Squalane is one of those largely unproblematic skin-care ingredients that deserves all of the praise. Found in a sea of oils, serums, cleansers, and moisturizers, squalane locks moisture in, promotes elasticity, and balances oil production without clogging pores. Heck, you can even use squalane to moisturize dry cuticles and rough feet, soothe skin after shaving or sun exposure, or even tame flyaways and frizz.
While people with dry and/or mature skin arguably benefit the most from using squalane oils, cleansers, and serums, all skin types should consider adding squalane to their skin-care regimes. That should be the case for people with sensitive skin as well, as squalane is naturally odorless and “not a common irritant or allergen,” as Charlotte Birnbaum, M.D, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, previously told us.
Since it’s so effective in terms of keeping that oh-so-good moisture trapped (comfortably) in your skin, squalane can “aid in skin-care problems wherein the skin barrier is disrupted and transepidermal water loss is an issue,” Board-certified dermatologist Samantha Fisher, M.D., based in Stuart, Florida, explained. In plainer terms, squalane can be a key player in treating conditions like eczema, acne, and psoriasis. OK, what can’t this ingredient do? It even exists naturally in your skin — right now. Well, let us clarify.
Mona Gohara, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and associate clinical professor at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, defines squalene as “one of the many natural lipids your body produces to hydrate the skin and is estimated to make up about 10 to 12 percent of your skin’s oil.” Wait, hold up. Did we just spell squalene with an extra e? Yes, we did. The sebum we often find annoying to deal with actually consists of triglycerides, wax esters, and squalene, as Marisa Garshick, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, previously explained.
Because our body’s natural production of squalene slows down over time (after the age of 30, according to board-certified dermatologist Samantha Fisher, M.D.), we’ve found a way to convert squalene into squalane (through hydrogenation) so it becomes stable enough to live on the shelves of our skin-care cabinets.
Though many squalane formulas were originally derived from shark livers, you’ll be hard-pressed to find those sources in the market nowadays due to obvious ethical concerns. Instead, “the squalane in skin-care products is now being derived mostly from plants such as olives and rice bran,” Dr. Garshick noted. Biossance, for example, uses sugarcane to harness the squalane found across its entire brand profile.
With the help of our dermatologist friends, we’ve rounded up 15 of the best squalane skin-care products on the market right now at every price point. They’re not just squalane oils, as you’ll soon see. In fact, you might be surprised to see just how widespread the use of squalane is. Whatever your reaction, incorporate squalane into your routine and start reaping the moisture-hoarding benefits.