Squalene may be a relatively new buzzword in skincare but it is a natural chemical that has been existence since the very beginning of Life on Earth. That’s about 3.5 billion years ago! It may in fact, have played a very significant part in sustaining life on earth – when the surface of the earth was hot enough to boil water, squalene protected microbial life forms from literally roasting to death! These same life forms evolved into plant and animal life.
Until recently, no one knew that squalene is also found in small amounts in the human body. Human infants show the highest content of squalene in their blood, with stock of squalene in human blood decreasing significantly between the ages of 30 and 40.
The Japanese refer to squalene as Samedawa, or ‘cure-all’. They used it for a wide range of diseases from constipation to cancer. The squalene used nowadays in skincare products (used in its more stable form and called sqaulane) provides anti-oxidant and hydration benefits and has even been associated with damage reversal. In skincare, squalane mitigates collagen thinning, molecular lesions, under-eye circles and DNA damage. When consumed orally, squalane has a myriad of other benefits – it is truly a super- chemical.
Squalene or Squalane?
Squalene is a naturally occurring chemical which occurs in small quantities in the skin and blood. It also occurs in shark liver and various plants. It is essential for healthy skin. Squalane is the more stable and skin-friendlier hydrogenated form which is used in skin care products and formulations. Sqaulane is an anti-oxidant and an oxygen generator. It is an anti-phlogiston (combats inflammation) and it is anti-allergic (prevents allergic reactions). In addition to protecting skin from sun-damage, squalane is an extremely effective skin hydrator.
The Source of Squalane
The source of squalane is of some concern to people who want to incorporate it into their skincare regime. Traditionally, squalane was harvested from Shark livers, as this is where it is found in abundance. But don’t worry! Most ethically aware skincare companies use squalane extracted from vegan sources like olive oil, rice bran oil, and amaranth oil. So you can enjoy the benefits of this wonder-chemical and rest assured that it is vegan and cruelty-free…
Here’s why you should introduce vegan squalane into your skincare routine:
Squalane penetrates slowly through the dermal layers and is not a skin irritant or sensitizer. It is safe as a cosmetic ingredient and has emollient properties that soften and soothe skin. It adds a layer of oil to the skin that helps to slow water loss and keeps skin soft and supple. It has humectant properties that increase the water retention capacity of the skin and is a natural lubricant and protective skin barrier.
Squalane has a high penetration efficiency which makes it an excellent transport system that helps the skin absorb other ingredients.
Squalane’s hydrating and skin-softening effects on the skin help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Besides its anti- aging effects, it helps maintain healthy skin. Squalane is rapidly absorbed and spreads easily over the skin surface without leaving an oily or greasy feeling. It is a natural part of human skin and plays an important role in the repair of damaged skin.
UV Protection Action
Because of the effectiveness of squalane to protect the skin against environmental factors, it is commonly used in sunblock creams. Studies have determined that squalene plays an important role in protection from damage caused by UV irradiation.