Squalane is a facial oil… not looking like a facial oil. A completely clear liquid with a consistency somewhere between olive oil and water. For anyone new to using facial oils squalane’s an especially nice start.
Fast absorbing, quick to love skin and one-tiny mark off being identical to something your skin already makes. A fab skill for sensitive, work-with-your-skin routines.
Oils can be a confusing bunch. I mean which is right for your skin? Are all facial oils as good as each other? Can squalane make acne worse? Can you use facial oils like squalane if you have oily skin? What about dry skin? Is squalane comedogenic?
Do not worry my friend. We’re here to make squalane oil interview for a time-share with your skin. At the end of this skin savvy chat you’ll know exactly what squalane oil can do for skin and exactly whether squalane can be a perfect lover to your skin type.
Ready to come squamenate? Here we go…
Is Squalane Oil Good for Skin?
Facial oils like squalane are fantastic for improving skin condition. Hydrating serums can only go so far. And super-tip, hydrating skincare can only work well when your skin already has great condition.
When we have skin chats about hydration we’re talking about water based skincare.
When we have skin chats about condition we’re talking about oil based skincare.
Oil and water love your skin in very different ways.
Imagine your skin like paleo bread with all-natural peanut butter spread on top. Now imagine what your skin will look like as the same piece of bread but without a yummy layer of peanut butter. Super stale ‘eh.
Leave bread out of the packet for too long and all water evaporates.
Going, going, gone. Dry, crumbly and cardboard like. Great for bread crumbs. Not so yum for sandwiches.
But… magically layer on a coating of (oil based!) peanut butter and taa-daa. Bread stays hydrated, longer.
Just what is going on?
What Does Squalane Do for Your Skin?
Well dear friend, peanut butter, like squalane is oil based. And oil floats on top of water – whahoo. When oil’s ontop of water, water has to stay sitting. Like a stair-gate for little people, hairspray for an up-do, a belt for those trousers which hug your bum just right but your waist too little.
Oil helps your skin lock in life-giving water.
…and this is how your skin naturally works. Right now as we’re chatting all things squalane, your skin’s already using oils to stop your skin hydration from evaporating.
Your top layers of skin are almost completely made of oil for this very reason.
Now stopping your skin loosing water sounds simple ‘eh, but without an oily top layer – one which doesn’t actually make skin look oily – your skin will;
- Wrinkle quicker
- Dry, flake and peel
- Look dull
- Become ultra-sensitive
- Be itchy, irritated and reddened
- and pretty much do any number of things you wouldn’t want skin to do.
Squalane can help your skin do all of the opposite.
Is Squalane Oil Good for Skin?
Oils are fantastic for skin because they help your skin form a super-barrier against the environment. And oils like squalane are even more fantastic for skin because they can lay claim to being skin identical aka replenishing ingredients your skin already naturally uses.
Now squalane is actually best described as skin similar instead of skin identical, although it is very close.
Your skin naturally makes an oil called squalene.
Notice the ‘e’ instead of ‘a’?
Your skin’s sebum aka oils contain 13% squalene.
Technically these names describe a very small change to the very same molecule. Imagine the difference between a black hairband and a red hairband. Same hairband, different colour. Squalane vs. squalene is like this. Squalane has something called a single, saturated bond and squalene has something called a double or unsaturated bond. Think of this like hand holding; squalane’s holding 1 hand and squalene’s locked in with 2 sets of hand holding. A molecule in love with 2 people.
…but being in love with 2 people comes with side-effects. Very dramatic, explosive side effects. Meaning squalene is a whole lot more reactive than squalane. Bad news when high energy UV light comes to play.
UV light + squalene = squalene monohydroperoxide
…and this ingredient is bad news – we’ll talk more about squalene monohydroperoxide soon.
Now time for great news my friend, the same reaction cannot happen with squalane. 1 set of hand holding stops UV light coming to play. You can have your squalane benefits and use them without fear.
Benefits of Squalane Oil
Add squalane oil into your skincare routine and you my friend will fall in love with all of these benefits;
- An Increase in skin’s suppleness
- Improved skin glow
- Better skin condition
- Antioxidant age protection; reduces free radical damage & helps protect against UV light peroxidation
- Re-fatting of skin; cleansers remove fat from your skin making it super important to re-fat skin
- Improves skin hydration
- Softens and smooths
- Helps correct dry scaling/dry patches of skin
- Fights fine lines and wrinkles
A super list ‘eh. As a quickly absorbing oil you can also be sure to love squalane benefits while also not leave skin looking oily or feeling sticky.
What Oils Contain Squalene?
Here comes a little bit of controversy. When squalane oil was first used in skincare, the oil was extracted from sharks liver. Aka squalane was made from animals. While there are still some companies using shark derived squalane oil most now use vegetable derived squalane oil taken from the oil of plants which naturally make squalene.
You can look great and feel great (!) with this list of oils containing squalene;
- Olive oil
- Rice bran
And my friend, you can even go one better, you can also find concentrated squalane oil. Usually made or extracted from olive oil. Like being able to get to the warm chocolate center of a volcano pudding without having to eat away the outsides first. Nom, nom, nom.
Squalane: The Ordinary Review
When looking for a squalane facial oil, to be sure yours is 100% protective of animals, you’ll want a squalane oil which is 100% plant derived. A claim The Ordinary make clear on their own-brand packaging. 100% awesome for your skin. 100% awesome for animals. Along with the unbelievably purse friendly £5.50 price tag, The Ordinary, 100% plant derived squalane easily makes it to the top of our best squalane oil rankings.
Is Squalane Comedogenic?
Now dear friend, there are many rumours about squalane oil being comedogenic. Something which means squalane oil might have the ability to block your pores and therefore cause you spots or worsen acne. Here’s the truth…
Squalene has potential to be comedogenic.
Squalane oil isn’t.
— Cheryl Woodman (@HonestyForSkin) 13 February 2018
Remember how squalene oil has 2 sets of hands holding? And when UV light gets involved those 2 sets of hands get jazzy and make another ingredient called squalene monohydroperoxide? Well this new ingredient is comedogenic… and some studies show when in contact with skin, your skin gets rough and wrinkly because of exposure.
Spots and wrinkles – yeesh – be sure to say no thank-you with squalane oil.
Is Squalane Oil Best for All Skin Types?
Fast absorbing is squalane oil’s magic ability. Fast and deeply absorbing. The fact squalane oil is perfect for dry skin types makes perfect sense ‘eh. I bet you figured this bit out already – you are awesome my fellow skin savvy! Go you.
What you might be wondering is whether squalane oil is best for oily skin types? Can squalane oil be used if you have a combination or oily skin type?
And the answer is yes absolutely. Squalane oil is not comedogenic, it’s lightweight, fast absorbing and will also help prevent oxidation of natural skin oils – a big problem for oily skin types.
Yes you read right – the reaction we chatted about earlier where squalene can cause you spots and wrinkles will happen on your skin naturally. Using squalane oil helps stop UV caused spots. If you have a combination skin type with an oily T-zone full of teeny-tiny spots, blackheads or more – squalane oil can help.
Tell me my friend, do you use squalane oil? Are you about to start? Do you have more questions? Wondering where squalane oil should sit in your skincare routine? Come chat with me in the comments below…
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.