Are your elbows dry and scratchy? How about your knees—are they creased and ashy? If so, it’s your body’s way of telling you that it needs moisture! And moisture doesn’t just mean water, or any old lotion. When your skin becomes that dry and thirsty, it needs a combination of rich and penetrating essential fatty acids to deliver and lock in the precious moisture that your skin is so desperately longing for. Heed your skin’s desperate call and give it exactly what it needs: raw African Shea butter, and lots of it.

The beauty about truly authentic raw African Shea butter is that it not only heals and moisturizes, but also protects. The thick texture of this plant butter lends itself perfectly to healing the skincare woes that require some external protection from the elements, while also locking in the precious moisture it delivers.

One of the reasons that raw Shea butter is so therapeutic and healing to damaged and dry skin is because it contains a very high percentage of Oleic Acid, an essential fatty acid that is especially equipped for delivering rich moisture that protects and nourishes the membranes of our skin cells, keeping them elastic and juicy. Shea butter also contains high levels of vitamin E, a potent skin rejuvenating antioxidant that also contributes to keeping the skin soft, nourished and glowing. The combination of vitamin E and Oleic Acid is a potent restorative match for skin that is dry, flaky and rough.

Another great way to start to heal and restore these dry and cracked areas is to compliment your daily Shea butter (or other rich plant oil) application with regular exfoliation. This can look like using something like a sugar or salt scrub, dry skin brushing, or even a pumice stone (gently!). By exfoliating on a regular basis, you remove the layer of dead skin cells that is contributing to the dry and rough texture of your skin, while also making way for the Shea butter to sink into your skin faster and deeper.

If you’ve got a jar of Shea butter hanging around in your cabinet, break it out and slather it on! Don’t have any Shea butter on hand, but still desperate for some relief in the meantime? You could try Cocoa butter or Coconut oil instead. While their compositions are not the same as Shea, it’ll still go a long way in restoring the moisture in your elbows and knees. Either way, your skin will thank you!