Shea butter is a skin superfood that comes from the seeds of the fruit of the Shea (Karite) tree. It may offer mild UV protection (up to SPF ~6) and provides the skin with essential fatty acids and the nutrients necessary for collagen production.
Shea butter has been used in Africa and many other locations for years to improve skin and hair. It also has a long history of medicinal use, such as in wound care and even treating leprosy.
It’s also not uncommon in that part of the world to eat shea as well, much as we use palm oil in products. There are differing opinions on whether or not it’s healthy to eat, and since some studies suggest that ingesting shea butter may interfere with the digestion of other proteins, I use it externally only.