The Truth About Squalene: Everything You Need To Make The Right Skincare Choices
The Truth About Squalene: Everything You Need To Make The Right Skincare Choices

The Truth About Squalene: Everything You Need To Make The Right Skincare Choices

5 minutes read

If you’ve not tried squalene to treat dry and dehydrated skin, take this as your sign to jump on board. With so many ‘miracle’ ingredients around, the world of skincare can feel confusing – but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. Whether your skin is just looking a bit lacklustre, or you suffer from severe dryness, squalene might just be the game-changing ingredient to incorporate into your skincare regime. Beauty Daily spoke to Ridah Syed, Senior Medical Aesthetician at Skinfluencer London to get the lowdown on the benefits of squalene for skin.


What is squalene?  

Squalene is a lipid that your skin cells produce naturally, however, just like collagen, its production decreases as you age. But when it comes to formulating products with squalene, the process can be a little more complicated. “Squalene that derives from animals and plants is too unstable to be used in skincare products, so for this reason, squalene has to be hydrogenated into squalane,” Syed says. “Squalane is a stable form of the molecule which is safe to use to formulate skincare products,” she continues. 

Squalene benefits for the skin  

Boosts hydration 

Squalene can amp up hydration levels to leave you with a more radiant complexion. As squalene is a naturally occurring component of human sebum (the oily substance produced by the skin to help keep skin moisturised and protected), it can contribute to strengthening the skin’s natural moisture barrier, helping to achieve a lit-from-within glow. 

Antioxidant protection 

Squalene can provide the skin with antioxidant protection. This helps to increase its resilience and shield it from environmental damage, which can cause premature ageing 

Prevents collagen breakdown 

While squalene can’t increase the production of collagen within the skin alone, it can help to prevent the breakdown of collagen caused by environmental damage or inflammation. 

Promotes skin firmness and elasticity 

Because squalene is an emollient, it helps to maintain skin function which makes it more able to maintain collagen levels, as well as improve elasticity and firmness.  

Squalane cleansers 

“Squalane cleansers support your skin’s moisture barrier through hydration, so they will leave your skin feeling smooth and soft,” explains Syed. “Those who have dry or dehydrated complexions will really benefit from this ingredient as it is an emollient.”  

“Because squalane doesn’t tend to be irritating to the skin, anyone who suffers from skin sensitivity or conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis, or eczema can benefit from this type of cleanser,” she continues.

Augustinus Bader The Cleansing Balm, £60 

For a thorough but delicate cleanse, opt for this squalane-packed balm that instantly gets to work on melting away make-up, grime and impurities. 

Squalane moisturisers 

Next step, moisturising. Squalane helps to hydrate the skin and nourish it with its antioxidant properties.

Clarins Super Restorative Day Cream, £67.20 

Clarins Super Restorative Day Cream

This formula not only contains moisturising vegetal squalane, but also harungana known as ‘nature’s retinol’ for a deeply renewing and hydrating experience.

myBlend Revitalizing Anti-Ageing Emulsion, £210 

The combination of squalane, hyaluronic acid, turmeric, and peptides makes for a seriously effective anti-ageing moisturiser. 


Clarins Hydra-Essentiel [HA2] Night Cream, £33.60 

hydra essentiel night cream

If you want a good all-rounder moisturiser, look no further. Packed with hyaluronic acid and squalane, this hydrating and barrier-boosting night cream is gentle but effective. 

Drawbacks of squalene  

Although squalene is generally considered to be a mild and safe ingredient, just like any other skincare ingredient, there can be some disadvantages depending on your skin type. Here are some factors to keep in mind. 

May not provide enough moisture 

While squalene works wonders on most dry and dehydrated skin types, if the skin is suffering from extreme dryness or another skin disorder, it may not always be sufficient to solve the issue. In this case, it’s necessary to incorporate other hydrating ingredients into your regime. 

Not suitable for all skin types 

Squalene is considered non-irritating, but if your skin is super sensitive or you suffer with acne, there is a possibility that squalene could cause adverse skin reactions. 

Can raise ethical concerns 

Squalene often derives from shark liver oil, which can cause environmental concerns due to the impact it can have on shark populations. However, there are many vegan alternatives now available such as vegetable squalene that is derived from olives. 

Can squalene cause acne?  

“Generally, squalane itself will not cause spots,” Syed says. “But if you have an oily complexion, using squalane in the form of oil might not improve the condition. Instead, opt for lighter textures such as gels or serums.” 

Is squalene comedogenic? 

Squalene is generally considered to be non-comedogenic, meaning that it is unlikely to clog pores or contribute to the development of acne. In fact, squalene is a naturally occurring component of human sebum, which is the oily substance produced by our skin to help keep it moisturised and protected. 

Can squalene cause infertility?  

There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that squalene can cause infertility in humans, mainly because it is already a natural substance that is found in the sebum of human skin. 

Squalane is a highly biocompatible and non-toxic substance that has been extensively tested for safety. It has been used in a wide range of cosmetic and personal-care products for many years, and there have been no reports of infertility or other serious adverse effects associated with its use. 

However, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before using any new product, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are taking medication that may interact with the product.

Read next: Make Your Under Eye Creams Work Harder with These Expert Tips 

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