Contrary to popular belief, sebum, the oil your skin produces, isn’t all that bad. It’s actually your skin’s way to keep itself moisturized and protected from harmful elements. It contains fatty acids, sugars, waxes, ad other natural chemicals that prevent water from evaporating which keeps your skin hydrated and supple.
In particular, a lipid called squalene helps your skin retain moisture, maintains your skin’s barrier function, and also prevents the harmful effects of free radicals.
As you age, however, your oil glands tend to produce less squalene leading to drier skin that’s prone to dehydration, roughness, and dullness.
The good news is there’s another naturally-derived alternative to squalene that you can easily find at the beauty counter: olive squalane. This botanical oil has become one of the most popular emollients today and for good reason.
In today’s blog, we’ll be taking a close look at olive squalene and how it can benefit your skin. Let’s get started!
What is Olive Squalane?
Olive squalene is an emollient, conditioner, and carrier derived from olive oil. It starts out as squalene, the form of this lipid that is present in the skin. It undergoes a process called hydrogenation to make it more stable. The resulting substance is a light, luxurious, and non-oxidative lipid that can lubricate and protect the skin.
Because it is structurally similar to squalene, it can act as a great emollient. It sinks deep in between skin cells which helps smoothen and soften the texture of the skin. It also forms a natural protective barrier on the skin’s surface which helps slow down trans-epidermal water loss. This helps your skin retain moisture and hydration longer.
Squalane is lightweight, transparent, and odorless. It helps moisturized and deeply hydrate the skin without leaving a greasy film behind. It is extensively used in formulations that condition, moisturize, soothe, or replenish the skin.
Qualities of Olive Squalane as a Skincare Ingredient
Several products contain olive squalane including emollients, facial creams, and serums, hair conditioners and oils, lip moisturizers, cuticle creams, sunscreens. It is also incorporated in products designed to ease inflammatory skin conditions like eczema.
It possesses several qualities that make it ideal as a skincare ingredient. This includes:
- It is a vegan and cruelty-free option. In the past, squalene was sourced from sharks which posed environmental dangers. The manufacture of squalene from botanical sources makes it a far more sustainable approach to skincare.
- It is a derivative of a substance that is already present in the body. Squalane is just a form of naturally-occurring squalene that is hydrogenated to improve stability and to prevent oxidation. Therefore, it poses little to no danger when used even on sensitive skin.
- It can enhance the absorption of other skincare ingredients. It also helps stabilize the end product when included in a formulation.
- Olive squalene can be used as-is. By itself, it has a lightweight texture that’s easily absorbed into the skin. While it makes for a great addition to skincare products, it can be used on its own to promote skin moisture.
- It is skin-friendly. Olive squalene is non-comedogenic and it presents a low risk of irritation. It can be used on most skin types including sensitive skin.
Benefits of Olive Squalane
- Locks in Moisture. Despite being a lightweight product, squalene can still effectively form a lipid barrier on the surface of the skin. This keeps water locked inside skin cells and prevents it from escaping.
- Improves Dry Patches. Squalane has a high affinity with the skin so it can penetrate deeply. It softens and smoothens rough areas that keep your skin looking supple and bouncy.
- Anti-inflammatory. It has excellent anti-inflammatory properties which support skin-healing. It helps soothe inflamed skin by reducing redness and itching.
- Anti-Aging. Olive squalene has antioxidant properties that help slow down the aging effects of UV damage. It fights free radicals which keep your skin young-looking for longer.
- Repairs the Skin’s Barrier. Because it contains high concentrations of Omega 3 6, and 7, olive squalene can help regenerate skin cells. It replenishes the skin to rebuild its protective barrier function.
- Natural Prebiotic. Olive squalane may help support the skin’s acid mantle which is crucial for maintaining healthy skin. It can suppress the growth of pathogenic bacteria while supporting microbiome diversity.