Ingredient Spotlight: Squalane

Checking out ingredient labels on skin care product With winter approaching, you may notice that your summer skincare products aren’t quite doing what you need them to. It’s pretty universal that skin gets drier the colder the weather gets. From freezing temperatures and lack of moisture outside, to hot air inside, it can be really difficult for your skin to achieve a good balance. What most of us need during winter is added moisture, but not everybody can use the exact same ingredients or product formulations, but there is one ingredient that seems to come close to being perfect for everyone.

What is Squalane?
Squalane is an oil that occurs naturally in the body in addition to vegetable oils (most notably olive oil) and in certain shark livers. Squalane and squalene are related: Squalene is the non-hydrogenated form of oil from shark livers. The reason most beauty products use squalane rather than squalene is that the latter has a tendency to oxidize quickly after exposure to the air. Squalane is purified oil that is appropriate for use on even the most sensitive skin.

What is Squalane Used For?
Squalane occurs naturally in the body, however, production of this oil significantly slows down during the aging process. Your levels of squalane peak around the age of 20, and then begin a rapid decline.

Most commonly, squalane is used as a moisturizing agent in cosmetics. Perhaps the most appreciated benefit of using squalane as a moisturizer is that although it is an oil, it has absolutely no oily feel and fully penetrates your skin rather than just sitting on top of it. It is thought that squalane is most beneficial if you experience dry skin or mild eczema because the oil is non-irritating and is fragrance free. But, just because you wouldn’t classify your skin as dry doesn’t mean you can’t make use of this wonderful ingredient. Squalane oil is non-comedogenic, meaning that it won’t cause your pores to clog. If you have oily skin and are hesitant to try an oil, then squalane oil is perfect for you because it moisturizes without the signature heavy, oily feeling.

While squalane is most famously used as a moisturizing agent, it is a powerful antioxidant as well and several recently conducted studies have shown that it may be effective at combating the signs of aging. Because squalane is able to penetrate deeply into the skin, it is thought that this oil helps diminish and reduce the amount of fine lines and wrinkles and age spots that you experience. Additionally, squalane may help prevent future damage from free radicals and ultraviolet (UV) light.

Is There any Danger in Using Squalane?
At present, there are no reported side effects associated with using squalane. However, there is an environmental concern regarding squalane that has been harvested from shark livers. To avoid this, select squalane that is derived from vegetable oils, most commonly olives. If a product does not specify what the source of the squalane is, play it safe and avoid it (if you have an objection to using shark livers to harvest the oil).

Where can you Find Squalane?
Beauty companies are rapidly taking advantage of this healthy skin ingredient, so be on the lookout for it to be listed among the ingredients on labels. If you are interested in going straight to the source, you can purchase pure squalane oil from various places such as health and whole foods stores, or even online at Amazon.com.

Beauty labels, like all labels, put the ingredients that have the largest concentration in the formula first and then the ingredients follow in a descending order. To make sure you’re receiving all the benefits of squalane, look for formulations that don’t place squalane at the tail end. Perhaps one of the greatest things about squalene oil is that it is an inexpensive option for skin care. Simply pick up a bottle of pure squalane oil (most bottles retail for anywhere from $10-$30, although there are certainly more expensive options as well) and make a custom moisturizer. Add a few drops of squalane oil to your favorite moisturizer to receive maximum moisture. Be prepared and meet winter weather head on by stocking up on moisturizing agents, like pure squalane oil, now.

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