Most suited to those with dry or combination skin (but can be used for all skin types), our next hero oil, squalane is a multi-purpose, lightweight oil that can help to seal in moisture on the scalp, face and body. We’re starting this post by covering the difference between squalane and squalene – two commonly confused compounds – wrapping it up by sharing why we love squalane oil (and why you will too)!
The Difference Between Squalane and Squalene
Our sebaceous glands produce sebum (the body’s natural oil) which is made up of the lipid squalene, triglycerides and wax esters. Sebum plays an important role in strengthening and moisturising the skin’s protective barrier, however, as we get older the natural production of squalene declines, making it harder for the barrier to retain water and fight against free radicals.
Squalene is converted to squalane through a process called hydrogenation. Without this conversion, the compound would oxidise when it comes into contact with air and become ineffective. As a result, we get a more saturated and stable version which is suitable for use in skincare products.
It’s important not to confuse the two, despite them both being found in moisturisers, serums and face oils, as squalene (with an e) oil is derived from shark liver, therefore not vegan-friendly or cruelty-free. Squalane (with an a) oil, on the other hand, comes from plants such as rice bran, sugar cane, wheat germ and amaranth seed oil. We use squalane extracted from olives (100% pure olive extract) in our Body Oil blend.
Benefits of Squalane For Skin
- It hydrates by reducing trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL). TEWL is the process of water passing from the dermis to epidermis and then evaporating from the skin due to pressure on each side of the skin barrier. While this process is regulated, when our skin’s barrier becomes damaged (by external environmental factors, by injury and by overly drying products applied topically) trans-epidermal water loss increases. Squalane oil acts as an emollient to restore the skin barrier, bringing a natural balance, helping our skin to seal in moisture and decreasing TEWL.
- Although it provides this protective film, squeezes into spaces between skin cells, matches the skin’s natural sebum, boosts circulation and even stimulates collagen production, it’s not occlusive – it’s easily absorbed, doesn’t feel greasy, thick or heavy and is non-comedogenic meaning it doesn’t clog pores. Skin is left feeling extremely soft, smooth and supple.
- It’s odourless and very gentle so is suitable for very sensitive skin. It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties, soothing the skin and scalp. Thanks to it aiding moisture retention, skin flare-ups and dryness can also be reduced.
- It can be used on hair too so if you are looking for a single oil that can be used on face and hair, then this is it, as it is lighter than argan oil (this also makes it suitable for those with nut allergies). It can increase shine, nourish strands and the scalp, prevent breakage and promote hair growth.
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HAVE YOU TRIED SQUALANE IN YOUR SKINCARE?
We’d love for you to tell us in a comment below!
This post is part of our Hero Oils series, with more coming soon; including Baobab Seed Oil, Fenugreek Oil and Rosemary Oil.
Moisturizers: The Slippery Road, Indian J Dermatol. 2016 May-Jun; 61(3): 279–287.
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What Is Squalane and What Are Its Benefits for Skin and Hair?