Spotlight on Squalane

Move over hyaluronic acid, there’s a new hydrator in town 

Move over hyaluronic acid and niacinamide you’ve had your time in the spotlight. Enter squalane – an ingredient deservingly due for some attention. 

Squalane is one of the most talked about ingredients in skincare right now, but it's actually been quietly lubricating our products for years.

What is squalane?

Praised for its “truly transformational” qualities, squalane oil is derived from squalene, a compound found naturally in our bodies that helps hydrate skin, nails and hair. As with everything good in our bodies *sigh*, the levels of squalene the body produces declines with age.

Peak production of this magical substance occurs during adolescence, with production slowing down in your 20s and 30s. As a result, your skin becomes drier and rougher.

Squalane vs. Squalene

Put simply, squalane is derived from squalene in a lab by a process call hydrogenation. Squalene isn’t only natural in humans. The moisturiser is present in olives, rice bran, sugarcane and shark livers.

Before it can be used in beauty products, squalene must be hydrogenated into squalane (with an “a”), a stable form of the molecule. The hydrogenation process makes the oil more skin-friendly and helps increase its shelf life.

These days squalane is commonly derived from plants (like in our serum) or shark livers.

The benefits

If there’s one buzzworthy ingredient you take note of this year, make it squalane. It’s most famous for its extremely hydrating properties but the ingredient boasts a horde of other benefits for all skin types. Read on for a few of the many reasons to incorporate squalane into your skincare routine.

1. Hello hydration!

Hydrated skin is healthy skin. Don’t be fooled by its lightweight texture - because squalane mimics your skin’s natural oils, when applied topically, it intensely boosts hydration levels in the skin delivering that coveted youthful glow.

2. It’s an emollient

Squalane is not only a great hydrator but an excellent emollient – and no they’re not the same thing. An emollient softens dry, rough or flaky skin, making the texture of your skin noticeably smoother. Put simply, when the top layer of your skin doesn’t contain enough water, it dries out. This causes skin to crack leaving open spaces between the cells in your skin – you’ll notice it most when wearing makeup. Emollients fill those spaces with fatty substances, called lipids, which make your skin smoother and softer.

3. It’s suitable for all skin types

Good news for blemish-prone complexions, squalane oil is non-comedogenic, which means it’s unlikely to clog your pores. The versatile oil is also perfect for those with dry skin or ageing concerns.

4. It absorbs fast

If patience is a not a virtue you hold, no stress – squalane is known for its rapid penetration rate into the skin. This means it doesn’t leave behind a greasy film on the skin.

5. It helps soothe skin conditions

If you have particularly dry patches, eczema or other skin conditions, squalane is great at soothing and regenerating the skin. The oil is non-irritating so you don't get the same side effects you might from a prescribed cream.

6. It even has UV protection

Squalane really is the ultimate multi-tasker. While not enough to exclusively depend on (always use SPF!), it does provide some protection against environmental factors and free radicals. Using skincare with squalane can help to reduce pigmentation and signs of ageing, as well as accelerate the skin cell renewal process.

7. It protects your collagen levels

On the above, because squalane defends against free radicals and UV rays, which break down collagen (AKA the fountain of youth) it helps to preserve collagen networks in the skin.