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What is Squalane Oil: A Comprehensive Guide to this Amazing Skincare Ingredient

Medically reviewed by:
 Dr. Lucy Chen, MD – Board-Certified Dermatologist

Dr. Lucy Chen, MD – Board-Certified Dermatologist

Dr. Lucy Chen, MD, is a highly regarded board-certified dermatologist with a wealth of expertise in skin health, surgical dermatology, and cosmetic dermatology. She is known for her commitment to patient care and her dedication to advancing the field of dermatology. Her journey is marked by academic excellence, specialized training, and a genuine dedication to […]

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By: Christina Davies
Updated on: April 05, 2024

When it comes to skincare, countless products and ingredients on the market claim to be the next big thing. Amidst this sea of options, one ingredient that has gained significant attention is squalane oil. But what is squalane oil exactly, and why is it creating such a buzz in the beauty industry? This comprehensive guide will delve deep into squalane oil, exploring its origins, benefits, and how to incorporate it into your skincare routine.

What is Squalane Oil?

Squalane oil is a natural skincare ingredient derived from squalene, a lipid naturally produced by our skin cells.

“Sebum, the natural oil secreted by sebaceous glands, is composed of 13% squalene lipids,” notes Dr. Lucy Chen.

However, squalene oil is highly unstable and prone to oxidation, making it less suitable for skincare formulations. To overcome this challenge, squalane oil is created by hydrogenating squalene, resulting in a more stable and shelf-stable ingredient form.

Squalane oil shares many similarities with our skin’s natural oils, making it an excellent emollient and natural moisturizer. It is lightweight, non-greasy, and quickly absorbs into the skin, leaving it soft, supple, and hydrated. This versatile oil suits all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin.

The Benefits of Squalane Oil for Skin

both squalane, vitamin c, rice bran, shark livers, fighting free radicals, dry patches
both squalane, vitamin c, rice bran, shark livers, fighting free radicals, dry patches

Using squalane oil in your skincare routine can provide a multitude of benefits. Let’s explore some of its remarkable properties and how they contribute to healthy, radiant skin.

1. Deep Hydration

Squalane oil is highly effective at hydrating the skin. Its molecular structure lets it deeply penetrate the skin’s layers, providing intense moisturization without leaving a greasy residue. Regular use of squalane oil can help improve the skin’s barrier function, preventing moisture loss and keeping it hydrated for longer periods.

2. Anti-Aging Properties

Our skin naturally loses moisture and elasticity as we age, forming static lines and wrinkles. Squalane oil helps combat these signs of aging by replenishing the skin’s moisture levels and improving its elasticity. It also possesses antioxidant properties that protect the skin from free radicals, which can accelerate the aging process in mature skin.

“Our skin generates free radicals and is impacted by oxidative stress on a daily basis, from exposure to ultraviolet light, and external stressors like pollution,” says Dr. Chen.

3. Gentle and Non-Irritating

One of the key advantages of squalane oil is its compatibility with sensitive skin. It is non-comedogenic and does not clog pores, making it suitable for acne-prone skin. Additionally, squalane oil is hypoallergenic and unlikely to cause irritation or allergic reactions, making it a safe option for sensitive skin.

4. Skin Smoothing

If you struggle with rough or uneven skin texture, squalane oil can be a game-changer. It has a lightweight texture that glides effortlessly onto the skin, providing a silky-smooth finish. Regularly, squalane oil can help refine the skin’s texture, leaving it soft, smooth, and visibly more youthful.

5. Versatile and Multipurpose

Squalane oil’s versatility extends beyond its hydrating properties. It can be used in various skincare products, including moisturizers, serums, cleansers, and even makeup. This makes it a convenient option for most skin care products, simplifying your skincare routine without compromising efficacy.

6) Reduces Inflammation:

Squalane oil has anti-inflammatory properties that help calm and soothe irritated skin. It can alleviate redness, itchiness, and inflammation associated with eczema, dermatitis, and rosacea.

7) Enhances Skin Elasticity:

By promoting collagen production and improving skin elasticity, squalane oil can help minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin. It helps restore a more youthful and plump complexion.

8) Brightens and Evens Out Skin Tone:

Squalane oil aids in reducing hyperpigmentation and discoloration, resulting in a more even and radiant skin tone. It helps fade dark spots, acne scars, and sun damage, revealing a brighter complexion.

9) Protects Against Environmental Damage:

Squalane oil acts as a barrier on the skin, shielding it from environmental pollutants and UV radiation. It helps prevent oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals, keeping the skin healthy and protected.

10) Improves the Absorption of Other Skincare Products:

When used as a part of your skincare routine, squalane oil can enhance the absorption of other products. It helps deliver active ingredients deeper into the skin, maximizing their effectiveness.

By incorporating squalane oil into your daily skincare regimen, you can enjoy these ten benefits and achieve healthier, more radiant skin. Remember to choose high-quality, sustainably sourced squalane oil for optimal results.

