Squalene is a natural compound that is found in the human skin and in various oils, most notably shark liver oil. It has a variety of skin health benefits, such as hydration, antioxidation, a powerful emollient (which can absorb quickly and deeply into the skin), and may have some antitumor activities as well. Although squalene on the skin is naturally occurring, it tends to decline therefore, skin products containing its derivative, squalane, might be used instead. Squalane has captured the attention of both skincare enthusiasts and professionals alike, as there is a higher demand for natural skincare products that will bring radiant, youthful, and nourished skin.

What is Squalane and where does it come from?

The human skin is made of fats (or lipids), and squalene is one main component [1] that makes up about 13% of the skin surface lipids. It partly comes from both the body’s synthesis of cholesterol and from the intake of dietary sources as well, since it is also found in olive oil, palm oil, wheat-germ oil, amaranth oil, and rice bran oil. Although beneficial for the skin, squalene is prone to oxidation and therefore is not a good option for skincare products. However, to address this concern, squalane was created from its source through a hydrogenated process. This ensures that the benefits of squalene are intact while also being available for purchase with a long shelf life.

What does squalane do for skin?

Squalane has an array of important roles on the skin. Squalane can help decrease the appearance of fine lines on the skin since it has antioxidant properties. Moisturizing and softening the skin’s texture is also an added benefit of squalane. In addition, it can soothe and alleviate skin irritation since it is a source of fatty acids that can replenish and nourish the skin. Another advantage of squalane is that since it is a natural oil on the skin, the body recognizes this and will produce less oil on its own, therefore, this may be a solution to help overcome oily skin.

How to use squalane in a skin care routine?

Incorporating squalane into your skincare routine is relatively straightforward and can provide numerous benefits for your skin. It will be better applied to the face, either in the morning or at night.

  • Cleansing: Make sure to start with a clean face and use a regular cleanser to remove dirt, makeup, and impurities. Dermpura Skin Balancing Cleanser is a great product that can help remove dirt and impurities while repairing skin damage and improving skin firmness.
  • Toner: Apply a toner if it’s part of your routine. This helps balance your skin’s pH, removes excess cleanser or other impurities left on your skin, and prevents stripping your skin of essential oils.
  • Squalane Serum: The most common way to use squalane is in the form of a serum. Apply a few drops of squalane serum onto your fingertips and gently pat or massage it into your skin. Squalane is versatile and can be used both in the morning and at night.
  • Moisturizer: Follow up with a moisturizer to lock in the hydration if you suffer from dry skin. The good part about squalane is that it is often lightweight and non-greasy (non-comedogenic), so it works well under other products.
  • Sunscreen: If you’re applying squalane in the morning, finish with a broad-spectrum sunscreen for added protection against UV skin damage.

How is squalane used for acne or oily skin?

Squalane is a versatile skincare ingredient that can be surprisingly beneficial for individuals with acne-prone or oily skin [2]. An additional benefit of squalane is that it is good for all skin types, including those prone to acne or oily skin. Not only is it non-comedogenic so it won’t clog pores, but it can also help hydrate the skin. This leads to reduced overproduction of oil on the skin and more regulation, thus resulting in less acne. Squalane also possesses anti-inflammatory properties [3], which can help reduce the redness and irritation associated with acne. Finally, squalane strengthens the skin’s natural barrier, which prevents moisture loss.

What are the skin benefits of squalane?

Squalane offers a wide variety of skin benefits which makes it a very popular and versatile skin ingredient.

1. Hydration and Moisturization

Squalane is a highly effective moisturizer, and it can deeply hydrate the skin without leaving a heavy or greasy residue. This is particularly beneficial for those with dry or dehydrated skin. When applied topically and regularly, squalane forms a protective barrier on the skin’s surface, reducing water loss and enhancing the skin’s ability to retain moisture.

This aids in improving the moisture balance of the skin and helps prevent dryness, flakiness, and dullness. The newly well-hydrated skin will appear plumper, smoother, and more youthful. It can also improve the efficacy of other skincare products by enhancing their absorption into the skin.

2. Antioxidant and Anti-Aging Properties

Squalane possesses natural antioxidant properties that help combat the damaging effects of free radicals on the skin. Free radicals are often generated by factors like UV radiation and pollution, which contribute to premature aging, fine lines, and wrinkles. By neutralizing these free radicals, squalane helps protect the skin from oxidative stress and environmental damage. Furthermore, squalane has been shown to stimulate collagen production.

Collagen is a key protein responsible for maintaining the skin’s firmness and elasticity. As we age, collagen production naturally declines, which leads to the formation of wrinkles. Squalane has the ability to promote collagen production and can help reduce the visible signs of aging, resulting in firmer skin.

