It’s hard to keep up with all the new ingredients that pop up in your skincare products, let alone trying to figure out which ones you actually need and whether or not they live up to the hype. Recently, a lot of buzz has started to generate around squalane. But what is squalane and should you be adding it to your skincare routine? (Spoiler: it’s a super moisturiser and yes, your skin *needs* it).
Here’s everything you need to know about squalane.
Squalane vs. squalene
If you’ve been paying attention, you will have noticed both the word squalane and squalene being thrown around. Are they the same thing, just different spellings? Not quite.
Squalene (with an ‘e’), is a lipid (a fat) that’s naturally produced by the sebaceous (oil) glands in our skin. Its job is to hydrate and maintain our skin’s barrier. Just like with so many other natural processes in our bodies, with age our production of squalene decreases. That’s where squalane comes in. Since squalene isn’t very stable in its natural state, it is converted into squalane using a process known as hydrogenation. Hydrogenation transforms squalene from an unsaturated oil into a saturated oil, which is better for skin.
"It's job is to hydrate and maintain our skin's barrier."
Where does squalane come from?
Sadly, shark liver used to be the most common source of squalene. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case and nowadays squalane that’s found in skincare products is derived mostly from plants such as olives, sugar cane, wheat germ and rice bran.
What are the skin benefits of squalane?
Squalane is an excellent moisturiser because our bodies immediately recognise it as a form of a substance that we already naturally produce. For this reason, squalane is able to penetrate quickly and deeply into the skin. Since squalane is a lightweight oil, it won’t leave a greasy residue on your skin.
Squalane is also a great ingredient for fighting the signs of ageing - after all, hydrated skin equals plump skin! It’s rich in antioxidants and protects skin against free radical damage, too. Additionally, squalane is antibacterial so it’s great for acne-prone skin and it nourishes and balances oil production in oily skin without clogging pores.
That’s not all. Squalane has anti-inflammatory properties too, so it can be used by sensitive skin types and those who suffer from eczema and psoriasis.
Basically, it’s a great all-rounder for all skin types.
And it’s not just your face that can benefit from the hydrating properties of squalane. Your entire body, as well as your hair, will lap up this multitasking oil.
"it won’t leave a greasy residue on your skin"
4 squalane products to try:
- Fleur Kann / Unsplash