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Mango butter, or a topical cream made with the oil from mango seeds, is becoming a popular skin supplement. Beauty bloggers say it can soften skin, protect against sun damage, clear up stretch marks, and more.

But is it all that it’s cracked up to be for cracked, dry, or sun-damaged skin? Read on for the straight science on how mango butter can benefit skin — and how it can’t.

There are a lot of claims about the many benefits of mango butter. Some benefits may include:

It’s generally non-comedogenic

It doesn’t contain compounds that are known to irritate skin, even if yours is sensitive.

One exception: If you experience acne, you may want to avoid using mango butter on your face — more on that below.

It protects from UV rays

Mango contains salicylic acid and antioxidants, which are known to protect from sun damage.

Most notably, vitamins C and E are in rich supply in mangos. A 2012 study suggests that, when combined, these two ingredients may provide some protection for your skin against environmental damage.

It’s skin-friendly

Mango contains several vitamins that are known to benefit skin and may be especially beneficial for moisturizing dry skin.

There’s no heavy scent

While you might expect a fruity zing, most people report a mild scent.

It’s antibacterial and antimicrobial

Mango may contain antibacterial properties. In a 2020 study, wool treated with mango seed oil was less susceptible to the presence of various types of bacteria.

It may make your hair shiny

The same properties that promote soft skin may also boost your hair’s natural shine and reduce scalp dryness and flakiness.

Mangoes are loaded with nutritious substances, which is partly why they’re a dietary staple around the world. They’re packed with fiber, vitamins (C, B6, A, E, and more), and minerals. They’re also a good source of folate, potassium, calcium, and beta carotene.

Many of the vitamins found in mango hold skin-improving powers, so it makes sense to blend it into a butter.

In fact, thanks to its fatty acid profile (it’s chock-full of oleic, stearic, and linoleic acids), mango butter is recommended as a substitute in beauty products for cocoa butter, a long-time skin-softening favorite.

As a topical cream, it can pass along benefits, like softer skin, and may offer UV protection. The same 2020 study mentioned above suggests that wool treated with mango seed oil showed a decreased amount of UV damage — so it may do the same for skin.

Mango butter also performed spectacularly in a small 2008 study on treatments for cracked heels. A mango butter-based solution worked better than a commercially-produced lotion regarding the reduction of scars and cracks in skin, and in increased shelf-life. It also showed similar or better results in its ability to moisturize.

It might not treat acne — and may worsen or cause it

This is one possible exception to its skin-boosting benefits.

Scour the internet, and you’ll see blogs praising mango butter’s virtues in the fight against acne — but experts aren’t so sure.

Mango oil is fine for most skin types. But some experts, including the American Academy of Dermatologists, argue that butters high in oil — like mango butter — may clog your pores and lead to acne (especially if you already have oily skin).

If you experience chronic or severe acne, you may want to speak with your doctor or dermatologist before using products with mango butter on your face.

It can’t permanently get rid of stretch marks

This is another popular claim, but it’s not true.

Antioxidants contained within mangoes, like vitamin C, have been shown to reduce redness and dark marks on skin. But nothing can eliminate stretch marks completely, despite the myriad products that advertise doing just that.

So, while slathering mango butter on your stretch marks isn’t harmful, it’s unlikely to do much.

Mango butter can’t improve your eyesight

While it’s true that mangoes are high in vitamin A — a vitamin that’s helpful in keeping your peepers in tip-top shape — you’re probably better off eating mango than slathering it on your skin if you want to reap any benefits for your eyes.

Two easy ways to eat more mango: Add it to your favorite salad or put it in a guacamole recipe.

Putting food on your skin generally isn’t recommended by professionals, but mango butter doesn’t have a reputation for causing reactions.

However, allergic reactions are always possible. If any burning, itching, or redness occurs, wash it off immediately.

Always do a patch test before trying a new product.

Mango butter isn’t made from the flesh of the fruit, but rather it’s from the oil from the seed or kernels of the mango tree.

Since it’s food, you might think you can make a DIY mango butter in your kitchen. But it’s pretty hard to find mango seed oil on its own, and it’s even harder to express it straight from the mango with household tools.

Luckily you can find it in products, like:

Mango butter is said to help skin stay soft and supple and slow signs of aging caused by UV rays. But there are limits to what it can achieve.

For the best skin care results, buy a commercially-made body butter or lotion with mango seed oil or extract.

For the full range of benefits, you’ll want to eat a mango instead of putting it on your skin.


Jody Amable is a freelance writer and editor from the San Francisco Bay Area specializing in music and subcultures. Her work has been seen in KQED Arts, Atlas Obscura, and local weeklies.