Squalane vs Squalene

Squalane vs Squalene | The Big Difference

Squalane vs squalene are both naturally occurring substances found in the body and in certain plants. While these two substances may sound similar, they have distinct differences that can impact their use in skincare. 

In this article, we will explore the differences between squalane vs squalene and their benefits in skincare.


What Is Squalene?

Squalene is a natural oil found in many plants and animals, including humans. It is produced by sebaceous glands in the skin, and it plays a vital role in maintaining skin health by moisturizing and protecting the skin from damage caused by environmental factors such as UV radiation and pollution. 

However, the use of squalene in skincare products is not without controversy, as it is sometimes derived from shark liver oil.


What Is Squalane?

Squalane, on the other hand, is a hydrogenated version of squalene, meaning that it has been processed to remove unsaturated fatty acids, making it more stable and less likely to oxidize.

This makes it a more suitable ingredient for use in skincare products, as it is less likely to cause skin irritation.


Benefits of Squalane in Skincare

In recent years, squalane has become a popular ingredient in skincare products, and for good reason. 

Studies have shown that squalane has a number of benefits for the skin, including its ability to improve skin hydration, reduce inflammation, and boost skin elasticity.

One study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that squalane was effective at improving skin hydration levels in a group of participants with dry skin. The study showed that after four weeks of using a squalane-containing moisturizer, participants had a significant increase in skin hydration levels compared to those using a placebo moisturizer.

Squalane has also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce redness and irritation in the skin. 

A study published in the Journal Biomolecules & Therapeutics found that squalane was effective at reducing inflammation in a group of mice with atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory skin condition.

In addition to its hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties, squalane has also been shown to have a positive effect on skin elasticity. 

A study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science found that squalane was effective at improving skin elasticity in a group of participants with aged skin. The study showed that after four weeks of using a squalane-containing cream, participants had a significant increase in skin elasticity compared to those using a placebo cream.



Benefits for the Skin: Squalane vs Squalene


Moisturizing Effect

Both squalane and squalene are renowned for their exceptional moisturizing properties. However, squalane tends to have a higher moisturizing effect, as confirmed by studies published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science. This makes squalane a preferred choice in products designed to fight dry skin.

Antioxidant Qualities

When it comes to antioxidant properties, squalene takes the lead. Studies have shown that squalene can protect the skin against free radicals and oxidative stress, a contributing factor to premature aging. Unfortunately, squalane loses this advantage due to the hydrogenation process it undergoes.

Anti-inflammatory Benefits

Both compounds have anti-inflammatory benefits, although research leans more towards squalene for this property. These anti-inflammatory characteristics make them suitable for treating various skin conditions, including eczema and dermatitis.

Skin Barrier Enhancement

Another advantage in the squalane vs squalene battle is their ability to enhance the skin’s barrier function. Both ingredients can strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, reducing water loss and increasing moisture retention. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with sensitive or dry skin.


Squalane vs Squalene in Research

Numerous studies have validated the benefits of squalane and squalene. For instance, a study in the Journal of Dermatological Science found squalene to be a natural photoprotective agent. Another study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology revealed that squalene could improve skin elasticity, hydration, and smoothness.

Meanwhile, research in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology demonstrated that a topical formulation containing squalane significantly improved skin barrier function, making it a promising treatment for conditions like atopic dermatitis.


How to Incorporate Squalane and Squalene into Your Routine


For daytime use, apply a moisturizer or serum containing squalane followed by a broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen. At night, use it as the last step in your skincare routine to lock in moisture.


Since squalene is less stable, it’s best used in night-time routines. Apply it as you would squalane, focusing on areas that need more hydration.


Squalane vs Squalene: Ethical Considerations

Early on, squalene was primarily sourced from shark liver, raising sustainability and ethical concerns. Nowadays, plant-derived options are available for both squalane and squalene, making them more eco-friendly choices. When purchasing products, look for those that specify their source as plant-based.



In summary, both squalane and squalene offer unique benefits that can enhance your skincare routine. If you are looking for a stable, moisturizing ingredient that won’t go rancid, squalane is your best bet. If antioxidant properties are what you’re after, consider incorporating squalene into your night-time routine.

So, when considering “Squalane vs Squalene,” keep in mind your specific skincare needs, ethical considerations, and the stability of the ingredient. No matter your choice, both are excellent additions to a comprehensive skincare regimen designed to keep your skin at its best.

To make the most informed decision, consult a dermatologist or skincare expert for advice tailored to your skin type and concerns. And remember, the keyword isn’t just “Squalane vs Squalene,” it’s about understanding the unique benefits of each to unlock the secrets to beautiful, healthy skin.

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