Squalane is a stable form of squalene, which can have undesirable reactions to some compounds. Both oils can be extracted from shark liver oil or vegetable sources such as olive oil. Squalane is used in many skin creams and cosmetics as well as in vaccines. Squalane’s ability to be used as a co-oil with other ingredients makes it useful in a variety of skin care products for cleansing and nutrient delivery of other beneficial ingredients.
Squalane absorbs slowly through the skin and, according to the March 1982 issue of the "International Journal of Toxicology," it is not a skin irritant or sensitizer. It is safe as a cosmetic ingredient. It is a natural component of human sebum and has emollient properties that soften and soothe skin. It adds a layer of oil on the skin that helps to slow water loss and keep skin soft and supple. It is used in a variety of cosmetics including creams designed to help heal dry skin, lipstick, lotions and other cosmetic products.
Squalane has humectant properties that increase the water retention capacity of the skin, according to the MedLibrary.org. Moisturizers help protect sensitive skin, prevent dryness, improve skin tone and texture. Squalane is a natural lubricant and skin barrier that helps protect the skin and prevent moisture loss. It also has a high penetration efficiency that makes it an excellent transport system that helps the skin absorb other ingredients, according to Apostolos Pappas in a study on epidermal surface lipids published in the March–April 2009 issue of “Dermatoendocrinology.”
Squalane’s hydrating and skin-softening effects on the skin help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, according to the February 2010 issue of the SOFW-Journal. Besides its anti-aging effects, it helps maintain healthy skin. Squalane is rapidly absorbed and spreads easily over the skin surface without leaving an oily or greasy feeling. Squalane is a natural part of human skin and plays an important role in the repair of damaged skin.
UV Protection Action
Because of effectiveness of squalane to protect the skin against environmental factors, it is commonly used in sunblock creams and prescription acne creams, such as adapalene, that cause sun sensitivity. A study by K. Ohsawa, et al., published in the May 1984 “Journal of Toxicological Sciences” determined that squalene plays an important role in protection from damage caused by UV irradiation. Since squalene from shark oil can have an odor, it is purified to the squalane form for more stability and usefulness in cosmetics.
- J Cosmet Sci: Microemulsions of Triglyceride-based oils: The effect of Co-oil and Salinity on Phase Diagrams; N Komesvarakul, et al.; Jul-Aug. 2006
- International Journal of Toxicology: Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Squalane and Squalene;
- Dermatoendocrinology: Epidermal Surface Lipids; A Pappas; Mar.-Apr. 2009
Caroline Thompson is a professional photojournalist who has been working for print and online publications since 1999. Her work has appeared in the "Sacramento Bee," "People Magazine," "Newsweek" and other publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in photojournalism from California State University at Hayward and a personal trainer certification from the university's Health and Fitness Institute.