INCI Name: Squalane.

Biochemistry: Squalane has the molecular formula of C30H62. Squalane is an intermediate in the biosynthesis of cholesterol. Squalane permeates into the skin at a rate of 2 mm/second. 

We often are asked about some of the ingredients in our Nerys formulations, and in particular, why do we use Squalane?  

What is Squalane?

Squalane is often called "Nature's Facelift.  Squalane is a botanical lipid that is duplicate

in molecular structure and weight to human sebaceous lipids (scientists found that the

skin's sebaceous glands synthesized approximately 10-12% squalane). Squalane is extremely compatible with the skin and is safe for all skin types (1).

(SqualANE) is the hydrogenated version of SqualENE.  Squalane doesn't just mimic sebum as with jojoba wax but IS a component of human sebum (57.5% triglycerides, 26% wax esters, 12% squalene, 10% free fatty acids, cholesterol and its esters). The animal-derivedd version is from sharks and the vegetable version is 100% olive-based (olive oil unsaponifiable containing phytosterols and free tocopherols).  Small quantities of squalene are also found in wheat germ oil, rice bran oil, and yeast. Compared to Squalene, Squalane has an excellent shelf life.

Olive based squalane has the identical chemical structure as squalane sourced from the shark liver. It has a defined molecular structure and is an ideal emollient for skincare, because it is present in nature and in human skin at a level of up to 2.6 per cent. 

SqualANE is obtained by catalytic hydrogenation of squalENE. It is highly stable and is used as a cosmetic emollient and a carrier of lipid-soluble actives. The unstable version of olive squalANE is SqualENE.

Squalene is an unsaturated hydrocarbon (C30H50) that is present in vegetable oils, and especially in fish oil. It was traditionally extracted from shark liver oil (up to 60 per cent squalene). It is of large interest for cosmetics as it is found in human sebum at a level of 12%.  It is even used as a measure of the sebum production rate.  Although the exact function of the sebaceous glands is still being explored, sebum is said to help keep the skin supple and moisturized and to form a protective coat against fungi and bacteria on the skin.

Why do we use squalene in our skincare formulations?

Squalane is a clear, colourless and odourless oil and has a high stability against oxidation (1).  Squalane is a highly active and stable material. It is incorporated in preparations between 2-15% of the product.  Squalane performs extremely well and is one of the most stable lipids in cosmetics.  Squalane offers high compatibility with all kinds of lipids while imparting a non-toxic, light, delicate, non-greasy, soft, silky feel to the skin. It’s a wonderful emollient oil, spreading easily, penetrates quickly and is non-irritant (CIR expert panel - 1982). It is a great natural emollient, restoring the skin suppleness and flexibility. It is also an excellent pigment dispersing agent and a valuable fixative for perfumes.  Due to its excellent emollient properties, Squalane is both a treatment and carrier oil.  Additional treatment ingredients can be carried into deeper layers of the skin with the aid of squalene.

Squalane and Skin Problems

It has been our experience for many years that squalane will clear up difficult skin problems (eczema, dermatitis, rashes, etc.) when nothing else helps very much. Squalane is non-irritating, even if applied onto sensitive skin at 100%. Squalane is an excellent wound healer and can be applied on skin cracks, which are a significant health issue in the winter as germs can easily enter the body through cracked fingers/hands that have dried out from cold conditions. Squalane soothes sensitive skin and is a helpful treatment oil in post-operative skin. 

Squalane has these unique abilities because oil is a naturally occurring and major factor in skin lubrication.  Squalane has unique anti-aging properties boosting cell regeneration and has excellent antibacterial properties. The unique emollient function softens the skin and helps smooth small facial wrinkles.

A final but important benefit of squalene compared to other oils (such as rosehip or sunflower oil) is that most cosmetic oils oxidise quickly (unlike squalene), and the oxidation will actually age the skin. Squalane stabilises the oxidation process making it a great way to prevent acne, Malassezia and helps with pore reduction.

With such amazing benefits, we had to include this master oil into both our night and day creams and we hope you enjoy it!!

Marc Purchon

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