When skin is dry, it needs moisture — like, yesterday. Getting quick hydration all comes down to having the right ingredients in a serum, face oil or moisturizer. There are some ingredients that appear to plump skin, but they can leave complexions dehydrated and patchy hours later. Then there are other ingredients that moisturize skin, but they’re just too rich and cause breakouts or milia. Enter: squalane, an effective ingredient that will nourish skin and keep it hydrated without leaving behind any slimy residue to clog your pores.
What Is Squalane?
You might have also seen the word “squalene” associated with skin care. It’s not a case of spelling variations. Dr. Iris Rubin, dermatologist and co-founder of SEEN Hair Care, says that squalane is a derivative of squalene, a natural lipid that’s found in sebum (skin’s natural oil). Squalane is more stable, which makes it a better choice for skin care products. As we age, the natural production of squalene in skin slowly decreases, according to Heather Wilson, licensed esthetician and director of brand development at InstaNatural. This negatively impacts skin’s moisture levels. Applying squalane topically replenishes skin and prevents uncomfortable tightness.
A well-known kind of squalene comes from shark liver oil, per The Lab & Co. founder Julie Pefferman. Thankfully, most of the squalane on the market today is derived from olives or sugarcane, making finished products vegan.
Squalane can be compared to oils like jojoba, rosehip and argan, but it differs due to its weightless finish. Its molecular size makes it absorb easily and feel weightless on skin, says Wilson. The moisturizing ingredient separates itself from other hydrating ingredients because of how it mimics the skin’s natural processes. Squalane is a fantastic emollient that improves skin’s elasticity, promotes wound-healing and is an anti-inflammatory, says Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salons and skin care collection. Another reason to love squalane is that it’s noncomedogenic (won’t clog pores), per Rubin. This makes it suitable for all skin types, including oily skin.
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