The Skin-Care Products with Squalane You Should Be Using
What Exactly Is Squalane?
You may have stumbled across the word "squalane" while scanning the ingredient list on a new skin-care product, or maybe you caught wind of the buzzy term from some girlfriends over brunch. The bottom line? Squalene is something you should definitely know about, and you should consider adding products with squalane into your skin-care routine. (You probably noticed a slight spelling change—that's because they're actually two different things.)
Squalene is a fatty molecule found in the skin that is highly versatile. "It maintains skin's moisture barrier and hydration, and is also an antioxidant that has anti-aging properties for neutralizing environmental damage," dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D., tells Health. The human body actually produces squalene (a part of our skin's own natural moisture), but the amount made and retained in skin starts to heavily decline in our 20s. Enter: topical products that contain squalane.
What exactly is the difference between squalane and squalene? For starters, squalene is incredibly unstable, goes bad quickly, and can clog pores. "Squalene itself is very reactive and becomes oxidized quickly, but when it is hydrogenated, it becomes squalane, a much more stable ingredient," explains New York City dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D. Squalane essentially comes from squalene, and is the more optimized, skin-friendly version with a much longer shelf life.
Squalane Is More Common Than You Might Think
The ingredient you most often see listed in beauty and skin-care products is squalane. It traditionally came from the liver of sharks, says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "However, cruelty-free and environmentally-friendly methods of extracting squalene from plant sources has become popular," he adds. In fact, cosmetic squalene can now even be derived from olives.
Not to be confused with hyaluronic acid (also found naturally in the skin), squalane actually plays quite nicely with this mega-hydrator. "Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that draws in and attracts water, while squalene is an emollient that seals in moisturize and minimizes moisture loss," says Dr. Nazarian. Apply your favorite skin-care product with hyaluronic acid and follow up with a layer of squalane for best results. (Here's why hyaluronic acid is the best way to transform your skin.)
Also good? Squalane's molecular makeup is very similar to our own skin's cell membrane, which allows it to absorb rapidly, Dr. Jaliman says. It's super lightweight and has a non-greasy formula, making it safe for all skin types, including sensitive skin. It rarely causes acne or allergic reactions since it's naturally found in the body, Dr. Jaliman adds.
Ready to kick your skin-care game up a notch? Below are dermatologist-approved products—from facial creams to hair oils to hand treatments—jam-packed with squalane, all under $100.
First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Daily Face Cream
"First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Daily Face Cream combines softening benefits of squalane with skin-repairing ceramides and soothing antioxidants," says Dr. Zeichner. It's a weightless, non-comedogenic (read: won't clog pores) lotion that will protect and hydrate skin at a super affordable price. Bonus: It's safe to use on even oily, acne-prone skin. (P.S. These are the best products to get rid of your body acne.)
Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil
Although pure rosehip oil is often recommended by experts, if you want to simplify the number of products in your routine, you may prefer to use a formula that contains other proven anti-agers, too. Dr. Zeichner likes this oil from Biossance, which has plant-derived squalane to boost moisture and vitamin C to brighten skin.
Timeless Skin Care 100% Pure Squalane
Looking for a product that won't break the bank? Dr. Jaliman loves Timeless Skin Care 100% Pure Squalane, which is derived from olives. It absorbs quickly and has a non-greasy feel, making it great for all skin types.
Tata Harper Beautifying Face Oil
If you want to get your glow on, look no further than Tata Harper Beautifying Face Oil. "This squalane-rich oil is loaded with antioxidants and brightening ingredients like camellia seed oil," says Dr. Ziechner. You'll get long-lasting moisture, barrier protection, and radiant skin.
June Jacobs Cellular Intensive Cuticle Recovery Cream
Mega-moisturizing June Jacobs Cellular Intensive Cuticle Recovery Cream contains botanical extracts and essential oils to promote nail and cuticle health. Hyaluronic acid hydrates and plumps (fills in fine lines), vitamin B helps to retain moisture, rice bran delivers vitamin E, and squalane nourishes and boosts the skin's ability to regenerate, promoting the formation of collagen for firmer, plumper skin.
Reverie Ever Recovery Hair Oil
Squalane can do wonder for your hair, too! Boasting marula oil, murumuru butter, and squalane, Reverie Ever Recovery Hair Oil shields hair from damage, minimizes split ends, and adds shine. The squalane helps protect hair color while taming frizz. It's completely safe to use on color-treated hair and extensions, too.
SK-II Facial Treatment Oil
While it may be a splurge, SK-II Facial Treatment Oil targets extremely parched skin caused by dry conditions and cold temperatures. "[It] contains skin-brightening pitera extract and a hydrating oil base rich in squalane and botanical extracts," says Dr. Zeichner. It feels so luxurious on skin, but also helps soothe the senses with fragrant lavender.
This story was originally published on Health.com by Susan Brickell.