply has more uses for the skin.
Can You Use Coconut Oil And Shea Butter For Skin Together?
Yes, there is no reason you can’t use both together. In fact, this way you’ll get both the benefits of shea butter and coconut oil for skin. Combining coconut oil mixed with shea butter for skin is the best way to really achieve your skincare goals.
My favorite way is coconut oil and shea butter whipped together in a body butter. You can find my body butter recipe here.
As you can see, although shea butter and coconut oil have their differences, they are both great products for moisturizing your skin and hair. Coconut oil has its advantages, such as using it for diaper rash or using it as a deodorant. However, shea butter also has its advantages, such as being able to treat eczema.
Whatever your needs may be, one of these products should be able to help.
Find out more about how shea butter is made here and how it compares to shea oil here or how coconut oil is compared to avocado oil here. You can also find all our guides to shea butter here and coconut oil here.