There is Squalene and then there is Squalane – a phenomenal natural skincare ingredient. Let’s start with what is the difference between these two oils and their role in skincare.
What is Squalene?
Squalene is a polyunsaturated oil. It is found naturally in a lot of different plant oils such as rice bran, oil palm oil, olive oil, wheat germ oil, amaranth oil and sugarcane. It is also found in shark liver in high amounts. Squalene also produced naturally by our own skin. It’s naturally found in the sebum, the lipid barrier of our skin.
The sebum of our skin is a semi-fluid composed of a mixture of triglycerides, cholesterol, ester waxes, and squalene. Sebum protects our skin from losing moisture making our skin functional, soft and flexible. Our skin sebum contains 13% squalene and 2.5% squalane as its constituents.
However, squalene is very reactive and becomes oxidized quickly. When the squalene in our skin sebum is oxidized, it can become highly inflammatory and can contribute to pimple and acne formation.
What is Squalane?
Squalane is derived by the hydrogenation of squalene – in other words, combined with hydrogen. This little “e” to “a” change makes Squalane very stable without oxidation problems that squalene has. Squalane sources are olive oil, sugarcane, amaranth oil and more.
Squalane is a clear, non-toxic, and non-irritant oil with exceptional moisturizing properties. It doesn’t leave the skin feeling greasy or oily.
It helps to prevent moisture loss and restore suppleness and elasticity of the skin.This natural emollient locks the moisture in, helps to prevent fine lines and soften dry patches.
Since squalane is not oxidized, this non-comedogenic oil is great for acne-prone or oily complexions. Overall, squalane is a perfect skincare ingredient for those with extremely dry or sensitive skin as well as those with acne-prone or oily yet dehydrated complexions.
How does Squalane Work?
Squalane creates a protective lipid barrier on the skin by blocking the moisture from escaping leaving the skin hydrated.
Squalane also works as a natural emollient to help fill in the barriers between the cells. This helps the skin to feel smoother, stronger and more elastic supporting a healthier wellness of the complexion.
Even tough squalane is naturally produced by the body, after age of 30 squalane production drastically slows down contributing to dry and dull looking skin. Thus, it would be ideal to use skin care products with squalane to help support the lipid barrier and decrease dryness.
Is it True Shark Liver Derived Squalane Oil was Used in Cosmetics?
In the past, shark liver derived squalane was one of the common used moisturizers in cosmetic industry. An investigation in 2012 by Bloom showed that 90% of the shark liver oil production in the world went into cosmetic industry that corresponded to 2.7 million deep sea sharks caught per year.
You may ask why there was such a demand for shark squalane?
Here is why… It takes around 70 hours of processing time to obtain olive oil squalane with purity more than 92%. However, only 10 hours is needed to obtain shark squalane with 98% purity. Furthermore, 50 kg of olive oil squalane can be produced from 2.5 acre of land, which needs much more man-power and time. This can explain why plant derived squalane has been more expensive than the shark squalane.
Massive hunting of deep sea sharks led to significant decrease of their population. In 1990s , European Council drastically reduced the fishing of deep sea species. Today, since shark species are considered critically endangered, and environmental agencies as well as consumers have become increasingly vocal about the use of animal-derived ingredients in cosmetics, the cosmetic industry has been moving towards to only use cruelty-free plant oil-derived squalane.
How Would You Know if Your Beauty Products Do Not Contain Shark-Sourced Oil?
- Choose products from companies that are cruelty-free certified either by Beauty without Bunnies (PETA) or Leaping Bunny.
- Read the ingredients. Use plant-based beauty products made with ingredients such as plant-based squalane.
- Some companies will specifically detail where their squalane comes from. If they don’t, feel free to send them an email and inquire.
As AveSeena, we strictly use highest quality plant-based squalane in our cruelty-free products.
We have incorporated one of the best vegan squalane oils derived from olives into our Ageless Perfection Cream and Green Caviar Facial Oil Elixir. It’s perfect for all skin types and perfectly addresses the signs of aging visibly moisturizing and plumping the skin to quickly erase the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles upon application.
Wishing you a glowing healthier skin,
Dr. Ebru Karpuzoglu MSc., PhD.
1-Biological importance and applications of squalene and squalane. Kim SK, Karadeniz F. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2012;65:223-33
2-Modulation of sebum oxidation and interleukin-1α levels associates with clinical improvement of mild comedonal acne.Capitanio B, Lora V, Ludovici M, Sinagra JL, Ottaviani M, Mastrofrancesco A, Ardigò M, Camera E. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2014 Dec;28(12):1792-7
3- Catalytic Hydrogenation of Squalene to Squalane Ciriminna, Rosaria; Pandarus, Valerica; Béland, François; Pagliaro, Mario (2014). Organic Process Research & Development. 18 (9): 1110–1115