Japanese research suggests maybe!
While some research has been done on shea butter and its greatness, much remains unknown. Researchers in Japan, however, suggest that shea may inhibit cancer – because it contains compounds known to do so. Here’s the paper they wrote.
The researchers identified compounds in shea butter that are known to inhibit cancer. While more research is needed, it’s not unreasonable to infer that shea helps inhibit cancer thanks to these compounds.
Shea nuts are cracked open and then ground up for boiling, in order to extract the fat that is shea butter.
Interestingly, skin cancer is uncommon in West Africa where I grew up. However, that’s probably because almost every West African has dark skin, which has more melanin, which protects the skin. Still, it cannot hurt to use real 100% shea, which has an estimated 6 sun protection factor (SPF).
Experts recommend using at least a 15 SPF sunscreen and reapplying it frequently for moderate sun exposure. See The Skin Cancer Foundation’s recommendations here. But, if you consider that melanin in African skin gives it a natural SPF of about 13, adding 6 more with shea cannot hurt!
Read more about skin color and skin cancer here: http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/skin-cancer-and-skin-of-color
While cancer is obviously terrible, UV radiation also prematurely ages human skin. And when it comes to keeping skin moisturized and healthy, lotions with shea – lots of shea – are perhaps the best products you can use!