Squalene is a fat-soluble antioxidant naturally produced in our skin. It acts as an occlusive, protecting our skin against environmental damage and reducing TEWL. It also possesses emollient properties that make the skin soft and supple. It spreads well, does not leave behind a tacky feel and can even aid in the absorption of other ingredients/products. It plays a key role in barrier-function. All of these properties combined make it good for use as an effective, independent moisturizer for all skin types.
It can be derived from animal sources (shark liver) or plant sources (olive, sugarcane, rice bran, wheat germ, amaranth seed, etc.). Please note that we deem it unethical to source it from animal sources and strictly use plant-derived squalene.
So, where does squalane come into the picture?
Since squalene is a highly unstable product, it is converted to squalane to improve shelf life and stability. This conversion is necessary because squalene would oxidize quickly on exposure to air and lose most of its benefits. This is the only difference between the two.
Why you should consider using squalane:
– It is non-comedogenic
– It constitutes about 12% of the natural moisturizer – sebum – produced by the skin. Starting from our 20-30’s, though, its production starts to lessen, which is why it is wise to topically apply it as well.
– Since our body naturally produces it, it suits/benefits all skin types and poses almost no risk for skin irritation.