How to Incorporate Squalane Oil Into Your Skincare Routine

  1. Cleansing and Makeup Removal: Use squalane oil as a gentle cleanser and makeup remover. Apply a small amount to your face, massaging it in circular motions to dissolve impurities and makeup. Rinse thoroughly with water and follow up with a mild cleanser for a double cleansing effect.
  2. Moisturizing: Apply a few drops of squalane oil to your face and neck after cleansing. Gently massage it into the skin using upward motions. Allow the oil to absorb fully before applying any other moisturizers or serums. Squalane oil can be used both day and night for optimal hydration.
  3. Targeted Treatments: Mix a drop or two of squalane oil with your favorite hyaluronic acid serum or moisturizer to address specific skin concerns. This will enhance its efficacy and provide targeted nourishment to the skin. Squalane oil can also be used as an under-eye treatment to diminish the appearance of fine lines and crow’s feet.
  4. Sun Protection: Although squalane oil does not offer sun protection, it can be used with sunscreen. Apply squalane oil as a moisturizing step before applying sunscreen to maintain skin hydration and improve the effectiveness of your sun protection.

Myths and Misconceptions About Squalane Oil

A few myths and misconceptions surrounding squalane oil need to be clarified. Contrary to popular belief, squalane oil is not greasy and will not make your skin oily. It is a lightweight oil that absorbs quickly, leaving no residue on dry skin. Furthermore, squalane oil derived from plant sources is a cruelty-free alternative to shark-derived squalane.

“Olives, sugar cane and rice bran are common sources for squalane oil,” says Dr. Chen.

Potential Side Effects and Precautions

Squalane oil is generally considered safe for topical use and is well-tolerated by most individuals. However, performing a patch test before incorporating any new skincare product into your routine is always advisable. If you experience any allergic reactions or skin irritation, discontinue use and consult a dermatologist.

Fast Facts

DefinitionSqualane oil is a lightweight, colorless, odorless hydrocarbon derived from sources like olives, sugarcane, or shark liver.
Cosmetic UseWidely used in skincare for its excellent moisturizing and emollient properties, providing hydration and improving skin texture.
Impact on Skin TypesSuitable for all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin. Non-comedogenic and unlikely to clog pores.
BenefitsIntense hydration, Improves skin elasticity, Softens and smoothens, Enhances barrier function and Non-irritating.
DrawbacksPotential sourcing concerns (shark-derived squalane is not eco-friendly) and Possibility of sensitivity if derived from non-plant sources
Usage FrequencyCan be used daily, both morning and night. Adjust amount based on skin’s needs.
CompatibilityWorks well with most skincare ingredients, including retinol, hyaluronic acid, and other oils.
PrecautionsPatch test before using to ensure no adverse reactions. If derived from non-plant sources, potential environmental and ethical concerns.
Recommended UsersSuitable for individuals with dry, oily, sensitive, or combination skin. Particularly beneficial for those needing extra hydration.
Recommended FrequencyCan be used daily or as needed. Start with once a day and increase if desired.
Works Well WithActives like BHAs, AHAs, PHAs, and retinols
Don’t Use WithGenerally, safe with most ingredients.

FAQs about Squalane Oil

Now that we have covered the basics of squalane oil and its benefits in skincare let’s address some commonly asked questions to deepen our understanding of this remarkable skincare ingredient.

Q: Is squalane oil suitable for oily skin?

A: Absolutely! Squalane oil is lightweight and non-greasy, making it an excellent choice for oily skin. It moisturizes without adding excess oil to the skin, providing a balanced and hydrated complexion.

Q: Can squalane oil be used on sensitive skin?

A: Yes, squalane oil is well-tolerated by sensitive skin. Its gentle and non-irritating nature makes it a great option for those with sensitive or reactive skin types.

Q: How should I incorporate squalane oil into my skincare routine?

A: Squalane oil can be used in various ways depending on your skincare needs. You can apply a few drops as a standalone moisturizer, mix it with your favorite moisturizer or serum, or even use it as a makeup primer for a smooth, hydrated canvas.

Q: Are there any side effects of using squalane oil?

A: Squalane oil is considered safe for topical use and is well-tolerated by most individuals. However, as with any skincare product, it is essential to perform a patch test before incorporating it into your routine, especially if you have sensitive skin or known allergies.

Q: Is squalane oil vegan and cruelty-free?

A: Yes, squalane oil and other oils derived from plant sources, such as olives, is vegan and cruelty-free. However, it’s important to check the source and manufacturing process of the squalane oil to ensure it aligns with your ethical preferences.

Q: Can squalane oil be used on the body?

A: Absolutely! Squalane oil’s hydrating and skin-smoothing properties make it an excellent choice for body care. Apply it to dry areas of combination skin, such as elbows, knees, and cuticles, to keep the skin soft and nourished.


Squalane oil is undoubtedly a skincare ingredient worth exploring. Its hydrating, anti-aging, and gentle properties suit various skin types and concerns. Whether you’re looking to boost your hydration levels, improve your skin’s texture, or simply simplify your skincare routine, squalane oil offers a versatile solution. Give it a try and experience the transformative benefits of this amazing skincare ingredient…


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