What Is Squalane + Why

The human body produces its own version of squalane called squalene, but the amount made and retained decreases as you get older.

What Is It?

The sebaceous glands are responsible for producing sebum, which is a cocktail of wax esters, triglycerides, and squalene, Dr. Stevenson says. Together, these things create a protective coating on top of the stratum corneum, the protective outer layer of skin. Sebum helps moisturize the outer layer of skin and keep that barrier intact, Rajani Katta, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in Houston who specializes in sensitivity and allergic reactions.

The first thing to know about squalane is that it’s a hydrogenated version of squalene, a compound produced naturally by our sebaceous glands, Mary L. Stevenson, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center. The hydrogenation process makes squalane more shelf-stable than squalene and, therefore, easier to use in skin-care products. According to the article on Self.

Squalene is estimated to make up about 10 to 12 percent of your skin’s oil. Naturally in many animals and plants, including human sebum. Essentially, it’s one of the many natural lipids your body produces to lubricate and protect your skin.

Why Use It?

Over time, using squalane in skincare can reduce wrinkles, eliminate scars, reverse UV damage, lighten freckles and erase skin pigmentation, all while fighting free radicals. On some people it can even be used as a spot treatment.

Squalane is a derivative of squalene and is much lighter (and thus a better option for acne-prone skin). It also has a longer shelf life than squalene as it does not go through oxidization, which is why it’s more commonly used in skincare.

Squalene & Sharks

Because of its efficacy, it’s often harvested in unethical ways—however, as long as you’re responsible about where you get it, it’s all good. It can be, and is commonly, harvested from plant sources like olives, wheat germ oil, and rice bran. The ingredient comes in two forms: squalene and squalane. 

Squalene is also found in high amounts in shark livers, which is traditionally where we got squalene (and squalane) from. Thankfully, most major companies have shifted away from using shark-derived squalane and it’s unlikely you’ll find it on the market in the U.S.

Instead, many companies now get their squalane from plant sources, such as olive oil, Dr. Stevenson says.

Who Should Use It?

People with dry or combination skin who are looking to add a lightweight moisturizer may want to check it out.

From what we do know about squalane, “it would be fine as a moisturizing ingredient,” Dr. Katta says.

Because of the fact that it’s such a strong lipid, it should help lock moisture into the skin.

If You Have Acne

Because squalane is a part of sebum and excess sebum can contribute to acne, you probably want to exercise some caution with it if your skin tends to be oily or acne-prone.

Dr. Stevenson says. You’re likely making plenty of sebum already and adding more could just cause breakouts.

Plus, there is some research to suggest that squalene, when oxidized, naturally plays a role in the formation of acne—why add more? 

Better for you to use Squalane.

Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream

Cruelty-free eye cream pairs the power of marine algae and paracress extract for maximum performance. The result? A lifted look that also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This marine algae eye cream’s melt-in texture delivers deep hydration and a perfect canvas for makeup.

  • Visibly lifts after the first application thanks to paracress extract.
  • Marine algae peptide complex minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in 7 days.**
  • Squalane delivers long-lasting hydration and creates the perfect canvas for makeup.

Serum

  • This rapid retexturizing serum with 10% vegan lactic acid with 10% vegan lactic acid dissolves dead surface cells and reveals soft, luminous new skin below.
  • Unlike other treatments with long wait times, results are visible quickly—as soon as overnight, or after only 1-2 weeks.
  • Lactic acid is a “does-it-all” ingredient that fights uneven texture, minimizes signs of aging, and can be layered with other Biossance treatments to amplify their benefits.

Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen

Powerfully invisible broad-spectrum, non-toxic SPF 30 zinc mineral sunscreen protects even the most sensitive skin like you’ve never seen—now also in jumbo size, 2x the size with a better value.
This lightweight, deeply hydrating clean sunscreen lotion blends in for all skin tones fast without leaving a trace. It calms and cools sun-stressed skin and leaves absolutely everyone with a soft, dewy finish.

The Ordinary Squalne Cleanser

A gentle cleansing product formulated to target makeup removal whilst leaving the skin feeling smooth and moisturized.
The formula incorporates Squalane, alongside other lipophilic esters that are gentle, moisturizing, efficient in dissolving makeup and facial impurities and increasing the spreadability of the product.
 
When rubbed between your palms for approximately 10-30 seconds, the product undergoes an important textural change from a balm-like consistency to a clear oil-like consistency.
This allows the emulsifying sucrose esters in the formula to trap and blend the dissolved makeup and facial impurities with water for rinsing. Being non-comedogenic and soap-free, this formula is designed to be gentle enough for daily use, without over-drying the skin, making it suitable for all skin types.

Tinted Serum + Vitamin C + Squalane+ Aloe

A silicon-free, non-clogging tinted serum for light coverage and a natural no-makeup finish.

Formulated with vitamin C for radiance and squalane & aloe vera for deep, long-lasting hydration.

99% naturally-derived formula.

Quick tip:

Due diligence is required to find the right product for your skin.

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