What on earth is squalane, and why do we keep seeing it in all of our skincare products?

11 AUGUST 2020

The secret skin saviour

If we had to pick the biggest beauty buzzword de jour, it would be squalane. Suddenly, it seems to be popping up on every skincare bottle and beauty blog, but what actually is it, and why should you care? Well, the powerhouse ingredient is a hard-working hydrator and damage-repairer (pretty essential at this time of year when we're exposing our skin to the sun).

Read on to find out what squalane does, who should use it, and our favourite squalane super-products...

What is squalane?

First thing's first, let's talk about squalene with an e. This is a compound produced naturally by our skin, specifically our sebaceous glands, and alongside triglycerides and wax esters, it's part of what forms sebum. This helps to keep skin hydrated and maintain skin's outer barrier.

Just like with collagen, our natural production of squalene starts to decrease around the age of 30. But squalene in its natural state isn't very stable, so in order to be bottled, it goes through a process called hydrogenation to turn it into squalane.

According to Ada Ooi, renowned facialist and founder of 001 Skincare, this process creates "a stable form of lipids, which basically helps to repair the skin's hydro-lipidic barrier to prevent water loss".

What does it do?

"Squalane boasts multiple skin benefits, restoring your skins moisture and maintaining hydration," explains Mimi Luzon, who has over 30 years experience as a skin wellbeing expert and celebrity aesthetician.

"It's also an antioxidant with anti-ageing properties, fighting free radicals and skin damage, leaving your complexion plumped and boosted."

Who should use it?

Squalane is suitable for all skin types, and is particularly beneficial for thirsty skin. "Squalane should be a staple for dry, stressed, tired or more mature skin where wrinkles, lines or pigmentations are visible," says Ada.

Plus, thanks to its free radical damage-fighting properties, squalane should also be incorporated into the skincare regimes of those who live in busy cities – free radicals are often formed from pollution such as smog, dust and cigarette smoke – or those who are seeing more hyperpigmentation at this time of year from UV exposure.

It's also beneficial for blemish-prone skin. "Squalane is suitable to oily or acne prone skin because it helps to balance the water-oil ratio in our skin," explains Ada, "regulating sebum secretion to avoid 'overspill' of oil that can lead to blocked pores, breakouts or other inflammation."

What are the best squalane products?

We've rounded up the best skincare products with squalane below…


VA Repair & Reglow TCM-Warming Concentrate, 001 Skincare

Article written by Ali Patony - GLAMOUR

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