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Brown Spots: How to Remedy Them with Shea Butter?

Brown spots are areas of hyperpigmented skin that can appear on the face, hands, or other parts of the body. Thanks to its biochemical composition, shea butter possesses numerous benefits for the skin. In this article, we provide advice on how to prevent and reduce these brown spots using shea butter.

Published July 11, 2023, updated on January 31, 2024, by Manon, Scientific Editor — 5 min read

Brown spots: origins, causes, and definitions.

The brown spots are areas of skin hyperpigmented, ranging from light brown to dark brown. They are due to a dysfunction of the skin's pigment cell : the melanocyte. There are 3 types of brown spots:

  • Solar Lentigo: these are the brown spots caused by the photo-aging of the skin. They are caused by the oxidative stress triggered by free radicals. These are promoted by prolonged exposure to the sun, pollution, and age.

  • Melasma: Also known as the mask of pregnancy, it refers to the brown spots that appear following a disruption of hormonal functions. The female hormones, the estrogens and progesterone, stimulate the production of melanin. Therefore, women are more prone to brown spots than men. The skin naturally produces melanin to protect itself from UV rays. When the functions of hormones are altered, the production of melanin occurs irregularly. This imbalance can cause an excess of melanin in certain areas, resulting in brown spots.

  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmented marks: These result from an overproduction of melanin following inflammation (injuries, burns, blemishes, acne...). This type of pigmented spot is triggered by the way the skin regenerates after inflammation.

Brown spots are typically found on the hands, face, back, and chest. However, there are treatments available that use shea butter to soothe their appearance and prevent their occurrence.

Shea butter to prevent the appearance of brown spots.

Shea butter possesses intriguing properties for preventing the appearance of brown spots. Rich in vitamin E, shea butter is a natural antioxidant. It is capable of donating an electron to a free radical without becoming unstable. The free radical is stabilized, less reactive, and the oxidation cascade of molecules is halted. This is beneficial in preventing oxidative stress.

Triterpenic alcohol cinnamate esters, the main component of the unsaponifiable fraction of shea butter, have a high absorption of UV rays between 250 and 300 nm. When added to a sunscreen, they synergistically increase the absorption of UVB rays. It is these UV rays that are responsible for the development of free radicals. However, studies have shown that this triterpene fraction only provides a low sun protection factor: a SPF of 4. Daily application of shea butter on the skin, before sunscreen, will protect it from UV rays and limit the appearance of brown spots. In addition, its antioxidant properties help prevent oxidative stress.

Shea butter also has additional defenses against UV rays. It nourishes the skin and maintains a healthy epidermis. Thanks to this, the epidermis establishes its hydrolipidic barrier that protects it from external aggressions and limits the formation of brown spots.

When brown spots disappear, they can reappear at any time, especially after exposure without sun protection. Shea butter is recommended for daily skin care. Completely natural, this ingredient is gentle and tolerated by all skin types. It is particularly recommended for dry or mature skin.

Shea butter to diminish the appearance of brown spots.

Shea butter is often touted as an effective treatment to limit the signs of skin aging. Studies suggest that shea butter may inhibit the process of melanogenesis, the process during which melanin is produced and distributed by melanosomes in the epidermis, leading to the formation of brown spots. It could thus help to reduce pigmentation spots by decreasing the melanin levels in the skin cells.

However, we recommend, in addition to using shea butter, exfoliating your skin once or twice a week. Indeed, to remove dead cells loaded with melanin, scrubbing remains the preferred solution. For your face, you can use our Radiant Face Scrub with Rosehip Oil. It is enriched with organic rosehip oil , which is regenerating and unifying, as well as with organic carrot macerate, an excellent active ingredient for a healthy glow. For your body, the use of the Nourishing Body Scrub with Sweet Almond Oil helps to nourish, soften, and smooth the skin. Enriched with sweet almond oil, known for its nourishing properties, as well as with super lavender essential oil, recognized for its regenerating and healing virtues, this body scrub rids the skin of its dead cells thanks to the micro grains of apricot kernels.


  • AKIHISA T. & al. Triterpene glycosides and other polar constituents of shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) kernels and their bioactivities. Phytochemistry (2014).

  • ROTSZTEJN H. & al. Lactic and lactobionic acids as typically moisturizing compounds. International Journal of Dermatology (2018).


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