If you deal with dry skin, there’s a decent chance that at least one butter is present in your skincare routine. Butters—like shea butter or cocoa butter—are renowned for their intensely moisturising properties. And although you can find a plethora of products that contain them, they tend to also work wonders when used on their own, making butters some of the hardest-working ingredients around. However, there’s another butter that’s been around just as long, but which is only now getting its time to shine: mango butter.
If you’re an ingredient-phile like us, get comfortable, because when it comes to mango butter benefits for skin, you’re in for quite the list. As it turns out, mango butter is chock full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that far exceed the moisturising and barrier-boosting abilities of other better-known butters, even setting it up to be a potential anti-ageing wonder.
We sat down with two leading dermatologists for a deep dive into mango butter benefits for skin, and how to incorporate this super-ingredient into your routine.
- Dr Dustin Portela, DO, is a board-certified dermatologist at Treasure Valley Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center in Boise, Idaho. He also shares tips with his 2.2 million+ TikTok followers.
- Dr Jodi LoGerfo, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, DCNP, is a doctor of nursing practice and a family nurse practitioner certified in family medicine and dermatology with the Orentreich Medical Group in New York City.
Type of Ingredient: Emollient
Main Benefits: Moisturising, protecting, repairing, antioxidant
Who Should Use It: In general, people with dry, itchy skin, as well as those looking for a regular moisturiser with protective and reparative properties. However, those who are allergic or sensitive to mangoes should avoid it.
How Often Can You Use It: Up to twice a day.
Works Well With: Other types of emollient ingredients including coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, mild essential oils, etc.
Don’t Use With: Severely acne-prone skin, other potential irritants.
What is mango butter?
Mango butter is a type of fat that comes from the seeds of the mango, Dr LoGerfo explains. The fat is usually extracted from the seed by cold pressing it into a creamy butter. It can be refined or unrefined (unrefined usually undergoes one pressing cycle and avoids heat or added chemicals). Mango butter is a solid at room temperature and is often used in cosmetics because of its high oxidative stability, meaning it is stable when it comes into contact with air.
In addition to being a natural antioxidant, Dr Portela points out that what makes mango butter a popular ingredient in skincare and haircare products is its intense moisturising and anti-inflammatory properties. “Mango butter has a lightweight texture, making it an easy to use moisturiser for the face or body. It has antioxidant properties and high levels of saturated fatty acids so it can be great as a natural solution to dry skin.” And as a natural compound it will have a slightly sweet and fatty aroma to it, which some may not care for, however, note that it does not smell like actual mango.
Benefits of mango butter for skin
While actual scientific studies on mango butter are minimal, and mainly focus on its ability to protect skin and enhance healing, both of our experts were quick to point out the many potential mango butter benefits for skin come down to the various compounds it contains. The good news is that, unless you’re allergic or sensitive to mangoes, mango butter’s benefits can typically be enjoyed by everyone.
- Super Hydrator: Thanks to its butter-like texture, Dr LoGerfo says mango butter is a powerful emollient for dry skin, forming a naturally occlusive, protective barrier that could help to boost skin’s own natural barrier function.
- Helps Fight Fine Lines, Wrinkles and Sun Damage: Mango butter is stacked with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that set it up with some pretty potent anti-ageing properties, says Dr LoGerfo. A high percentage of tocopherols (vitamin E) could help fight environmental stressors like UV rays, pollution, and even visible light. Vitamin A can help decrease sun-related skin damage, and phytosterols—which are natural skin-loving compounds similar to cholesterol—help support a healthy skin barrier.
- Protects skin: Dr LoGerfo says that mango butter contains triterpenes, which are plant compounds that have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties that can help protect skin and aid in the repair of dry, irritated, and generally upset skin.
- Helps Repair Hair and Reduce Breakage: Thanks to its high concentration of fatty acids, Dr Portela says mango butter can be used as an overnight hair mask to increase natural shine and help reduce breakage. “It can also be beneficial for scalp health with its antifungal and antimicrobial properties,” Dr LoGerfo added. “Since it is highly emollient, it can moisturise the outer cuticle of the hair and help prevent damage.” Read more on the wonders of mango butter for hair here.
- Helps Support Collagen Health: Dr LoGerfo says the nutrient-rich butter contains a large amount of vitamin C, which may help improve the production of collagen—the primary structural protein in skin and connective tissues.
Side effects of mango butter
As idyllic (and delicious) as it sounds, mango butter’s benefits for skin may not be so beneficial to everyone. Particularly prone to problems are those who are allergic or sensitive to mangoes, so Dr LoGerfo recommends watching for rashes, redness, itching and other common allergic symptoms when first using mango butter. If you’re not sure about allergies, she says it’s a good idea to spot-test by applying a tiny amount of mango butter to a small spot on your body. If, after three days, there’s no sign of a reaction, it’s probably safe to use mango butter all over.
Although mango butter has a comedogenic rating of 2, making it safe to use on most skin types, Dr LoGerfo cautions those with severe acne to steer clear of it and opt for something less occlusive.
Dr Portela says that those with any type of fungal infection of the skin or conditions including tinea versicolor should avoid using a butter moisturizer like mango butter. He explains that the organisms underlying each condition feed off the fatty acids in our skin oils, which would only be augmented by the fatty acids in the mango butter. Instead, he recommends treating the infection properly before using mango butter as a moisturiser.
How to use it
Both doctors said that mango butter can be slathered pretty much anywhere on the body, including the face. Dr LoGerfo recommends starting with a dime-sized amount and rubbing it between your hands to warm it up until it melts. Then massage into your skin, where it will quickly be absorbed. As with any skin moisturiser, it is safe to use mango butter twice a day. If you have more oily skin, consider using it less frequently, sort of an as-needed basis.
Mango butter is great for combining with other ingredients for the ideal skin-health cocktail, says Dr Portela, as the high concentration of fatty acids and antioxidants are elemental to both sensitive skin and anti-ageing routines.
Mango butter is also quite versatile for hair. In addition to the leave-in conditioning mask Dr Portela mentioned, Dr LoGerfo says you can also use it as a pre-shampoo treatment or even add some mango butter to your shampoo or conditioner.
This story first appeared on www.byrdie.com
(Credit for the hero and featured image: Tatjana Zlatkovic / Stocksy)
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: While both mango butter and shea butter are emollients extracted from the seeds of their respective plants, mango butter tends to be softer and easier to work within its solid form, thus also making it ideal for blending with other ingredients.
Answer: Dr LoGerfo says that mango butter rates at a 2 of the comedogenic scale, which makes it optimal for most skin types, excluding very oily or acne-prone. However, used correctly, mango butter can be a very effective emollient ingredient for both face and body skin.
Answer: Dr Portela says the lightweight texture and antioxidant properties of mango butter make it an ideal moisturizer for both the face and body. As such, you can use it 1-2 times a day, as you would any moisturizer.