Squalane for Skin: The Real Benefits & How to Use

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Contributed by: Dr Dray

Squalane is a saturated form of Squalene - a poly-unsaturated hydrocarbon found abundantly in fish oils and also found in small amounts in a variety of plant oils namely olive oil. Squalane is also present naturally in our sebum (14%) which is the oil that our sebaceous glands make that comes out of our core and coats the surface of our skin and helps in maintaining our skin barrier. It is really important that our oil glands do that for us. The Squalane oil is used topically as an emollient and an occlusive moisturizer for skin.

Benefits of Squalane

There is almost no useful clinical study on squalane to prove its benefits other than a few that indicate that Squalane keeps the skin hydrated and prevents trans-epidermal water loss.

Squalane is basically a hydrocarbon - much like mineral oil or petrolatum. The good thing is that it does not have a greasy or oily feel to it. Squalane is an Emollient so it smoothes out the edges of the skin cells, thereby making the appearance of the skin smooth. It also acts as an occlusive barrier on the surface of the skin that prevents trans-epidermal water loss.

It is best if you are experiencing skin flaking because of the use of Retin A or other products or active ingredients. Instead of scrubbing away the flaky skin, what you need is a moisturizer and squalane is great for that purpose.

As per claims of skincare companies, squalane has the following benefits:

1. Reduces Fine Lines

Squalane oil can reduce the appearance of fine lines on your face.

2. Skin Texture

When you apply squalane on your skin, you feel that instant smoothness on your face. Squalane improves the look of your skin’s texture. It literally makes it baby-smooth. It can even make your enlarged pores look smaller. Squalane is an Emollient so it smoothes out the edges of the skin cells, thereby making the appearance of the skin smooth.

3. Soothes the Skin

Squalane calms and smoothens the skin, so less irritation.

4. Non-comedogenic.

Basically, what this means is that using Squalane oil on your face, it won’t clog your pores. So oily skin people, do not worry. You won’t be breaking out because of Squalane.

5. Controls Sebum Production

If you have oily acne prone skin, squalane is actually a great oil for you. It mimics the oil that is produced by your skin and thereby leads to lesser productions of sebum from the sebaceous glands.

It is kind of the same concept as using a moisturizer. If you use a moisturizer, your oily skin won't feel the need to produce excess sebum because it knows you are already well hydrated.

6. It can help fade the look of dark spots.

Squalane can improve the appearance of dark spots and even out your complexion.

7. Your skin will love it

Since Squalane is something that is a part of our natural skin structure, our skin recognizes it. That is why it is an ideal oil for all skin types.

8. Reduces Redness

Squalane and Acne

Since squalane is very similar in composition to our own sebum produced by our skin, and sebum oils of our skin are one of the contributing factors of acne; it would be logical to say that take caution in using squalane. There is no clinical study on usage of squalane on humans suffering from acne problems and this is just based on common knowledge, much like the entire ingredient which is squalene.


If you have tiny amounts of squalane in your moisturizer and your skin loves it, use it.

How to Use Squalane in Your Skin Care Routine

  1. Cleanse
  2. Tone
  3. Serum - Apply any other serums or treatments.
  4. Take a few drops of squalane oil on your fingertips and apply to your face and neck.
  5. Apply sunscreen (at AM, on top of squalane oil).

What Skin Type Is it Good for?

Squalane is a fine oil for all skin types. It is good for dry skin because it prevents trans-epidermal water loss and it is also good for oily skin as it hydrates the skin which results in less production of oil in oily skin. Since its very gentle and non-comedogenic, it is also good for sensitive skin.

Other Frequently Asked Questions About Squalane:

What does squalane do for your face?

Squalane is an emollient and an occlusive barrier just like any other mineral oil so it acts as a moisturizer for our skin. It keeps the skin hydrated and prevents water loss from our skin. It also prevents flakiness or making the skin very dry or oily.

What is squalane best for?

Squalane is best for flaky skin or extremely dry or very oily skin. It keeps the skin hydrated and prevents water loss.

Is squalane vegan?

Whether squalane is vegan depends on where it’s derived from. Squalane can be derived from shark’s liver and a variety of plants. When you buy squalane be sure to check for a “vegan” label or check the ingredients. Honestly though, squalane in skincare is very unlikely to be derived from shark’s liver, it is mainly plant-based squalane.

Is squalane safe?

Based on very limited research and clinical studies on squalane, this is one of the few confirmed facts, that squalane is indeed a safe ingredient for skin.

Is squalane safe when pregnant?

Yes, squalane is a stable hydrocarbon and is considered to be safe for pregnant women. However, check other ingredients of your skincare product with squalane, as they might not be safe for pregnant women.

Squalane vs squalene?

Squalene is a poly-unsaturated hydrocarbon.

Squalane is a saturated version of Squalene so it is more shelf stable and lasts long so you can use it. The processing of Squalene to Squalane does not change the quality or effectiveness of Squalene, but it is processed to be used in skincare products.

Squalane vs jojoba oil?

Both Squalane and Jojoba Oil or any mineral oil or even petrolatum for that matter, offer the same benefits and are used for the same goal - to keep the skin hydrated and prevent trans-epidermal water loss. You can pick any oil based on your preference.

Summing Up Squalane for Your Skin

Squalane, just like any mineral oil for skin, has the same benefits of keeping the skin hydrated and preventing transepidermal water loss. It is an emollient and an occlusive and is found in a lot of moisturizers. There are no further benefits proved by science to date, however there are several claims made by skincare companies that it also fades dark spots and has anti-aging benefits. Overall, it is a safe ingredient to have in your skincare routine.

Clinical Studies for Squalane

There is not really much clinical data and studies on squalane other than the following that proved to benefit in preventing TEWL and improved hydration. That however, doesn’t stop skincare companies from making all sorts of claims. We do have a lot of data of usage by people.


  1. TEWL for exaggerated patch test study
  2. Treatment Option for Uremic Pruritus
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