Your skin can do some pretty cool stuff, like using its intricate system of cells to heal your body from nearly anything and unleashing the all-mighty powers of sweat. The strength and resilience of your skin doesn’t stop there; in fact, it has a built-in moisturizing system known as squalene, with an e. It works to strengthen your skin barrier and help it to retain moisture. But – if you’ve seen those viral squalane oil before and after photos floating around social media and noticed they spelled squalane with an a, you’re probably a bit confused. This is completely normal as ingredients can be tricky.
To help you understand the difference between squalene and squalane, we’re going to answer a few questions like: Is squalane comedogenic? What is squalane? What is squalane derived from? What can squalane do for your skin? Can you use squalane for acne? Here’s the deal:
Is Squalane Comedogenic? What Is Squalane?
Pictured: Is Squalane Comedogenic? | Source: Irene Beauty
Let’s start off by nipping this whole spelling debacle in the bud. While squalene and squalane can be easily mistaken for each other, they’re actually quite different. Squalene is an antioxidant that’s found naturally in your skin. Similar to ingredients like vitamin C, squalene is known to protect your skin against pollution, weather, and other stress factors.
Even though squalene occurs naturally in your body, the amount it produces declines as you get older. Your peak production of squalene happens when you’re a teen; from there, its production slows. In addition, squalene is very unstable, making its shelf life minuscule. This is one of the reasons that many brands formulate with squalane (notice the a?).
As for the question of what is squalane, it’s basically the stable and lighter form of the one with the e, which is why many people use squalane for acne. Squalane can also last longer on a shelf. Much like squalene, though, squalane is produced naturally in small amounts in the lipid layers of your skin, which is why it can mimic your skin’s oils, making it a great softener in face care.
To summarize, squalane is the hydrogenated form of squalene that’s sometimes made from sugarcane and other plants. It works to maintain your skin’s moisture while welcoming in the new (AKA your face care ingredients). It’s used in skincare because it’s non-toxic, has some killer skin benefits, and can keep your products fresher for longer.
Moving forward, we’ll only be discussing squalane, the one with the a.
Is Squalane Comedogenic? What Can Squalane Do for Your Skin?
At this point, you’re probably asking yourself stuff like, “That’s cool, but what can squalane do for your skin? What is squalane derived from? Is squalane comedogenic?” Squalane is sustainably sourced, has some awesome face care benefits, and is perfect for all skin types, making it a jack-of-all-trades ingredient. Plus, it’s a natural part of your skin.
Here’s a deeper look at what squalane can do for your skin, along with what squalane is derived from:
- Squalane Is an Excellent Moisturizer: Squalane is an amazing moisturizer that helps to keep your skin soft and young-looking. It forms a protective barrier on your skin's surface to prevent moisture loss, thus keeping your skin hydrated to the max.
- Squalane Softens and Smoothes: Using squalane in skincare can help soften your skin, giving it a more refined and youthful look. It also helps to soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, promoting a smoother appearance.
- Squalane Is A Natural Antioxidant: Squalane possesses antioxidant properties that protect your skin from damage caused by free radicals (AKA unstable molecules that can harm your skin from the inside and outside).
- Squalane Is Anti-Inflammatory: Squalane has anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm irritated and/or inflamed skin. It’s also great for conditions like eczema and dermatitis as it's known to help reduce redness and discomfort.
- Squalane Improves Skin Tone: Regular use of squalane in skincare can help improve the overall appearance of your skin by reducing hyperpigmentation. It even helps to fade dark spots and acne scars, resulting in a healthy, vibrant appearance.
- Squalane Is Sustainable and Ethical: Squalane is derived from plant-based sources like olives or sugarcane and is considered sustainable and ethical. Due to this, many people feel comfortable using formulations with squalane for hair and skin health.
Squalane for Acne: Is Squalane Comedogenic?
To answer the question of is squalane comedogenic -- using squalane for acne is nothing new as squalane’s comedogenic rating is 0-1, which means that it won’t clog your pores. The reason why this is so important is that clogged pores can kickstart acne. But, by using squalane for acne and taking advantage of squalane’s comedogenic rating, you can do face care without the worry of breakouts.
If you’re using squalane for acne, you may notice your skin becoming a little less oily as squalane is known to balance your skin’s sebum production (an oily substance that protects your skin from drying out). And squalane can strengthen your skin's natural barrier function. By fortifying this barrier, squalane shields your skin, reducing your risk of acne.
Squalane’s comedogenic rating also means that it’s gentle and non-irritating. It can be used alongside acne medications and/or treatments to provide more hydration and minimize potential side effects. Many people also use squalane for acne scars as it can fade post-acne marks (more on this in the section above).
Is Squalane Comedogenic? Are There Any Side Effects of Using Squalane for Acne?
Thankfully, there aren’t many side effects of using squalane for acne (and they’re highly uncommon); the only ones noted are itchiness and redness. If you have an adverse reaction to squalane and/or experience one of these side effects, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately.
Cheryl Woodman, a scientist and skincare formulator, says, “Squalane typically plays nice with other products. If squalane is the main or only active in a face oil, there typically will be no side effects or breakouts when mixing it into a routine that contains cosmeceutical-strength skincare.”
Because of this, Woodman mentions that squalane is a great base for actives like niacinamide and retinol. In fact, squalane and niacinamide work together to help repair and promote a healthy skin barrier, while squalane and retinol can have an anti-aging effect for a youthful, fresh look.
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