When reading the ingredient list in your skin care product, you may come across the word “squalane” or “squalene.”
What’s this? It sounds a little chemical. Is this something you should avoid?
What is Squalene/Squalane?
Squalane is definitely not a toxic chemical. It’s a natural substance or “oil” that’s naturally manufactured in human skin, where it offers protection and hydration. It’s also found in olives, rice bran, wheat germ, palm trees, and shark livers.
Squalane and squalene are basically the same thing, though squalane is considered a more stable version. Squalane is created when the natural fat in the oil is concentrated, which helps extend its shelf life. Before that process, it’s very unstable, and can go rancid quickly, so squalane is the preferred form for beauty products.
Squalene is produced by the sebaceous glands, or pores, and plays an important role in moisturizing the skin. It also helps create an environment on the surface of the skin that is inhospitable to bacteria and other microorganisms, helping to protect the body from damaging bugs and toxins.
In our early life, squalene is plentiful in skin, but as we age, we produce less and less of it, which is part of the reason why skin tends to get drier as we get older.
What Does Squalane Do?
Squalane is a super-duper skin moisturizer. It’s actually been around for a long time and has been used in beauty products for decades, but shark livers were the main source for its production. That wasn’t the most sustainable source, however, and was not attractive to many animal advocates.
When companies started producing squalane from plant sources, it became much more popular, and for good reason. When applied to skin, it can create a number of beneficial effects:
- Moisturizes: Squalene is a natural moisturizer, but one of its talents is that it can penetrate deeply into the skin, moisturizing at deeper levels to create a healthier, plumper look. Because it mimics your natural sebum (the oil in your skin), it is absorbed easily into the skin, and goes to work immediately to increase moisture.
- Locks moisture in: In addition to providing extra moisture, squalene also helps lock it in once it’s there, so it doesn’t evaporate away so quickly.
- Helps ease dry patches: People with stubborn, dry skin and skin conditions that cause dry patches often struggle to find something that will help. Squalane oil is one of the few ingredients that can truly make a difference in softening and smoothing problematic skin.
- Hides fine lines and wrinkles: Deep-penetrating moisture is deadly to fine lines and wrinkles, and squalene is particularly helpful in hiding these premature signs of aging. Though it works for all skin types, it’s definitely effective in aging or mature skin, as it provides that penetrating moisture that helps smooth the appearance of wrinkles.
- Great for eye and lip treatment: Because squalane is so recognizable by the skin, it soaks in easily on the undereye area and on the lips, moisturizing and healing dry and chapped areas.
- Provides antioxidant protection: Every day the skin is assaulted by damaging free radicals that come from UV rays, pollution, stress, poor diet, and more. Constant bombardment by these free radicals can produce signs of premature aging, including dark spots, dullness, fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging. Squalene works as an antioxidant on the skin, helping to neutralize these elements and potentially warding off premature aging.
- Reduces risk of acne: Squalene is a natural moisturizer, but because it does not clog pores and doesn’t leave behind any residue, it works just as well for oily skin as dry skin. It can help regulate and balance natural skin oils, and because it also helps neutralize bacteria, it can help reduce acne breakouts.
- Perfect for sensitive skin: Squalane is non-irritating, so it works well if you have sensitive skin.
- Works just as well for hair: Squalane oil can also be applied to the hair, where it moisturizes, protects, and prevents from damage.
- Great for cuticles: Dry cuticles lead to dry nails, but squalene works great as a cuticle oil. Just rub it in and watch your nails improve.
We love using squalane in our CV Skinlabs products for all these reasons. If you want a truly moisturizing, protecting, anti-aging product, check out the squalane (plant-derived from olives) in our Calming Moisture and Restorative Skin Balm.
What do you think of squalane oil?