Controlling Acne-Prone Skin With Oils

Squalene and squalane are naturally-derived oils found in beauty products that moisturize skin. The difference lies in the source. Squalene is naturally produced by the body, and can also be found in animals and plants. Squalene is converted into squalane by using a process called hydrogenation to create a more shelf-stable product. Plant-derived squalane can moisturize the skin without clogging pores.

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Creating cosmetics from natural oils

The human body naturally produces sebum through the sebaceous glands, which include triglycerides, wax esters, cholesterol esters, and squalene. Sebum lubricates and protects the skin against friction and creates a moisture barrier. Naturally-derived squalene goes through a hydrogenation process to create squalane. This change avoids the problem of natural degradation due to oxygen exposure and improves effectiveness.

An unusual source of squalene

Shark liver oil is a common squalene source that can be converted into squalane for use in cosmetic products. Obtaining squalene from sharks has fallen out of favor in the US due to ethical concerns. Many cosmetics nowadays include squalane derived from plants such as olives, rice bran, wheat germ, sugar cane, and amaranth seed.

Is squalane for me?

Dry or aged skin can benefit from squalane application, but the product can be safely used for all skin types. Squalane can improve hydration, making skin appear brighter and healthier. This oil acts as an antioxidant, fighting against age-accelerating free radicals. Squalane can be good for acne, oily skin, eczema, psoriasis, and dry hair.

Squalane for acne

Oily or acne-prone skin can break out with pore-clogging skincare products. Squalane is safe to use for all skin types, including oily skin. Squalane is a lightweight, non-comedogenic oil, keeping pores clear and hydrated. Before applying squalane, the pores must be cleaned regularly and exfoliated 1-2 times a week.

Squalane for eczema

Skin problems due to inflammation, such as inflammatory acne, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, and dermatitis, may benefit from squalane’s anti-inflammatory characteristics. Dry skin is a common sign of an inflammatory skin condition. Squalane can offer hydration and reduce dryness and flare-ups.

Squalane isn’t for everyone

Although squalane is generally safe for all skin types, an allergic reaction or irritation is possible. People should be cautious when starting any new skincare regimen. Applying a small dab over an inconspicuous area can test for an allergic reaction such as itchiness, redness, or swelling.

Improving skin with squalane

As people age, natural squalene production goes down. Dry skin and acne can be treated with products containing squalane that can act like the body’s natural sebum to improve hydration. Squalane, not made from shark liver oil, is an ethical and effective way to improve appearance and treat various skin conditions, including acne.


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