Natural beauty CEO Indie Lee recently said she can’t go a day without using her favorite skincare ingredient: Squalane. Naturally occurring in our own bodies, it is among the most common lipids produced by human skin cells, making up approximately 10 percent of our sebum. On the skin’s surface it acts as a barrier, both protecting the skin from moisture loss and providing a shield for the body from
Internally, the liver produces squalane as a precursor to cholesterol.
It’s also an antioxidant-rich, age-fighting emollient that’s commonly used as an additive in deodorants, lip balm, lipstick, moisturizers, sun tan lotions, supplements and a variety of other cosmetic products. Because it mimics our body’s own natural moisturizers, it can rapidly penetrate the skin and is absorbed quickly and completely without any lingering residue.
Purpose of Squalane
The body’s squalane levels start declining when we’re in our 20s. Applying nourishing squalane will lubricate your skin’s surface and can help you achieve a softer texture and smoother appearance sans greasiness. The lightweight, odorless liquid has antibacterial properties and can be effective in treating the symptoms of eczema. Acne sufferers can reduce excess oil production by using it as a spot treatment to balance the complexion. Over time, using squalane can reduce wrinkles, eliminate scars, reverse UV damage, lighten freckles and erase skin pigmentation while fighting free radicals.
On the hair, it works as a conditioner that makes your strands shiny, supple and strong. When ingested, squalane capsules are marketed to protect the body from an assortment of ailments including: Arthritis, cancer, hemorrhoids, rheumatism, psoriasis and shingles.
Squalane vs. Squalene
Squalane is a hydrogenated version of squalene that makes it more stable against oxidation when exposed to air. Because squalane is cheaper, breaks down more slowly and has a longer shelf life than squalene, it is most commonly used as an ingredient in beauty products, typically with an expiration date of two years after opening.
Squalane Vs. Squalene
The first thing to clear up is that squalane and squalene are the same thing. Squalane is basically a more stable version of squalene and, therefore, it is squalane that usually shows up in cosmetics. The second thing is that squalane was originally obtained from shark livers and sometimes it still is. The fish-friendly alternative is squalane made from olives. Unfortunately not all cosmetic manufacturers state the provenance of their squalane.
Anyway, the key question is…
Why Does Squalane Work So Well?
Squalane, whilst not so bountiful in plants as it is in shark’s liver, can be found in many vegetable oils. It is also found in human sebaceous secretions, as a precursor of cholesterol. In humans, squalane levels peak in our early 20s and then decline very rapidly.
Highly refined squalane from olive demonstrates the most notable squalane characteristic: its ability to completely and rapidly penetrate the skin. Apparently, it can permeate into the skin at a rate of 2 mm/second. I can vouch for that. I put a large dollop on my finger and it was completely absorbed (with hardly any rubbing in) within a couple of minutes.
Once absorbed it is doing all manner of helpful things. Squalane is an antioxidant, prevents UV damage and the formation of age spots, promotes cell growth and is an antibacterial. Also in animal tests, at 100% concentrations, it was non-irritant to rabbit skin and eyes.
Other studies show that certain carcinogenic chemicals are inactivated when exposed to squalane over a period of time. Hopefully, this means that the squalane will counteract the potentially harmful effects of the junk that all too often gets thrown into skincare creams.
Where to Find Squalane
Indie Lee Squalane Facial Cream ($70); Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil ($32); Indie Lee Calendula Eye Balm ($42). Note: Indie Lee uses only olive-derived squalane.