Nowadays, it seems like every beauty product features squalane. The trending skincare ingredient is known to treat stubborn acne, protect the skin against pollution, and be highly moisturizing.
But what exactly is squalane, and should you be slathering it all over your face like everyone else seems to be doing?
What is Squalene?
Squalane is a colorless, poly-unsaturated hydrocarbon liquid found naturally in many plants and animals, including human sebum. It’s one of the many natural lipids your body creates to lubricate and protect your skin. Squalane is estimated to make up around 10 to 12 percent of your skin’s oil.
Traditionally, squalane was extracted from the livers of sharks, where it’s found naturally in high concentrations. Fun fact: this is where squalane gets its rather funny-sounding name, as Squalus is a genus of sharks.
However, for ethical reasons, many major beauty brands have moved away from shark-derived squalane, using other, more animal-friendly alternatives sourced from plants.
Squalane is also abundant in olive oil and can be extracted from rice bran, sugar cane, and wheat germ.
Unfortunately, because of squalane’s power and popularity, the ingredient is often still harvested in unethical ways, such as the extraction from shark’s liver. However, if you’re responsible about where you source squalane, you needn’t worry.
The ingredient comes in two very similar-sounding forms, squalene and squalane, which can be a little confusing. Both are equally effective, but it’s best to opt for squalane as it has a longer shelf-life as it’s more stable.
The Benefits of Squalane
Let’s get stuck into some of the many benefits of squalane.
As a constituent of the skin’s natural moisture barrier, squalane helps maintain barrier function and hydration.
If you need a quick refresher, the skin barrier protects your skin from environmental stressors like radiation and pollution. It also transports nutrients, like antioxidants and water, to the skin.
Our body’s natural squalane production reduces as we age, making our skin drier and duller looking. Thankfully, we can use topical squalane in our skincare routines to help treat this natural moisture loss and to keep the skin plump and hydrated.
A Powerful Emollient
There are three different types of moisturizers.
These are humectants, such as hyaluronic acid, occlusives like petroleum, and emollients, like olive oil.
Squalane is an emollient, helping to moisturize and heal dry, rough skin for a smoother texture and appearance. Emollients also help to enhance skin flexibility and suppleness for plumper, brighter-looking skin.
As we mentioned earlier, the squalane produced in our bodies is closely involved in maintaining the skin’s barrier’s health. One of the skin barrier’s essential roles is protecting the body from environmental aggressors, such as pollution and sun exposure.
Prevents Signs of Aging
When blended into skincare products, stabilized squalane helps neutralize damaging free radicals to keep the skin strong, stable, and healthy. These powerful antioxidant properties make squalane an excellent addition to anti-aging serums and oils.
Oxidative stress is one of the main factors contributing to visible skin aging. Chronic sun exposure accounts for up to a whopping 80 percent of skin aging – so be sure to always slather on sunscreen.
Using antioxidant-rich beauty ingredients can help neutralize the effects of free radicals and reduce the amount of stress they place on the skin. As a result, this can help your skin look younger for longer.
As the delicate eye area is among the first to present visible signs of aging, adding a hydrating eye cream to your skincare routine is a good idea.
Products Containing Squalane
There are many types of products containing squalane to enhance the skin. Here are some of our best-recommended.
PCA Skin Silkcoat Balm
PCA Skin Silkcoat Balm is brimming with antioxidants, advanced botanicals, and hydrolyzed silk, making it the ultimate nighttime treatment for dry, dehydrated, or mature skin types. It also works wonders for post-procedure skin smoothing and repair when your complexion needs as much TLC as possible.
The balm, of course, contains squalane to keep the skin moist, supple, and hydrated.
Cosmedix Restore Moisture-Rich Mask
Is your skin looking and feeling dull? Then reach for the Cosmedix Restore Moisture-Rich Mask to transform your complexion into one that’s radiant and glowing.
The mask comes in plane-ready packaging, making it perfect if you’re on the go. The formula is infused with squalane and mango seed butter, making it ultra-nourishing and hydrating for plumper-looking skin. The mask treats the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improving the look of texture.
The result? Healthier, softer, and younger-looking skin.
Do you want more skincare advice? Learn whether you can use retinol indefinitely here .