What Is Squalane? And It’s Benefits For The Skin

Squalane, an oil derived from olives and shark liver is increasing in popularity for it’s hydrating and anti-inflammatory benefits. We’ve written this article to give you the 411 on Squalane; what it is, methods of extraction and how it can benefit your facial skin.

What is Squalane?

Squalane is a hydrocarbon derived from squalene (no that is not a typo). Squalene is a naturally occurring, organic compound found naturally in the skin, olives, and also extracted from shark liver oil.

Squalene from sharks, an insight:

Shark liver is made up predominantly of squalene, these fatty acids help with liver function in the deep sea. Unfortunately, thousands of sharks are poached every year for their fins and squalene amongst other things for herbal remedies around the world. This is a completely unethical practise with little sustainability.

It makes sense that an increasing number of manufacturers are turning to olive oil through which they can derive squalene. Not only is this a vegan practise and far more sustainable, over-time it may potentially reduce the demand for shark-derived squalene which will effectively reduce illegal poaching of sharks.

As it stands however, squalene extracted from olives is a far more expensive and arduous process so many brands still used shark-derived squalene. 60% of market-supplied squalene still comes from non-sustainable sources. It’s a good practise to find cruelty-free, vegan brands to ensure your squalane products have been ethically sourced.

How is squalane manufactured?

Squalane is obtained when squalene undergoes hydrogenation (to treat something with hydrogen). Squalene isn’t used on it’s own as it has the potential of auto-oxidation (meaning it can go off easily). The squalane product obtained is a non-comedogenic oil which has been used as an emollient since the early 1950s.

What are the key benefits of applying squalane to your skin?

Squalane oil is an excellent, natural non-comedogenic moisturiser (meaning it won’t block your pores). Squalane also possesses good antioxidant and tumor-fighting properties.

woman applying squalane oil to skin
Photo by Chelsea shapouri on Unsplash

Provides hydration

Squalane mimics the hydration our skin provides. Our skin itself contains about 10% squalene where it has moisturising and protective properties.

Can fight free-radical skin damage

Squalane is a natural anti-oxidant meaning it can fight skin damage induced by harmful free-radicals. It’s these free-radicals that can cause premature aging, and are often a result of sun exposure.


Some research has displayed the effectiveness of squalane in reducing skin redness and inflammation. This means it can be a good moisturiser alternative for those suffering from skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and eczema.

Won’t clog pores, good for acne-prone skin

Squalane’s lightweight and non-comedogenic properties make it an excellent choice for those with oily and acne-prone skin. Squalane will provide hydration deep into the skin without causing breakouts.

Can boost collagen production

There is still limited research to support this claim, but squalane might promote collagen synthesis. It’s hydrating and antioxidant properties might help the skin cells function more effectively.

Can protect against UVB-induced skin cancer

Some studies have shown the role of squalane in protecting the skin against cancer induced by harmful UVB rays found in sunlight. Squalane could therefore play an important role in protecting the skin from damage.

Can regulate sebum production

Excess sebum production is occasionally a result of overly dry skin. By applying a lightweight moisturiser to the skin you’re providing it with the moisture it needs to function well. This might mean reduced sebum production and therefore less skin shine and breakouts.

Low potential for irritation

Squalane has an extremely low potential for irritating the skin. This means squalane can be used by almost anyone and everyone. We still recommend doing a patch test on an inconspicuous bit of skin to check for compatibility.

To sum it up

Squalane is an oil with fantastic moisturising and skin protecting properties. It’s derived from squalene, an anti-oxidant produced in our skin and obtained from shark liver and olives. Squalane’s low risk for irritation means it can be used a moisturiser by most people, regardless of skin type, where it can help to protect the skin and reduce inflammation.

7 responses to “What Is Squalane? And It’s Benefits For The Skin”

  1. I just started using squalane oil from Biossance, which I received as a free sample when I purchased a moisturizer. So far I love it! It’s cruelty free (derived from sugar cane), and is very easily absorbed into the skin leaving it feeling silky soft and not at all greasy. I even love applying it to the ends of my hair for a little non-greasy added moisture. Sounds like an add for this company, but it’s not! Just wanted to share my experience so far.

  2. […] The Vinosource-Hydra by Caudalie is a lovely, rich moisturiser for dry skin. Some of the ingredients include antioxidant grape seed polyphenols, organic grape water, olive squalane and borage oil. All these ingredients come together to relieve redness, deliver intense hydration, reduce skin tightness and repair cracked, dry skin. To learn more about squalane’s anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties, read our article here […]

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