Shea butter is mainly used in the cosmetics industry for skin- and hair-related products. It is also used by soap makers, because it has plenty of unsaponifiables, and higher amounts result in softer soaps that have less cleaning abilities. Some artisan soap makers use shea butter in amounts to 25% - with the EU regulating the maximum use around 28%, but it is rarely the case in commercially produced soap due to its high cost against oils like palm or pomace (olive).
It is an excellent emollient for people who suffer dry skin conditions. No evidence shows it is a cure, but it alleviates the pain associated with tightness and itching.