Looks like a new skincare ingredient, squalane, is dominating the skincare world lately. In fact, you will see the word popping up in one product or the other. It is not a common word for many, like its new for me too. Because I see it everywhere, it left me curious enough to see what ‘squalane’ is all about. And what role does it play for our skin? Join me as I dive into learning more.
IS IT SQUALANE OR SQUALENE?
Both these words can be confusing as they almost look and even sound alike, but they are not the same. Squalane and squalene are both used interchangeably on the product, which is why some consumers may get confused.
As I said, it’s a new word for me, but it looks like it is not a new ingredient for our skin. So, it turns out that our body naturally produces this ingredient, and you can find it in our skin’s sebum. The sebaceous glands produce sebum, and consists of fats or lipids like triglycerides and wax esters, including squalene. Though excess sebum can cause breakouts, sebum naturally protects our skin by keeping it healthy and moisturized. Sadly, as we age, the production of squalene in the sebum begins to drop. When this happens, our skin becomes dry and leads to fine lines and wrinkles. To counter that, we need to use products formulated with squalene to hydrate our skin and improve the aging lines.
The problem with squalene in skincare is its stability factor in its natural form. Squalene gets oxidized when exposed to air, so it needs to go through a saturation process called hydrogenation to convert into squalane, to be deemed fit for skincare purposes.
Squalane is naturally derived from squalene. It is mainly derived from two sources, namely shark liver oil and plant oils. Most companies have now moved away from using shark liver oil for producing squalane due to ethical reasons. You will find that most of the squalane skincare products available today are sourced ethically from plants like olives, rice bran, and wheat germ. So, you can purchase your squalane product without the guilt factor looming over your head.
ITS SKIN BENEFITS
Because squalane is also naturally produced in our body when applied on the skin, it mimics the oil that is made by the sebaceous glands. With topical application, you will notice your skin getting well-nourished and moisturized and see visible signs of improved skin elasticity. It retains moisture on your skin and boosts cell regeneration while fighting wrinkles to give you a plump and hydrated look.
It is also very calming and soothing, which is why it’s a bonus for those with sensitive skin as it helps to heal dry, irritated skin.
One of the critical reasons why squalane has been so successful as a skincare ingredient is its molecular structure. As it mimics our skin’s natural oils, it can penetrate the skin layers and work its way without clogging the pores. It also paves the way for other skin ingredients to be absorbed into the skin layers so that it can work more efficiently.
The added benefit of squalane is its antioxidant properties. We know that it works to neutralize our skin damage from external aggressors. Along with its antioxidant and emollient properties, squalane can keep your wrinkles at bay and give you radiant and plump looking skin.
So, now we know why squalane is an essential part of our skin. Try incorporating it into your skincare routine and enjoy its benefits.
By Khumpila Limi