Shea butter and coconut oil are two ingredients that are common in natural skincare products. While they are both excellent emollients and moisturizers, each has its own distinct benefits owing to antioxidants and other healing compounds. While it's widely maintained that both Shea butter and coconut oil also act as sunscreens, they only provide minimal added protection. Therefore, only use them alongside, not in place of, your everyday sunscreen.
Shea butter, derived from the nuts of the Karite tree, contains fatty oils that provide intense moisturizing capability. It is rich in vitamins C and E which help to neutralize sun damage, and has been known to have anti-inflammatory properties that help treat topical skin conditions such as dermatitis.
The fatty acids in coconut oil work as a reinforcing barrier on the skin, sealing moisture in for intense, long-lasting hydration. It also contains high quantities of lauric acid, which can be used to treat viral, fungal and bacterial skin conditions like warts, athletes foot or acne. Coconut oil is often an ingredient in creams and lotions but can also be found in body scrubs and soaps.