Squalene vs. Squalane

September 8, 2020

In Latin, ‘squalus’ means ‘shark’: squalene was first discovered in the liver of this deep-sea fish. The substance, which releases oxygen when combined with water molecules, helps to strengthen the immune system, fights against malignant cells and prevents premature aging.


What is squalene?

First was squalene, a natural hydrocarbon which is present in the tissues of living organisms. In the human body, squalene is contained in the secretion of the sebaceous glands — along with triglycerides (fats) and fatty acids, it forms a natural protective layer of the skin and contributes to its hydration. Squalene is a component close to the skin, the natural synthesis of which slows down over the years, and its amount can be replenished using a proven method — with the help of cosmetics.


What is squalane?

Squalene has one significant drawback — it quickly oxidizes on contact with air and becomes ineffective. Therefore, the focus of the beauty industry has shifted significantly towards squalane, which is formed by hydrogenation of squalene. In other words, squalane is squalene with hydrogen attached to it. Squalane is more stable, but it is important to understand that it is not squalene in its pure form: it is not so close to the natural squalene found in sebum, and therefore less effective.

At the same time, the functions of squalane are no different from those of its progenitor — albeit with less success, the component is still considered a worthy moisturizer and antioxidant for the skin. Despite the oily texture, the substance is suitable for the care of oily skin, and hydrogenation allows it to remain effective for a long time — you won’t have to throw out a jar of squalane cream after a couple of days. By and large, the component can be included in a permanent care program — it is not allergenic and is considered safe even for sensitive skin.

To help you with your selection of squalane-based cosmetics, the editorial team of The Fashiongton Post has compiled a selection of the most interesting ones:

Creme de Corps by Kiehl’s

Creme de Corps

Sensifine Dermo-nettoyant by SVR

Sensifine Dermo-nettoyant

Squalane Cleanser by The Ordinary

Squalane Cleanser

Squalane Facial Cream by Indie Lee

Squalane Cleanser

Collagen Daily Eye Cream by Esfolio

Collagen Daily Eye Cream