Squalane Oil Is One of the Buzziest Skincare Ingredients — Here's Why You Should Use It
It seems like every other day there's a new buzzy skincare ingredient out there that claims to work miracles. Some don't always live up to the hype, but there are a few that remain as staples, even after their 15 minutes of fame are up. One such ingredient is squalane oil.
In the past year, it seems like it's been popping up in every product from serums to moisturizers, and Biossance has even built its entire brand around it. But, there's a reason why squalane oil is more popular than ever: it actually works.
Squalane oil is extremely hydrating and locks in moisture. But the ingredient boasts a ton of other skincare benefits across all skin types.
To get a full scope on why squalane oil should be a part of your skincare routine, we turned to Dr. Anna Guanche, board-certified dermatologist and author of Seven Days to Sexy, to break down exactly how squalane oils works, what it can do for your skin, along with the difference between squalane oil and squalene oil.
What Is Squalane Oil?
Squalane oil is derived from squalene oil, a compound found naturally in our bodies that helps hydrate skin, nails, and hair. "Squalene alone is very unstable and does not have a long shelf life," says Dr. Guanche. "Additionally, it is very comedogenic and can promote the formation of acne."
But through hydrogenation, squalene oil becomes squalane oil. This process turns it into a 100-percent saturated oil. "Our skin does not naturally produce saturated fatty acids, so applying squalane to the skin can improve the skin's moisture and is non-comedogenic," Dr. Guanche explains. Because squalane oil is more stable than squalene oil, it's easier to use in skincare products.
What Can Squalane Oil Do for Your Skin?
Since it's an emollient, squalane oil is extremely moisturizing, and can smooth and soften dry skin. The compound is produced in our bodies by our sebaceous glands, which make sebum. Squalane is found in sebum and helps hydrate the outer layer of the skin and protect the skin barrier. "Studies have found that squalane is readily absorbed deep into the skin, and can enhance the skin's natural suppleness and flexibility without leaving an oily residue," says Dr. Guanche.
On top of keeping skin smooth, squalane oil boasts a ton of other additional benefits: It's an antioxidant that can prevent damage from environmental aggressors, and its anti-bacterial properties can help treat some types of acne.
While squalane oil is safe for all skin types, Dr, Guanche does add that those with dry skin may benefit the most from using it, seeing as it mimics your skin's natural sebum.
Where Does the Squalane Oil in My Skincare Products Come From?
So, maybe you've heard that squalane oil is harvested from shark liver. While this is true — and where we initially got squalene and squalane oil from — brands have shifted away from this practice. Today, the majority of squalane oil found in skincare products is derived from plants sources like olive oil or sugar cane.
How Do You Use Squalane Oil?
Squalane is a natural moisturizer, so it's safe to use twice a day and it also plays nicely with every other skincare ingredients. You can opt for straight up squalane oil or a serum or moisturizer that's formulated with it.
"Serums work great and it is easily absorbed into the skin since it has a similar molecular make up to our cell outer membranes," says Dr. Guanche. "It is best to layer on just like you would a hyaluronic acid serum."
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Now that you know what this much-hyped ingredient actually does, keep reading for a few of our favorite skincare products with squalane oil to try out in your routine.
Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser
Because squalane oil is so hydrating, this cleanser breaks down and takes off every trace of makeup without stripping the skin.
To Buy: $82; Goop.com.
Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil
Straight up squalane oil can be used after a hyaluronic acid serum for an extra coat of hydration, or layered on top of your moisturizer as the last step in your nightly skincare routine. This dry oil contains squalane derived from olives.
To Buy: $34; Dermstore.com.
The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane
While retinoids are an extremely effective anti-aging ingredient, they often come with a side of irritation. That's why The Ordinary formulated their serum with squalane oil. Its soothing, hydrating qualities keep the side effects of retinoids in check.
To Buy: $10; Sephora.com.
First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Daily Face Cream
For extremely dry, weather-worn skin, this moisturizer is your best bet. Along with squalane oil, it's also formulated with ceramides and antioxidants. Together, these ingredients smooth, soften, and strengthen the skin barrier to lock in moisture.
To Buy: $22; Sephora.com.
Biossance Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream
Combined with a marine algae, this nourishing eye cream plumps and firms the entire eye area. It also reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
To Buy: $54; Sephora.com.