What's the Deal with Squalane for Your Skin?
To declare that we’re obsessed with finding the best skin care ingredients and products would be an understatement. If you’re a devout follower of Skincare.com, you’ve probably already picked up on this. Since skin care products are only as good as the ingredients within their formulations, we think it’s incredibly important (and useful) to have this knowledge.
The ingredient we’re shining a spotlight on now is squalane. You may have never been introduced to squalane before, but chances are your skin has. The oil can be found in a wide range of moisturizers and serums and boasts a number of benefits that only increase its popularity in the skin care sphere. What exactly are those benefits, you ask? Read on to learn the basics of squalane for your skin!
Squalane vs. Squalene: What’s the Difference?
Ok, here’s where it can get a little confusing. There’s squalene and then there’s squalane. They look and sound similar but aren’t exactly the same. Squalene is a polyunsaturated hydrocarbon found in certain fish oils. Believe it or not, squalene is one of the major constituents of human sebum, meaning your body actually produces it naturally. Squalane, on the other hand, is a saturated derivative of squalene. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), squalane is less susceptible to oxidation than squalene, which is why it’s most commonly used as a moisturizer.
The Skin Care Benefits of Squalane
Dr. Dendy Engelman, board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com consultant, believes that the key to squalane’s topical skin care success is that its molecular structure resembles our own skin’s design. “With these similarities,” she explains, “it allows [the ingredient] to penetrate the [surface layers of] skin completely and synthesize quickly, so that it won’t clog pores or leave a greasy residue behind. It’s also odorless and colorless, which are great properties of a moisturizer.”
While squalane is produced naturally by the body, the production level begins to decline drastically after age 30, according to the NCBI. As a result, the skin can become dry. While dry skin is not necessarily a sign of skin aging, it can accentuate the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. By incorporating a product formulated with squalane into your routine, you can help keep your skin hydrated and reduce the visible effects of squalane production decline.
Let’s dive into some more benefits:
Squalane Benefit #1: Provides Moisture to the Skin
“Squalene is a natural substance manufactured within our own skin that offers protection and hydration,” says Dr. Engelman. When squalane oil is applied to skin, it imitates sebum (the natural oil produced by the skin’s sebaceous glands) and improves elasticity by increasing moisture retention. When your skin is moisturized, it can appear plumped with less noticeable signs of aging as a result.
Squalane Benefit #2: Reduced Appearance of Skin Aging
Thanks to its emollient properties and ability to increase skin hydration, squalane can help your skin appear plump and make wrinkles, lines, and creases look less obvious. According to the NCBI, results from recent studies have shown squalane to boast antioxidant properties. As a reminder, antioxidants can help to neutralize skin damage as a result of environmental aggressors.
Moisturizing Products Formulated with Squalane
Now that you know what squalane can do for your skin, here’s how to incorporate it into your routine. Below, are four products from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands that are formulated with squalane.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream
For a no-frills, everyday facial moisturizer, opt for this beloved formula by Kiehl’s. It’s formulated with Antarctine (a glacial glycoprotein extract), Imperata Cylindrica (a desert plant extract), and squalane, and can leave your skin feeling hydrated and comfortable.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, $29 MSRP
Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1
In addition to moisturizers for your facial skin, you’ll find squalane in hydrating products for your lips as well. Apply Lip Balm #1 to your pout to help temporarily protect and soothe dry lips. Feel free to apply liberally; just allow the balm to fully absorb before applying again.
Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1, $9 MSRP
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye
For a top-rated eye treatment, look to this restorative concentrate with essential oils and botanicals, including squalane, lavender essential oil, evening primrose, sunflower oil and jojoba seed oil. The result? Fresher, younger-looking eyes by morning. Look to our full review for more details.
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye, $37 MSRP
Want to learn more about popular skin care ingredients? Check out our black seed oil 101 here!