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The Dirt on Squalane in Skincare (And Why You Need It)

Sometimes slick marketing can make tried and tested beauty ingredients seem brand new, but whether or not you’ve been aware, you’ve probably been using squalane on your skin for years now. Squalane is a heavy, protective oil that occurs in many fish oils, certain vegetable ones and even within the human body: human sebum, the waxy matter that keeps our skin plump and conditioned, naturally contains 13 per cent squalane, as a matter of fact.

Studies have shown that regular application of squalane leads to significant improvement of skin texture and base hydration; that it protects the skin surface from oxidation due to UV exposure; and that it’s odourless, non-comedogenic, antibacterial, and even safe for sensitive skin. Squalane is an important ingredient to fold into your beauty regimen because our body drastically reduces its production after the age of 30, but even if you’re not at the 30 y.o. barrier yet, a night cream with squalane is ideal to ensure that transitional weather doesn’t disturb the acid mantle on your skin. When you’re ready to take the step, here are some products that are full enough of squalene that you can feel its effects from the first use.

One of the most effective ways to introduce squalane into your routine is to find a cleanser that features it as a key ingredient–when it comes to hydration, it’s important to ensure that all your products work in concert, so it’s smarter to pick hydrating cleansing agents instead of stripping ones. The DR. G Brightening Peeling Cream ($30) exfoliates your skin without the slightest irritation thanks to its use of squalane and nicinamide. As AHAs and BHAs work to increase cell turnover, niacinamide (another ingredient we love!) soothes inflammation, and squalane protectively coats your skin so it never dries out. If your skin is more or less satisfied hydration-wise but you’re still looking for an extra boost of moisture for that forever-young glow, the best way to get it is via a restorative serum that deeply conditions while evening skin texture. May Coop’s Raw Activator ($60) uses rice ceramides to brighten and maple sap to hydrate, but its underlying dose of squalane is what provides skin with that little bit of extra somethin’ somethin’ that makes the world of difference.Squalane might be a powerhouse ingredient, but there’s no denying that it doesn’t do every job under the the sun. It’s important to know that while a good squalane oil will deeply hydrate and protect, for most people, an excellent product delivers a lot more than one key benefit. Biossance’s Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil ($90) checks almost every box on my list: squalane replenishes, rose oil nourishes and soothes, and a special, oil-soluble version of vitamin C brightens, supposedly delivering the pure benefits of vitamin C 50 times better than ascorbic acid for a healthy, radiant glow.If you’re looking for a fuss-free item that has squalane as its main ingredient instead of as just an add-on, look no further than Indie Lee’s Squalane Facial Cream ($70), which functions great as both a night cream for most skin types and a day cream for especially dry skin. There’s some aloe vera and vegetable glycerin in there too to provide supporting, anti-inflammatory boosts to your skin, but for the most part, this cream is a heavy hitter that is ideal to help you test-drive squalane as distinct from all the other emollient products in your routine.Finally, Peter Thomas Roth’s Oilless Oil 100 percent Purified Squalane ($47) might not have the sexiest name, but it does have the purest function. As a bottle containing squalane in its most pure liquid form, while this would technically be the most nourishing product in this entire list, it’s also perhaps the hardest one to use because single-ingredient formulations are always unexpectedly potent. A few drops will go miles with this lil’ number, and this oil would be perfect both as a deep-rescue night treatment and a way to reclaim your elbows and knees from ashy scratchiness.

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