Being mindful of the ingredients in your skincare products is a responsible habit to cultivate. But given the vast amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, chemicals and formulas that are lurking around in everything from moisturizers to serums, you may find yourself scratching your head when a new one comes along. Though it has been used (and studied) for years, squalane oil is starting to make its viral rounds, as more experts and dermatologists explore its effectiveness. If you’re behind the curve on this one (don’t worry, we were too!), consider this your guide to this interesting, all-natural substance.
So, what is squalane oil?
We’re going to get a little nit-picky with spelling here, so bear with us: squalane oil is the hydrogenated byproduct of squalene oil. That vowel switch is important, since squalene is a natural substance that’s produced within your body, and it works to maintain your moisture and hydration levels. This antioxidant is a superstar because it neutralizes environmental damages to our skin, serving as an effective anti-aging agent.
Dr. Seema Sarin from EHE Health explains the amount of squalene oil made and retained by our bodies naturally declines by the time we reach our 30s. So, when squalene is hydrogenated by chemists, it turns into squalane oil and can be used on its own or within everyday products applied topically, in an effort to prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
To create this oil, many manufactures will use the squalene oil found in olives, sugarcane, wheat germ, rice bran and palm trees, making it one of the leading organic ways to fight the aging process, according to board certified dermatologist Dr. Ellen Marmur.
What are the benefits of squalane oil?
While some people are team injectibles and chemical-full anti-aging products, others choose the all-natural route. If you’re in the latter group, there are multiple ways to incorporate squalane into your routine, as advised by experts. However, it is important to note that this oil is still being researched, so not all claims are fully backed by science.
In 2004 (yep, a while ago), 20 people suffering from a chronic itching condition from kidney disease were split into two groups. One half was given a mixture that contained vitamin E, aloe vera and squalane oil twice a day for two weeks. The other half was given a placebo. The group that had the squalane mixture did notice significant improvements in itching and redness, but since it’s only a pool of 20 people, it’s a tough resolution to make.
Even so, dermatologists still rave about this oil — and it could be worth a try if you’re looking for any of these perks:
It’s lightweight and non-greasy.
Though you know how important it is to ensure your pores are quenched, no matter your skin type, heavy, thick moisturizers can wreck havoc for some. Especially if you are typically oily on your t-zone or you would classify yourself in the ‘sensitive’ category, Dr. Sarin says squalane oil could be a game-changer.
It isn’t overly heavy like some formulas and it doesn’t have those greasy-like properties either. Because of this, she says it’s not only versatile, but safe to use on all skin types — mostly. If you’re prone to breakouts, it’s important to chat with your dermatologist before starting use since squalane mimics the oils we already have, so it could pose a threat.
It absorbs fast.
If you’ve been exploring the wide world of oils for a while now, you know that no two droplets are created equally. And your pores have various reactions, depending on the ingredients and the texture of the liquid. If you prefer oils that don’t sit on the top of you skin barrier, as many do, Dr. Sarin suggests trying squalane oil since it’s noted as a quick-absorbing alternative.
It is multi-use.
Because squalane oil is a super-strong lipid, it works double-time to lock in moisture on your skin. But while most people will use it to fight aging or to serve as their daily moisturizer, it is also appropriate in many other uses too. This includes adding some conditioning to split ends, soothing inflammation and more, according to Dr. Sarin.
It fights skin damage.
As a highly-effective emollient and natural antioxidant, many people use squalane oil to reverse damage to their skin. As Dr. Marmur explains, over time, squalane can reduce wrinkles, eliminate scars, cure UV damage, lighten freckles and even erase skin pigmentation. Some people will use squalane as a spot treatment on a specific problematic area, too.
Ready to try squalane oil?
Ready to give it a go? Here, a handful of squalane oil-rich products to test in your skincare routine.
Luxe to the touch but full of an impressive concoction of vitamin C, rose and squalane oil, a drop or two of this daily will make a difference in your texture, brightness and tone. It also receives praise for its soft fragrance and silky feel.
If you haven’t heard of The Inkey List, you’re in for a treat: this company produces affordable oils that are natural and to the point. In fact, each of their products just contain one thing, and in this case, it’s squalane oil. This way you can mix and match, depending on what you need. Ideal for normal, dry, combination or oily pores, this lightweight, affordable option is great for first-timers.
This plant-derived solution will ensure that your pores are quenched to perfection. It’s free of sulfates SLS and SLES, as well as parabens, formaldehydes and other no-good ingredients. Instead, you’re left with pure squalane, that works wonders all by its bad self.
Fight against wrinkles? Add H20 to your thirsty pores? Give you a killer glow? Check, check and check! Ideal for those who suffer from a dull texture, dryness and other skin issues, this product uses maqui, vitamin C, prickly pear, acai, goji and of course, squalane oil to get you Instagram-ready.
Derived from olives, this squalane oil is often given five-star reviews due to it’s no-BS ingredients and it’s soft feel. When you use daily, you’ll notice a youthful glow, a dewy complexion and an even skin tone. As a bonus perk, it’s also a Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free and vegan-friendly product.23