Why squalane may be the dry skin saviour you are looking for

Squalane is the new kid on the skincare block and it has a roll call of benefits. Here’s why it could be the hero ingredient for achieving soft and smooth skin.

Squalane is generating buzz for its ability to effectively moisturise the skin, enhance skin elasticity and protect from free radicals.

Lightweight and ultra hydrating, squalane is becoming a common hero ingredient in everything from moisturisers and serums to haircare and cosmetics and is being touted as a skincare must-have, particularly for dry skin types.

With the coming months being notoriously drying on the skin, it is time to get to know squalane.

What is squalane?

There is squalane and squalene (we’ll explain the difference between the two later), but squalane is the more common ingredient you will see on shelves.

“Squalane is a natural organic compound that is derived from squalene,” dermatologist and Skin Partners director Dr Leona Yip says.

“It’s often used in skincare and cosmetic products due to its emollient properties, which help moisturise and smooth the skin.

“Squalane is known for its ability to hydrate without a greasy or oily feel, making it a popular ingredient in various skincare formulations.”

Squalane v squalene: what is the difference?

You may already be familiar with squalene in skincare, and you now know squalane, but is there much difference between the two apart from a single letter?

“Squalene is a natural skin lipid (oil) and is also found in plants and animals, while squalane is the hydrogenated form of squalene (and is used in products) due to its higher stability and being less prone to oxidation,” dermatologist Dr Rose Mak says.

“Squalane is lighter in consistency and is commonly utilised in skincare due to its longer shelf life and for its moisturising properties potentially suitable for different skin types.”

Squalene is produced by human skin cells.

“About 13 per cent of skin surface lipids is squalene and a component of human sebum,” Dr Mak says.

“In humans, about 60 per cent of dietary squalene is absorbed and is distributed in human tissues, with the greatest concentration in the skin.”

The squalene used in commercial products is often derived from animals and plants.

Squalene is commonly found in high quantities in shark liver oil and plant-based sources such as olives, rice bran and sugar cane.

However, ethical and sustainability concerns have caused many companies to shift to sourcing squalene mostly from plants to use in skincare and other products.

How squalane can help your skin

Given squalene is naturally produced by our skin, embracing beauty products with squalane can bring notable benefits.

For dry, sensitive or eczema-prone skin

“Squalane helps to moisturise the skin without a greasy feel, balances oil production, enhances skin elasticity to reduce fine lines and has antioxidant properties that can protect against free radicals,” Dr Yip says.

The amount of squalene we produce significantly decreases in our 30s, leaving the skin more prone to dryness and fine lines.

Dr Yip says those with dry, sensitive and eczema-prone skin would benefit from squalane’s moisturising properties.

For ageing skin

She adds that as we age, our skin tends to become drier, so ageing skin would benefit from an emollient such as squalane to help lock in moisture which, in turn, can be helpful when it comes to the appearance of the visible signs of ageing.

For acne-prone skin

Squalane is an oil but doesn’t have an oily feel, making it an effective way to moisturise the skin minus any greasiness.

It is also non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog your pores and is great for those with acne-prone skin.

Additionally, squalane is odourless, and side effects from using it are generally uncommon.

How to introduce squalane into your beauty routine

Incorporating squalane in your regimen does not require any extra steps — simply find products that feature it as an ingredient.

The great news about squalane is that it is commonly found in a range of products.

This makes it easy to introduce into your beauty routine in various ways, whether in the form of a moisturiser or serum or even an ingredient in your sunscreen.

Even cosmetics such as foundations and primers now feature squalane for its moisturising capabilities.

Squalane is also able to be used night or day, making it a versatile addition to any beauty regimen.

With autumn upon us, it is worth tweaking your routine to cater to the different needs of your skin as temperatures dip, particularly when it comes to dryness.

Squalane could be just the ingredient you need to cosy up to as the cooler months descend.

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Written by Tania Gomez.