By Skincare Junkie Inc

Derm’s Guide to Squalane, Nature’s Super Hydrator

Our body has a built-in self-moisturizing system, but it slows down as we age, resulting in dryer skin. Squalene is a component of this system. It is a naturally-occuring  lipid that is depleted over times. What is squalene, how is it different from squalane, and who is it for? We deep dive into this super hydrator in our mini-guide. 

Squalene Vs Squalane 

SqualEne is a lipid, or fat, that is naturally produced by the oil glands in our skin to maintain the skin barrier and helps to keep moisture in. It is a natural component of human sebum (oil) and can also be found in some plants and animals. Squlene is not shelf-stable, so it is not used in personal care products. (And, unlike squalane, it could contribute to clogged pores).  

SqualAne is the hydrogenated form of squalene that has been developed for use in skincare products. Squalane is a fabulous skincare ingredient that functions as an emollient to soften and smooth skin and helps keep moisture in. It protects and supports the skin barrier and has antioxidant properties to reverse and prevent free radical damage. Squalane is lightweight and shelf-stable unlike its relative, squalene. 

Originally, squalane was sourced from shark liver. In fact, it gets its name from Squalus, a genus of sharks. Due to ethical concerns, the beauty industry shifted towards more sustainable sources. Today, most squalane in skincare products is sourced from plants like olives, rice bran, and sugarcane. 

If you want to make sure squalane in your skincare is ethical, look for vegan and cruelty-free certified products, like the Skincare Junkie Megadose Super Antioxidant Face Moisturizer

What Are the Benefits of Squalane? 

Squalane works for all skin types, is non-comedogenic, and its antioxidant properties help protect skin from damage and reduce signs of aging. It’s lightweight, fast-absorbing, and leaves the skin feeling soft and plump without the greasiness. We summarize its key benefits below.  

  • Hydrates. Squalane is known for its exceptional moisturizing properties. It is a lightweight, non-greasy emollient that absorbs easily into the skin, providing intense hydration. It is ideal for all skin types, including oily and acne-prone skin, because it hydrates without clogging pores or leaving a heavy residue. 
  • Supports skin barrier. Squalane helps restore the natural balance of lipids in the skin, which is essential for maintaining a healthy skin barrier. Its hydrating and emollient properties make it ideal for those with dry, dehydrated or mature skin or those exposed to environmental factors (e.g., prolonged sun exposure). 
  • Calms inflammation. Squalane has been shown to calm inflammation, redness, and irritation. In fact, it can soothe various inflammatory skin problems, such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, etc. 
  • Reduces damage from free radicals. Squalane is an antioxidant. It helps protect the skin from environmental stressors like pollution and UV radiation, which can lead to premature aging and skin damage. In fact, squalane's antioxidant properties sid in shielding the skin's natural oils from lipid peroxidation, a process known to harm both the surface and the deeper layers of the skin, including the pore lining where oil is produced.This quality makes it an excellent skincare ingredient for those living in urban or high-pollution areas. 
  • Reduces signs of aging. Squalane can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by replenishing the skin’s natural squalene levels, which diminish with age. It helps the skin remain supple and plump. Squalane is known to aid collagen production and improve skin elasticity. 

Who can use squalane? 

Squalane is generally safe for all skin types and can be used daily. Unlike heavier oils, squalane is lightweight, non-comedogenic, and works well for acne-prone and sensitive skin. It also works well with actives including  retinol, vitamin C, niacinamide, AHAs and  BHA (salicylic acid). .

Squalane Vs Hyaluronic Acid 

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is another hydrating hero featured in a variety of skincare products. It is a sugar molecule that can attract and hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water. It is naturally produced in our bodies and is a humectant — it draws moisture into the skin. Hyaluronic acid has an immediate plumping effect on the skin and can reduce the appearance of fine lines. 

Squalane and HA differ in their chemical composition and how they moisturize the skin, but they work very well together to protect against dry, dull skin. Both ingredients are hypoallergenic, suitable for all skin types, and won’t clog pores. Both are great for hydrating oily or acne-prone skin because they are lightweight and non-comedogenic. 

How to Use Squalane? 

If you want to introduce squalane into your skincare routine, opt for a 100 percent plant-based oil and use a few drops daily. You can use squalane oil on its own, in which case, apply it before sunscreen in the morning and as the last step in your skincare routine in the evening. Alternatively, use a squalane-containing moisturizer such as the Skincare Junkie Megadose Super Antioxidant Face Moisturizer that contains both squalane and HA! 

Dr. Murphy-Rose recommends using a gentle cleanser (such as Skincare Junkie Gentle Jelly Facial Cleanser) to clean skin before applying a squalane-containing moisturizer  to your face. To remove dead skin cells and keep pores clean, remember to exfoliate once or twice a week. Or use Skincare Junkie Pore Therapy Daily Toner Pads for gentle daily exfoliation. 

Keep It Simple 

Dr. Murphy-Rose created the first moisturizer on the market that combines 10 of the most potent, clinically proven topical antioxidants plus hyaluronic acid and squalane in a proprietary non-comedogenic, safe formula that feels silky smooth and luxurious and will never break you out. 

Powered by a clinically tested blend of Coenzyme Q10, resveratrol, vitamin C, and green tea, Skincare Junkie Megadose Super Antioxidant Face Moisturizer is a deeply hydrating, non-comedogenic formulation that combines a moisturizer and a powerful serum. It helps protect the skin, prevent signs of skin aging, and create a brighter complexion. 

Hyaluronic acid deeply hydrates and plumps, while squalane and ceramides support the skin barrier. And did we mention that Elle called Skincare Junkie Megadose Super Antioxidant Face Moisturizer the best antioxidant moisturizer?