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Squalane Exposed: The Skincare Ingredient Animal Lovers Should Be Aware Of

Lately, one of my favorite skincare ingredients has been squalane. This highly moisturizing essential mimics your skin’s natural oils and is a natural antioxidant that can protect your skin from carcinogens. Sounds like the perfect addition to your skincare routine, right? And though that is true, the history of squalane is far from perfect.

Squalane’s Many Benefits

Squalane is known for being the go-to oil to lock in moisture, improve skin elasticity, and balance your skin’s oil production. It is something our bodies naturally produce but as we age, we don’t tend to produce enough to maintain our bouncy skin. This ingredient is non-comedogenic and helps to calm and protect your skin. It is a natural skin healer and is even used in the medical field to treat wounds and reduce scars. It can help even your skin tone, reverse UV damage, and did I mention it’s a free radical fighter? The best news is, it works for all skin types.

Save The Sharks

Squalane, the hydrogenated derivative of squalene, comes from shark liver oil. Sharks stay buoyant with their large livers filled with this fatty oil and are hunted aggressively for this skincare ingredient. According to a study by the marine conservation coalition Bloom Association, 2.7 million sharks are killed every year just for their livers, and more than 60 different species are being poached.

Don’t Worry, There’s A Plant-Based Alternative

Phew– you knew I wasn’t going to hype up this skincare essential without offering a sustainable option. Modern science has allowed the skincare industry to genetically create squalane without harming sharks, according to scientists at BioNtech. This squalane is made from sustainably sourced sugarcane, so be sure to look for brands that offer cruelty-free & vegan options.

The ‘A’ and ‘E’ Rumor

There is a common misconception that Squalene (with an E) is derived from sharks where Squalane (with an A) is plant-based, but this is not the case. The difference between the two is that one, Squalane, is a more stable, hydrogenated compound with a longer shelf life, best for skin care purposes, and actually makes it even better for acne-prone skin.

So How Do You Use It?

Since squalane is great for softening skin, moisturizing, and regulating oil production, it is recommended to use on clean skin. You can apply 100% pure plant-based squalane to your skin, or mix a few drops into your daily moisturizer. Not only is it great for your face, but it does wonders for your hair and body. So slap on some squalane and protect your skin barrier. This skincare essential really does it all.


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Explore the brand behind the blog! We are ESW Beauty, a clean skincare brand inspired by healthy living! All of our products are formulated with clean & vegan ingredients, are cruelty free, and made sustainably. Learn more about us below!

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