Oil isn't all that bad for our skin, but we don't blame everyone who flinches at the sight of it in products. After all, some oils don't have the cleanest track record—a lot of them can clog your pores (we're looking at you, coconut oil) and potentially make your skin problems worse. But then again, being oil-free doesn't automatically mean it's good for your skin either! Having a healthy relationship with oils is all about choosing the right one for your skin type, or at least, picking one that's basically foolproof.
Enter, squalane—the lightweight, pore-friendly oil that's sneakily in many of your favorite products. And before you oily and acne-prone folk panic, we're telling you now that this is an oil that you'd probably want to keep and not toss. Continue reading to find out why!
What Is Squalane?
Before we dive into why squalane is awesome, let's discuss where it comes from first: Squalene (yup, take note of that extra "e"). Squalene is a naturally occuring fat found in our skin's sebum, while squalane is what squalene becomes when it's saturated through a process called hydrogenation. Now the reason squalene is processed is that it's quite the unstable ingredient. Like our friend vitamin C, squalene oxidizes when exposed to the air, which renders it ineffective. But once it's turned into squalane, it becomes stable enough to be included in the skincare products in our shelves and provide its moisturizing perks in peace.
Another little known fact about squalene is that you'll find a lot of it inside shark liver. In fact, that's where it was derived for skincare before the majority of brands switched to plant-based sources. Currently, the squalene that eventually becomes squalane for our products mostly come from olives and sugarcane, rightly sparing shark lives for our sake.
Why Is Squalane Good for the Skin?
If we already have squalene in our sebum, you might be wondering: Why do we need its stabler form, squalane, in our skincare? The answer is the same as why we use hyaluronic acid: Because our supply of it dwindles over time. And while running out of sebum sounds great at first, our skin (specifically its protective barrier) actually needs that moisture to function properly and protect itself.
That said, having squalene in our skincare isn't just a way to supplement our dwindling supply of squalene. It's a great moisturizer in general, helping lock in hydration to prevent water loss. Squalane is also said to help refine the texture of the skin and improve the appearance of fine lines and help with elasticity. The fact that it's a lightweight, easily-absorbed oil makes it well-tolerated by all skin types, including sensitive or oily ones. And as an oily-skinned person writing this, I can attest that it's one of the very few oils my pores don't reject.
Skincare Products with Squalane
1. Peter Thomas Roth Oilless Oil 100 Percent Purified Squalane
This product's ingredient list is barely a list, because sugarcane-derived squalane is literally its only ingredient. It's one of the most lightweight squalane formulas out there, so it's perfect for beginners who need a non-greasy introduction.
Oilless Oil 100 percent Purified Squalane, P2690, PETER THOMAS ROTH, Sephora.ph
2. The Inkey List Squalane
Not sure if you're ready to splurge on squalane yet? Give it a shot through this non-heavy face oil from The Inkey List that won't break the bank.
Squalane, P895, THE INKEY LIST, Beauty Bar
3. Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil
In case you need some diversity in your squalane source, this product has 100% olive-derived squalane. It'll give your skin some extra moisture and slip in a snap without leaving an overly greasy film.
Squalane Facial Oil, P2115, INDIE LEE, Sephora.ph
4. Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate
If you didn't know that this cult-fave product had squalane, well now you do. Infused with essential oils like lavender and evening primrose, you'll love it for some added moisture and relaxation in your routine.
Midnight Recovery Concentrate, P1950 (15ml) P2950 (30ml), KIEHL'S, Lazada
5. Dermalogica Skin Soothing Hydrating Lotion
Not all a squalane products are packaged like face oils. This moisturizer, for example, is a light hydrating fix that's easy to apply and forget about.
Skin Soothing Hydrating Lotion, P1350, DERMALOGICA, Rustan's