What Are The Benefits Of Squalane Oil For Skin?

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Skin care has become increasingly vital these days – and moisturizing happens to be the most essential step of a skin care routine. However, not all moisturizers are made alike. While several options are available on the market, not all ingredients seem to show promise.

This is where we bring squalane oil into the picture. This natural ingredient mimics the human sebum and benefits the skin in important ways. Read to know more about squalane oil and how you can use it for better skin health.

What Is Squalane Oil?

Squalane is the hydrogenated version of squalene. Squalene is a lipid present naturally on our skin. Our skin cells produce this chemical to moisturize the skin.

The skin cells are most efficient in producing squalene in the teenage years. But this production reduces with age. Lack of this natural moisturizer is one reason mature skin becomes dry and rough.

Other sources of squalene include rice bran, olives, sugarcane, and shark liver. However, these sources are unstable and become rancid when exposed to air.

The cosmetic industry found a solution by hydrogenating squalene into the stable squalane oil before using it in skin care products (1). This hydrogenation process makes the oil easy to use on the skin and extends the product’s shelf life.

Squalane oil offers several benefits for your skin. Let us discuss them in detail.

What Are The Benefits Of Squalane Oil For Your Skin?

1. Has A Natural Origin

While shark liver was the primary source for manufacturing squalane oil, many plant-based sources are available now. These include wheat bran, olives, sugarcane, rice bran, etc.

Most ingredients in skin care products include mineral oil or petrolatum. But squalane oil is natural. It can also be a vegan ingredient, and is a popular alternative if you wish to avoid petrochemicals.

2. Is Suitable For All Skin Types

Squalane is a derivative of a naturally occurring component of sebum. Hence, your skin recognizes it. Squalane is also non-greasy and lightweight, and is suitable even for oily skin (2). Squalane can easily moisturize your skin and leave it soft and supple.

3. Moisturizes The Skin

Squalane is a modified form of squalene – an essential part of our sebum. However, the production of squalene slows down with age and causes the skin to go dry (2).

Since it is similar to the natural oils on your skin, squalane works as an effective emollient and helps seal skin moisture.

4. Reduces The Appearance Of Fine Lines

Squalane oil hydrates and makes your skin supple. It reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It may also help prevent new fine lines from appearing on your skin. However, more research is warranted in this regard.

5. May Smoothen Out Your Skin

The hydrating and anti-aging properties of squalane oil may improve your skin texture. Squalane oil is an excellent emollient and using it regularly can leave your skin feeling smooth. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it can also reduce your skin pore size and any skin spots.

6. May Help Treat Skin Irritation

Squalane oil has anti-inflammatory properties and may soothe skin irritation. It offers a calming and pleasant feeling. It helps hydrate skin, soothes flare-ups, and may help ease symptoms of inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis (2). However, more research is warranted in this regard.

7. May Help Treat Acne-prone Skin

Squalane oil is non-comedogenic and does not clog your skin pores. It is a popular choice of moisturizer for all skin types.

Furthermore, squalene mimics the natural skin sebum. Hence, your skin tends to reduce its sebum production as it recognizes squalane oil. It may help reduce acne as a consequence.

8. May Reduce Dark Spots

Squalane oil has antioxidant properties. It improves your skin appearance by reducing damage due to sun exposure. It also may reduce dark spots and visibly brighten your skin. It could also even out your skin complexion. However, more research is warranted in this regard.

How Can You Use Squalane Oil In Your Skin Care Routine?

Choose a pure form of squalane oil free of additives or chemicals.

Be careful if you want a vegan version, as shark oil could often be a key ingredient in the manufacturing process. Always read the label carefully before making a purchase.

Here’s how you can use squalane oil for your skin:

  1. Cleanse your face thoroughly with a natural face wash appropriate for your skin type.
  2. You can use a toner after cleansing.
  3. You can apply any skin treatment or serum if you choose to.
  4. Gently massage a few drops of squalane oil into the skin using your fingertips.
  5. Alternately, you can use a skin care product (such as a moisturizer or an eye cream) with squalane oil.
  6. Finish your skin care routine with a coat of sunscreen for the morning prep.

Squalane oil is non-greasy and light, and is fast to get absorbed. Moreover, anecdotal evidence suggests that you can blend squalane with other products to gain multiple benefits.

  • With Retinol: The combination may nourish and replenish your skin’s moisture content. Squalane keeps the retinol from oxidizing and prolongs its effects.
  • With Vitamin C: These ingredients can brighten and lighten your skin tone when used together. This strong antioxidant combo can strengthen your skin barrier against external pollutants.
  • With Body Butter: Using squalane oil with other emollients like shea butter and jojoba oil can better hydrate your skin and prevent moisture loss.

Squalane oil is effective in moisturizing your skin. But how does it respond to various skin types? Read on to find out.

Who Can Use Squalane Oil?

1. Those With Oily Skin

Squalane oil is similar to a naturally available component of your sebum. Hence, it helps maintain the oil balance of your skin. In a way, it ‘tricks’ your skin into producing less oil. It is non-comedogenic and helps treat the excess oil on the skin.

2. Those With Dry Skin

Squalane oil naturally hydrates and replenishes moisture in dry skin.

3. Those With Sensitive Skin

Squalane oil is non-greasy and anti-inflammatory. It can soothe sensitive skin with its gentle nature and reduce any irritation. It also may protect your skin from environmental damage. The oil may even help soothe skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema (2).

4. Those With Combination Skin

Moisturizing combination skin could be tricky as it is both dry and oily. It needs a delicate oil balance while retaining its moisture levels. Squalane oil is an excellent moisturizer for such skin types as it can help maintain the oil balance while being non-greasy.

Though squalane oil has important benefits, it also may cause adverse effects in some. Read to know more.

What Are The Side Effects Of Using Squalane Oil On Your Skin?

Squalane oil is generally safe for use for most people. However, as with any other skin care ingredient, it always poses a risk of skin irritation or allergies.

Always do a patch test before you use squalane oil on your skin. Apply it to a small area on your skin, such as the inner arm, to test for any reactions. Discontinue use if you develop signs such as itchiness, swelling, redness, or irritation.

Another aspect of squalane is its process of harvesting. Squalane from sharks is neither eco-friendly nor sustainable. Beware of the product you use. Always opt for pure squalane derived from plants instead.

To Summarize

Your body naturally produces lesser amount of squalene with age, and this may result in dry and rough skin. Applying squalane oil, a derivative of squalene, can help nourish and hydrate your skin. You can use squalane in its pure form directly or combine it with other ingredients beneficial for the skin. Just be mindful of the environment and use squalane made from plant-based derivatives.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Can you safely use squalane oil for skin during pregnancy?

Squalane oil is generally more stable and safe for use on the skin, even during pregnancy. However, individual reactions and responses to the skin care ingredient may vary. It is always wiser to conduct a patch test before using the product.


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  1. Solvent-Free Chemoselective Hydrogenation of Squalene to Squalane
  2. Moisturizers: The Slippery Road
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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).