3. Gentle and Non-Irritating

One of the remarkable and tolerable features of squalane is its compatibility with various skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin. Unlike some skincare ingredients that can be harsh or irritating, squalane is gentle and rarely causes adverse reactions.

Its non-comedogenic property also leads to fewer acne breakouts, making it suitable for individuals with oily or acne-prone skin. Additionally, squalane is often recommended for those with sensitive or easily irritated skin due to its soothing and calming properties. It can help reduce redness and inflammation, making it a valuable ingredient for individuals dealing with conditions like eczema or rosacea.

use sunscreen daily

What are the risks of using squalane for skin care?

While squalane is generally considered generally safe and well-tolerated by most skin types, there are some risks to be aware of before adding it to your skincare routine.

  • Allergies or Sensitivities: Although this is rare, some individuals may be sensitive or allergic to squalane. Before using a product containing squalane on your face, it’s advisable to perform a patch test on a small area of skin to check for any adverse reactions like redness, itching, or irritation.
  • Purity and Sourcing: The quality of squalane can vary depending on its source and production methods. It’s essential to choose products from reputable brands to ensure that you’re using pure and high-quality squalane. Lower-quality or impure squalane may not provide the desired benefits and could potentially contain contaminants. In addition, most sources of squalane might come from the liver of sharks, so if you’re trying to be environmentally friendly, try opting for plant-derived sources of squalane.
  • Comedogenicity: While squalane is non-comedogenic for most people, there is a slight possibility that it may cause breakouts or exacerbate acne in some individuals. Especially if you have highly acne-prone skin, it’s wise to monitor how your skin responds to squalane and consider discontinuing use if it appears to worsen acne.
  • Sun Sensitivity: Squalane itself does not make your skin more sensitive to the sun. However, if you’re using squalane alongside other products that can increase sun sensitivity, be sure to use sunscreen daily to protect your skin from UV damage.

Frequently asked questions

Is squalane good for eczema?

Eczema is a condition that is characterized by dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. Squalane can help alleviate some symptoms caused by this issue. Having eczema tends to mean having an impaired skin barrier function, which leads to moisture loss. Squalane is an excellent emollient that can deeply hydrate and moisturize the skin. By forming a protective barrier on the skin's surface, it helps lock in moisture, reducing dryness and flakiness. Squalane possesses natural anti-inflammatory properties, which can help calm the redness and irritation associated with eczema flare-ups. Lastly, squalane has non-irritating, gentle properties, which makes it unlikely to cause further irritation or trigger eczema outbreaks.

Does squalane reduce wrinkles?

Squalane can contribute to reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines (6), primarily through its hydrating and antioxidant properties. Squalane is an excellent moisturizer that helps improve the skin's hydration levels. Well-hydrated skin appears plumper and smoother, which can make fine lines and wrinkles appear less prominent. Squalane can help protect against oxidation that is caused by sunlight and UV rays through its possession of antioxidants. Finally, squalane stimulates collagen production, which will help to maintain the skin’s elasticity and firmness. Adding Stermuderm anti-wrinkle cream is perfect product for a skincare routine, as it contains squalane as one of its ingredients and can help smooth wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.

Is squalane safe for skin?

An added bonus of squalane is that even though it is technically oil, it does not have an oily feel, is odorless, non comedonal, antibacterial, and is safe for sensitive skin. In addition, there are no side effects of squalane, making it a perfect ingredient for a skincare product. With it’s reducing effects on clogging pores, its rare associated with causing or worsening allergies, and its gentle properties on sensitive and irritated skin, squalane is both an effective and safe addition to any skincare regimen.

What is squalane best for?

Squalane is best known for its exceptional moisturizing properties. It is great for hydrating and moisturizing the skin. Squalane is an outstanding hydrator that can deeply moisturize the skin without a greasy or heavy feel. It’s anti-aging properties Squalane's antioxidant properties help protect the skin from free radical damage, reducing the signs of premature aging such as fine lines and wrinkles. It is best for being gentle on the skin and soothing it. Squalane is well-tolerated by sensitive and easily irritated skin since it can help calm redness, inflammation, and skin sensitivity, making it a valuable ingredient for those with skin conditions like eczema. Squalane also enhances absorption when used in conjunction with other skincare products, potentially improving their overall effectiveness.


Squalane is both a versatile and beneficial skincare ingredient that offers a wide range of advantages. Its ability to deeply hydrate, moisturize, and soothe the skin makes it suitable for various skin types, including sensitive and oily skin. Additionally, squalane’s antioxidant properties provide protection against free radicals, aiding in the prevention of premature aging. It also promotes overall skin health and is a gentle and well-tolerated option, making it a staple in many skincare routines.