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Shea Butter for Pregnancy Stretch Marks (+ Shea Butter Recipe!)

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Shea Butter for Pregnancy Stretch Marks
Updated: July 17, 2023
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Pregnancy can completely change your body and leave you with some unwanted battle scars. Stretch marks definitely fall under this category. 

The appearance of stretch marks has many women running to the drugstore or googling the best remedies. Shea butter is one of the most popular remedies that come up.

Since your body is expanding and then shrinking quickly, you may be left with stretch marks as a souvenir of these changes as collagen and elastin rupture. As the skin heals itself, stretch marks may appear. The hormonal changes during pregnancy play a huge role in this area.

Related: The Best Skincare for Pregnancy Acne 

 Shea butter for stretch marks has long been a woman’s go-to when she wants to get rid of stretch marks. But does it really work? 

We’re going to get under the surface of this popular remedy to see if it really does help eliminate pregnancy stretch marks as well as look at other products that can possibly help.

What is shea butter?

Shea butter is a fat that is extracted from the nuts of shea trees 

Shea trees are native to West Africa so most shea butter comes from that area. Shea butter contains a high concentration of vitamins and fatty acids that are easy to spread.

Shea butter is naturally rich in vitamins A, and E. Vitamin A is used to treat many different skin conditions including dry skin, wrinkles, and blemishes. Vitamin E is known for its restorative and healing properties.

The anti-inflammatory properties of Shea butter are also worth mentioning because they can help to fight off yeast and other bacteria. These bacteria can cause acne, eczema, itchy skin, and other skin conditions.

How can shea butter help fight stretch marks?

It’s important to know that shea butter is not a miracle stretch mark cream to erase all pregnancy stretchmarks, but it can help to reduce their appearance. Using shea butter to moisturize the skin can help to reduce the appearance, redness, and itching that stretch marks can cause. 

One of the benefits of shea butter is that it works to promote cell growth and curb the reproduction of scar tissues. Since shea butter is rich in Vitamin A, it also increases skin elasticity. The fatty acids and vitamins found in shea butter also help to improve essential skin nutrient production.

Shea butter can make your stretch marks look better because it has a hydrating and plumping effect, which lessens the wrinkling of old stretch marks. If you’re using shea butter to treat stretch marks, it can also help to strengthen the damaged skin and protect it from UV radiation.

Can I use shea butter on my belly during pregnancy?

Can I use shea butter on my belly during pregnancy?
Image source: Getty Images

Research shows that shea butter is one of the safest skincare products, along with aloe vera, cocoa butter, and coconut oil. Shea butter is safe to use during pregnancy.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends checking with your doctor first before using some treatments to treat stretch marks. This is because some products contain ingredients like retinol, which can harm your baby. 

Does shea butter cause allergic reactions?

There are no documented cases of topical shea butter allergies. So, even if you have a tree nut allergy, you should be able to use shea butter on your skin without getting an allergic reaction

It’s always best to check with your doctor first if you do have a nut allergy, just to be on the safe side. Your doctor or dermatologist may recommend doing a patch test on your skin if you are concerned about getting an allergic reaction while pregnant. This may be the case especially if you have sensitive skin.

How long does shea butter take to remove stretch marks?

Shea butter does not remove stretch marks for pregnant women or anyone else, but shea butter helps to reduce their appearance. To see any type of results, you have to be consistent when using it. 

Typically, you should see some type of results after 30 days. But everyone’s body and skin cells are different, so this can vary.

Is shea butter or cocoa butter better for pregnancy?

While many pregnant women turn to shea butter to minimize stretch marks, others look to cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is also popular due among pregnant women due to its natural ingredients, making it safe to use. So, which one is better? The quick answer is that it comes down to personal preference.

Cocoa butter is the fat that is extracted from the cocoa bean. It also contains Vitamin K, Vitamin E, fatty acids, and antioxidants. These can all protect and heal the skin. It also contains oleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid which have been shown to reduce the signs of aging and scarring on the skin.

What is cocoa butter?

What is cocoa butter?
Image source: Getty Images

Cocoa butter is used to treat pregnancy stretch marks because it also reduces inflammation. Since stretch marks are inflamed and irritated when they first appear, cocoa butter can act as a soothing agent by nourishing the skin.

Cocoa butter as a lotion can help to protect your skin from moisture loss and is absorbed well without leaving the skin greasy and gross. It can also help to maintain the skin’s elasticity, which is another perk. But, unlike shea butter, cocoa butter can be more difficult to spread due to its texture.

Like shea butter, cocoa butter is not a miracle stretch mark eraser. It can just help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Some pregnant women try both to see which one works best on their skin type and their stretch marks.

Homemade shea butter recipe for stretch marks 

While there are many raw shea butter products on the market, you can also try a homemade shea butter recipe for stretch marks. We found this easy recipe online:


  • 3/4 cup shea butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 5 drops Vitamin E oil
  • Essential oils (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • Double boiler
  • Hand mixer
  • Mason jar for storage


  1. Melt the shea butter and coconut oil in a double boiler.
  2. Once the ingredients are melted, remove from the heat. Place the bowl in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until the ingredients start to set up. You don’t want the ingredients to be solid, just firm enough to be able to use a hand mixer on.
  3. Add in the vitamin E or essential oils if using.
  4. Slowly add the arrowroot powder while mixing the lotion with a hand mixer.
  5. Continue mixing until light and fluffy; about 3 minutes.
  6. Transfer the homemade lotion to an airtight storage container.

Once you’re done, be sure to store your homemade shea butter in a shaded area. It will stay for up to one year if you do this.

Are there other treatments for stretch marks?

If you want to stay on the natural route, olive oil can be another option. Olive oil nourishing for the skin and helps fade scars since it is rich in vitamin E. 

Coconut oil, jojoba oil, and sweet almond oil are other options you may want to consider to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. As always, be sure to check with your doctor before using any products on your skin when you’re pregnant, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Other treatments for stretch marks can include light and laser therapy. These therapies can stimulate collagen production and promote elasticity.

Microneedling, microdermabrasion, and hyaluronic acid are also other treatment options. These may promote collagen growth and help the stretch marks blend into the surrounding skin. 

Applying hyaluronic acid daily may also help prevent and treat the appearance of stretch marks. These types of treatments are not recommended for pregnant women. So, this would be something you would have to wait to get. Before starting types of treatments like these, consult with your doctor.

Final Thoughts on Postpartum Stretch Marks 

While shea butter is not a miracle fix for eliminating stretch marks while pregnant, it can help to reduce their appearance. Stretch marks are a result of weight gain and the expanding and shrinking of your body when you’re pregnant. When collagen and elastin rupture, you’re left with stretch marks.

Shea butter is seen as a treatment for stretch marks because it is all-natural and contains essential vitamins that can help to moisturize the skin. It is safe to use during pregnancy and can make your stretch marks look better because of its plumping effects that help to lessen the wrinkling of old stretch marks.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Postpartum Care

Besides shea butter, some women also like to use cocoa butter to help with stretch marks. There are other treatments available but may not be safe while pregnant. 

Remember to always check with your doctor before using any products on your skin while pregnant. You don’t want to accidentally use something that may harm your baby.

Sources +

8 Sheep Organics. (n.d.). How to Avoid Stretch Marks During Pregnancy. Retrieved from

American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD). (n.d.). Stretch marks: Why they appear and how to get rid of them. Retrieved from

Naturally Tribal Skincare. (n.d.). Shea Butter For Stretch Marks (Helpful Guide). Retrieved from

The Indian Express. (2018, July 18). Reduce stretch marks with these simple remedies. Retrieved from

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