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What is squalane in skin care?

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Have you ever heard of a skin care ingredient called squalane? It’s a bit of an odd word, isn’t it? But if you’ve been using our nourishing skin care products, then you’ve almost certainly used squalane. Perhaps without even knowing it. 

Squalane is an amazing skin care ingredient that helps to hydrate the skin without blocking the pores. This makes squalane ideal for gently hydrating oily skin without the heaviness of some other hydrating ingredients. It also makes it ideal for supporting dry skin without overloading the skin and making it oily.

We’ve added squalane to ourSidekick Day Cream andStrength Training Serum because we truly believe in its power to gently hydrate and support healthy skin. 

When we develop our skin care products, we don’t add anything without truly understanding it. If we did, then we wouldn’t be able to truly stand by our product and tell you, our loyal customers and future customers, that we believe in them. 

So here’s the lowdown on squalane, what it is, how it works and why you should be using it in your skin care regime! 

What is squalane?

There’s a little bit of science coming up (sorry, but I am a scientist!). I need a touch of it to fully explain what squalane is and how it ends up in skin care products. 

We have a compound in our skin that exists there naturally, called squalene. (Note the ‘e’, so squalene, not squalane.)Squalene is a type of lipid (the scientific name for fats) that helps to keep the skin well hydrated and moisturised. 

Squalene is produced by the sebaceous glands, which are in the tiny pores in our skin. The sebaceous glands produce sebum too, the wax like substance that keeps the skin naturally moisturised. Those with oily or acne prone skin types generally produce too much sebum, causing their skin to feel greasy. 

The sebum produced by the sebaceous glands is actually a mix of triglycerides (another type of lipid), wax and squalene. It helps to hydrate the skin, but it also helps to protect the natural barrier qualities of our skin, protecting us from dirt and bacteria. 

Just like with ourcollagen reserves, as we age, we naturally begin to lose our levels of squalene. In fact, our squalene production peaks in our teenage years, and really, in terms of this lipid, it’s all downhill from there. 

This contributes to the tell tale signs of ageing that we begin to experience when we reach our 30s. These include the development of fine lines and wrinkles, skin sagging, dryness and an uneven skin tone. 

Luckily, there’s an answer to this loss of squalene - squalane! 

Squalene itself is quite unstable outside of the body, as it can turn rancid when it hits oxygen from the air. So researchers have discovered that using a scientific process called hydrogenation to turn squalene into squalane helps. 

Hydrogenation is a process whereby an unsaturated lipid, such as squalene, is turned into a saturated lipid, such as squalane. This makes the molecule more stable, more suited to using externally on the skin and gives it a longer shelf life. 

Using squalane on the skin helps to hydrate it and keep it nourished. 

Is squalane vegan or vegetarian friendly?

A word for anyone who’s vegan, vegetarian, eco aware or wants to avoid animal derived products in their skin care. Squalane can be derived from animals, namely the livers of sharks. 

Most skin care and beauty brands avoid using animal based squalane in favour of using plant based versions. Squalane can be derived from olive oil, rice bran and sugar cane and the squalane we use is 100% plant based. But it's worth checking with other brands. 

What are the benefits of squalane?

Since squalane has a hydrating effect on the skin, it helps to keep the skin looking healthy and nourished. Healthy, nourished skin also has the benefit of looking younger, so it really is win win. 

It acts like an emollient, meaning that it helps to trap moisture into the small spaces between the skin cells, keeping theskin smooth and hydrated

This is different to how an occlusive type of moisturiser works. Occlusive moisturisers work by forming a physical barrier on the skin to help prevent moisture loss. They can feel heavy and greasy on the skin, often feeling uncomfortable and cause the skin to appear oily. 

Squalane also hasantioxidant properties, that help to protect and nourish the skin. Antioxidants help to neutralise unstable molecules called free radicals that are present in UV light and in the environmental toxins and pollutants that come into contact with the skin. 

Free radicals cause damage to the skin cells which leads to premature ageing. So neutralising them with an antioxidant product such as squalane helps to look after the needs of the skin.

Skin care products that contain squalane are beneficial for those with dry, dehydrated skin. But they’re also particularly beneficial for those with acne prone skin. That’s why we add it to our skin care products because we want to benefit all skin types, especially those with non conformist skin. 

Squalane is non comedogenic, meaning that it doesn’t block the pores. This isbeneficial to acne prone skin types, as it won’t trap dirt and bacteria in the skin cells, that can lead to more spots and breakouts. 

What skin care products is squalane found in?

Squalane is found in facial moisturisers, serums and facial oils. It’s not thought to cause any skin irritation and is suitable for all skin types and can be used by anyone. 

It’s also often added to hair care products, as it makes an excellent hydrator for the hair. It helps to protect the hair from the drying effects of heat damage and tame frizz, without overloading the hair like some oils do. 

If you’re interested in trying squalane based products then look no further than theSönd range of skin care products


Hannah de Gruchy BSc(Hons)

About Author

Hannah de Gruchy is a freelancer writer who specialises in health and wellness. She has a keen interest in the biology of skin and loves using her words to help separate the real science of skincare from the pseudoscience of some skincare brands. Hannah has a degree in Human Biology and many years’ experience working in laboratories around London. Using this experience, Hannah enjoys turning complex science into interesting, engaging and easy to digest pieces to read. In her spare time, Hannah runs, practices yoga and loves cooking plant based foods.

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