When you think of the hydrating ingredients that quench dry skin thirst, classics like hyaluronic acid and aloe vera may spring to mind. Or maybe you imagine your rosewater mist or your jar of super-hydrating petroleum jelly. But there’s also squalane for the skin, which can do a lot of good things in your beauty regimen.
However, squalane should not be confused with squalene, although they are often confused. To help you better understand how to incorporate squalane into your beauty regimen, Bustle spoke with experts for the full rundown.
We only include products that have been independently selected by the Bustle editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of the sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Squalene vs. squalane
Much like hyaluronic acid and ceramides, squalene is a substance naturally present in your body that helps keep your skin healthy. But, as is often the case with the natural moisturizing elements in your skin, all three wear out as you age, says Shiri Sarfati, Miami-based beauty expert and licensed esthetician. And that’s why hyaluronic acid, ceramides and the more stable version of squalene – aka squalado – are found in thousands of beauty products.
“Squalene is produced by the sebaceous glands and is found in the skin,” Dr. Marisa Garshick, MD, a certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Cornell University, told Bustle. “Squalene and sebum help keep the skin hydrated.”
Since your squalene levels decrease with age, you experience drier skin as you age. Therefore: Beauty consumers are turning to supplemental squalene – which is usually sharkdonkey – in their skin care routines. “Squalane is the hydrogenated version of squalane, which helps make it more stable and more easily incorporated into products,” says Garshick, adding that squalene is converted to squalane by a process called hydrogenation, that is, say a chemical reaction that reduces and / or saturates. organic compounds. “If squalene were not hydrogenated, it would oxidize when exposed to air and no longer have its benefits. As a result, squalane can be considered more stable, ”she says.
Squalene is also a very controversial ingredient because historically it has been harvested from shark liver oil. So, squaway can be considered the “vegan” version of the compound, as it does not come from sharks or any other animal. “Squalane is more widely used in the cosmetics industry today because it is derived from plant sources including olives and sugar cane and works well in a variety of formulas,” explains Sarfati.
Benefits of squalane for the skin
The main benefit of using squalane is its hydrating prowess. “It is believed that the use of squalane helps replenish our natural oils by mimicking our natural sebum,” explains Garshick. “It can work for hair, nails and skin. In fact, Vince Spinnato, cosmetic chemist and CEO and founder of TurnKey Beauty Inc., notes that the hydrating benefits of squalane have taken it beyond skin care. “It’s now in hair care, skin care, bathing and the body,” he told Bustle.
Squalane is also known to be soothing to the complexion. “Squalane is an incredible anti-inflammatory,” explains Spinnato. For this reason, it is a great ingredient to use if your skin barrier is damaged. “More and more clients are experiencing compromised skin barriers due to harsh chemicals, excessive exfoliation and aggressive treatments that have left the skin red, itchy, inflamed, dry and compromised,” says Sarfati. “Squalane is perfect for addressing the immediate concerns of clients with this disease because it provides sufficient hydration.” She adds that it works as a barrier to help lock in moisture in the skin, which is essential for keeping your complexion healthy.
Squalane may also help other ingredients in your skin care product work more effectively, according to Spinnato. “It helps all the other oils in a formulation to be more soluble,” he says, which means the squalane helps the other ingredients be absorbed into your skin – and stay there.
That said, it’s best to use squalane as part of a moisturizer, oil, or serum rather than on its own. “Squalane is often found in products designed to hydrate the skin or in conjunction with other active ingredients to help improve tolerance,” Garshick told Bustle. “Regardless, it still isn’t a substitute for a moisturizing cream or lotion, so it’s still important to incorporate it into a routine, but can be used together.”
Who should use squalane?
Generally speaking, experts suggest squalane for those looking to increase the moisture in their skin. “Squalane is a skin-friendly ingredient that’s wonderful for dry, dehydrated, sensitive and even oily skin,” Sarfati told Bustle. It’s also easy to incorporate into a skincare routine – it’s super lightweight and hydrates without clogging pores, says Spinnato.
Still, Garshick suggests that people with acne-prone, very oily, and / or sensitive skin should exercise caution when incorporating new oils into their skincare routine. “While squalane isn’t considered particularly irritating, it’s still important to be careful when starting new products to make sure your skin can tolerate it. “
Buy squalane in skin care
For non-greasy humidity
Garshick recommends Indeed Labs Squalane Face Oil because it improves hydration without clogging pores. It only contains 100% squalane from sugar cane, so if your complexion needs a boost, a few drops of this elixir will do the trick.
For sensitive skin
Sarfati recommends products from Repêchage, a brand that produces a multitude of squalane-based formulas. If your skin is sensitive, try this gentle serum, which also contains moisturizing aloe vera.
For a radiant complexion
This oil incorporates vitamin C, a lightening antioxidant, as well as squalane to provide skin brightening and moisturizing benefits. While it can be used once or twice a day, Garshick suggests using it in the morning.
For plumping hydration
Garshick loves this face cream for both improving dryness and even skin tone with its combo of squalane, vitamin B5 and niacinamide.
For a light oil serum
Garshick is also a fan of The Ordinary’s squalane oil: the lightweight solution helps replenish moisture and can be used on skin, hair or nails daily, she says.
Makrantonaki, E., Ganceviciene, R., & Zouboulis, C. (2011). An update on the role of the sebaceous gland in the pathogenesis of acne. Dermato-endocrinology, 3 (1), 41-49. https://doi.org/10.4161/derm.3.1.13900
Passi, S., De Pità, O., Puddu, P., & Littarru, GP (2002). Lipophilic antioxidants in human sebum and aging. Free Radical Research, 36 (4), 471-477. https://doi.org/10.1080/10715760290021342
Pandarus, V., Ciriminna, R., Béland, F., Pagliaro, M., & Kaliaguine, S. (2017). Solvent-free chemoselective hydrogenation of squalene to squalane. Omega ACS, 2 (7), 3989–3996. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsomega.7b00625
Dr. Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, certified dermatologist at MDCS dermatology and Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Cornell University
Shiri Sarfati, beauty expert and qualified esthetician
Vince Spinnato, cosmetic chemist and CEO and founder of TurnKey Beauty Inc.