What's Squalene and Why Should You Care?

by Lexy Lebsack

Kristen Stewart put it best when she said that the key to beautiful skin is moisture, but even layering your favorite products in cold weather sometimes isn’t enough. That’s why you need a powerhouse ingredient to deliver hydration and protect your skin right now—especially if you live in a freezing climate. Our suggestion? Squalene! What is it, what does it do, and what are the best products to try? Keep reading to find out.

What is it?
Squalene is a colorless poly-unsaturated hydrocarbon liquid that’s found naturally in many animals and plants, including human sebum. Yes, the word ‘sebum’ sounds gross, but it’s incredibly important to your skin. Essentially, it’s one of the many natural lipids your body produces to lubricate and protect your skin. (It’s estimated to make up about 10 to 12 percent of your skin’s oil.) It’s commonly harvested from plant sources like olives, wheat germ oil, and rice bran. The ingredient comes in two forms: squalene and squalane, a version that’s been hydrogenated, making it lighter.

What does it do?
Squalene and squalane are used in skincare products as a highly-effective emollient and natural antioxidant. Historically, they’ve been used in the medical field to treat wounds and skin problems.

Who should use it?
Squalene and squalane both make great skin moisturizers. They’re natural emollients, so they lock moisture into your skin, help prevent fine lines, and ease dry patches. Anyone can use either version, but squalene is heavier, making it helpful for extra-dry or mature skin, while squalane is great for acne-prone or oily skin.

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