Were you ever casually browsing the shelves of your favourite beauty store and just started noticing the word “squalane” plastered over every other skincare product? The new rage of including squalane oil in skincare products has whole product lines launched from very popular and familiar brands.
But, what exactly is squalane oil? Is it just another ingredient hopping on the clean beauty train? And does it actually live up to its highly hyped moisturizing claims?
We’ll explain what squalane oil really is and get into the science behind its benefits and whether or not it’s safe to use.
What is Squalane Oil?
There is a difference between squalane and Squalene (note the ‘e’). Squalene is a naturally occurring lipid that our skin and body produces and is one of the main components that make up sebum. Sebum is our skin’s naturally produced moisturizer that helps keep the outer layer of skin hydrated and keep that barrier intact. However, as we age, production decreases resulting in drier skin. This natural moisturizer is also found in rice bran, sugarcane, olives, and shark liver. Don’t worry though, most major companies have shifted away from harvesting shark livers and it is an extremely rare occurrence nowadays.
The difference between squalene and squalane is how it’s processed and treated.
Squalene is a naturally occurring, unsaturated oil. Unsaturated oils are made up of at least one double bond in their fatty acid chains, which means that they are an unstable ingredient to include into skincare products as they easily go rancid and are prone to free radical attack. Squalene alone, cannot be added safely into beauty products.
Squalene oil becomes squalane oil when it undergoes a hydrogenation process. This process converts the unsaturated oil, to a stable, saturated oil: squalane which is 100% saturated, making it very safe for your skin and has an increased shelf life. When looking for products advertised with squalane oil in it, you’ll want to check the ingredient list to ensure that it is 100% squalane (with an ‘a’) oil that is plant-derived. Although it’s rare to see natural squalene in products, it never hurts to be extra sure that the product is made of 100% squalane oil due to the reasons stated above.
What Are the Benefits of Squalane Oil?
You can use squalane oil for face, body and hair.
Moisturizer: Because your body produces this oil naturally, squalane oil easily penetrates the skin and is absorbed quickly. Squalane oil acts like an emollient and is a light oil meaning it can moisturize deep down into your skin barrier giving you instant hydration, and seals that outer moisture barrier without feeling too heavy or greasy.
Anti-aging: Squalane oil can also help fight signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines in the skin. Squalane oil may increase collagen, resulting in plumper, firmer looking skin with the help of its ability to strengthen your skin’s natural moisture barrier, preventing water loss.
Protection from free radical damage: Squalane oil is known to have anti-oxidants, which may help protect your skin from oxidative damage from free radicals.
Treat eczema: Research shows that you can use squalane oil safely to treat eczema. 100% squalane oil is found to have anti-inflammatory properties that may help soothe skin conditions like eczema, such as inflammatory acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, and rosacea.
Prevent breakage: Your hair also naturally produces oil but can get dried out from constant heat, weather or chemical treating. You can use 100% squalane oil on your hair to increase shine and may help prevent breakage causing split ends.
Does Squalane Oil Clog Pores?
Squalane oil is 100% non-comedogenic, meaning that it doesn’t clog pores. Also, unlike many other moisturizing beauty products, squalane oil is clinically proven to be gentle and non-irritating. It is suitable for sensitive skin types and 100% squalane oil is completely fragrance free and colourless.
With all new skincare products being introduced into your routine, it is always best practice to test slowly and increase usage to ensure you’re not allergic or react poorly to it. Everyone’s skin is unique and reacts differently to different ingredients regardless of it is considered generally safe for all skin types.
Squalane is relatively new to the beauty scene with growing popularity due to its highly moisturizing properties and non-comedogenic nature. It gains mass appeal from the fact that squalene is a naturally produced substance by our body and is considered very safe. Although scientific research on its effectiveness is still limited due to its novelty, the research that is available is promising. If you are on the market for it, just remember to double check the label and get one that is plant derived and stay shark-friendly.