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We found skincare’s new BFF: Say hello to Squalane Oil

When it comes to facial oils, the year is now officially seeing a massive revamp. From the usual fare like coconut oil, argan, almond and jojoba, we have now moved to the hottest ingredient of the season, Squalane oil.

Squalane oil

What exactly is squalane oil?

It is a plant-based, multipurpose personal care oil that you can use on your face as part of your daily beauty routine. There are two things to note here. Squalane is actually the stabilised form of squalene (note the difference in spelling) and makes up for 13% of human sebum and among its many benefits are to keep our skin hydrated, supple, soft and protected.

What makes squalane the best ingredient in skincare?

“The fact that it’s already in your skin so it makes it really easy for the skin to absorb and gives it an awesome texture – and provides great hydration, repair and calming benefits.  This makes it incredibly easy to use, and offers you much better benefits than several ingredients out there. Specifically, for Indian skin, we start out as babies with ~20% squalene, which then gets rapidly degraded and oxidised because of the intense pollution – this works to counter that and give the skin the repair and suppleness it needs,” explains Dr. Aneesh Sheth of Dr. Sheths.

Squalene & Squalane: where does it come from and what’s the difference?

Now, Squalene is an unsaturated oil that is plant-based and comes from sources like olives or sugarcane. The oil also came from shark livers – but that’s not something companies use because of the issues it creates environmentally. But the trick is to hydrogenate the squalene oil to make it usable squalane, a 100% saturated oil that makes your skin smooth and hydrated. Squalene is inflammatory while squalane is moisturising and gentle. Let’s just say that it is now a highly versatile emollient and even better, a more stable version of squalene. Plant-derived squalane is on the rise with beauty products this year and last, even 100% squalane oil is now available with brands like Biossance and The Ordinary.

What are the benefits of squalane?

The benefits of squalane are many. From it’s watery texture to the fast-absorbing, non-greasy feel, this is so user-friendly. It also helps regulate sebum production in oily skin while tackling pigmentation. The beauty of it comes from it’s texture because it’s lightweight and odourless and that’s why it’s probably something even oil haters can work with. “ Not only does it not clog pores and cause breakouts but it has antibacterial activity so is great news for people with acne. It has antioxidant properties too,” says Dr Shuba Dharmana, Dermatologist at Lejeune Medspa Bangalore.

And if you’re a beginner looking to try facial oils, squalane oil must be the one you should reach out to. It saves dry skin, is non-comedogenic and is great on sensitive skin and will sink into your skin very fast. It also accelerates cell turnover – another great benefit. And because your skin produces squalene, it identifies with squalane and is quickly absorbed unlike other oils that stay on top of the skin and sometimes, even slide and slip. This oil just sinks in making it the most effective oil among others. And no greasy residue at all. “Skin problems like eczema and xerosis also benefit with the hydrating effects of Squalene. As it stimulates collagen formation under the skin and also is anti-inflammatory, it is a component of many anti-ageing applications,” adds Dr. Rinky Kapoor, Cosmetic Dermatologist & Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics.


How does one use squalane?

“The beauty of this is that there isn’t one ‘best way’ to use it. You can use it directly on the skin as a serum, on the scalp to strengthen the skin, men can use it in the beard to condition and calm their beard – since it’s a part of the skin, there’s no wrong way to use this.  It can even be added as a booster to your favourite foundation or lip balm to supercharge it,” explains Dr. Aneesh Sheth of Dr. Sheths. You could also use it on slightly damp skin right after a bath or a wash. It’s so light, it can just sink in beautifully. And then apply all your other products to layer it up. On the other hand, experts also tell us that you can smooth a few drops of squalane oil after your CTM routine so it pushes all the previous products deeper into the skin and will create a protective layer. The best way to use it though is through a two-step routine, just mix a couple drops of squalane to your moisturiser and it just sinks in.

Which are the best squalane products to invest in?

The Ordinary, Indie Lee and Biossance sit at the top because they provide 100% squalane solutions. In India, look at Neemli Naturals Turmeric Root & Olive Squalane Elixir, Indulgeo Essentials Squalane Skin Hydrator and Dr. Sheths Pure Olive Squalane

Latha Sunadh
Deputy Editor
When she's not trying on a new serum, researching on yet another classic fragrance and sharing lip balms with her 5-year old daughter, Latha Sunadh keeps it reined in with a nice song and a good book. Special skills include obsessing over handmade, home-made and handcrafted luxuries.