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Ingredient Highlight: Squalane Oil

Not sure about the difference between squalene and squalane? Keep reading to discover why squalane oil is the skincare superstar!

If you’re looking for an oil that’s fast absorbing and non-comedogenic, you’ve come to the right place! Introducing…Squalane oil! This oil is skin-similar, making it skin-friendly and suitable for all skin types! Squalane oil functions as an emollient, moisturizer, antioxidant and skin-conditioning agent.

What it is: antioxidant, emollient, skin conditioner

You can find it in: Phyto Clear and Intimacy Oil

*These descriptions reflect the quality of the raw ingredient.

The difference between squalene and squalane

Switching one letter makes all the difference. 

Squalene (with an e) is a natural lipid produced in the body and can be found in sebum. In fact, sebum is composed of about 13% squalene.(1) Squalene plays an important role in skin health, acting as an emollient and antioxidant while helping to keep the skin hydrated.(2) In addition to being produced naturally in the body, we can also absorb it through our diet from nutritional sources including olive oil, rice bran oil and wheat-germ.(1)

The skin benefits of squalene sound great, but there’s a catch! As a skincare ingredient, squalene is unstable; it can go rancid quickly and is susceptible to oxidation when exposed to the environment.(3) 

To combat this, squalane (with an a) is used in skincare formulations. When squalene is hydrogenated, the molecular structure is modified and it becomes squalane, which is a stable and powerful skincare ingredient. While the hydrogenation process makes squalene less susceptible to oxidation, it doesn’t take away from its amazing skin benefits. In fact, it makes it more skin-friendly, but more on that later. 

Sources of squalene

If squalene is a lipid produced in the body, where do we get squalene to convert to squalane?

Well, that’s another catch about squalene. The highlest abundance of squalene is in shark liver oil. This is how squalene was initially discovered, and how it got its name (squalidae is a category of sharks).(3) 

Rest assured, the squalane oil used in Graydon Skincare products is 100% plant-derived and extracted from olive oil!

Small glass pitcher of olive oil on folded piece of burlap with fresh olives and leaf sprigs placed around.

In the interest of making squalene more sustainable, environmentally friendly and cruelty-free, the cosmetics industry has developed methods for extracting squalene and squalane from natural sources including plant oils.(3)(4) Squalane derived from plant sources is often referred to as phytosqualane.(5) In more recent developments, squalane has been derived from the fermentation of sugarcane.(5)

If you’re on a sustainable, plant-based mission like we are at Graydon Skincare, always ensure that the squalane/squalene in the products you use is 100% plant-derived! 

To learn more about the work being done to ensure the protection of sharks and ocean conservation, Oceana is a great resource!

Benefits of squalane oil

A key characteristic that squalane has over other oils is that it’s a skin-similar ingredient, meaning it behaves similarly to the natural oils in your skin. This makes sense considering that the unhydrogenated version (squalene) is produced in the skin. Because squalane is skin-similar, it offers many benefits as a skincare ingredient.

  • Non-comedogenic: This means it won’t clog your pores and cause acne breakouts.
  • Fast absorbing: Squalane oil soaks into the skin quickly and doesn’t leave an oily feeling on the skin after applying.(6)
  • Antioxidant: Helps to combat free radical damage that can lead to premature signs of aging.(1)
  • Emollient: Works to hydrate and soften the skin to improve suppleness and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.(2) 
  • And as we already discussed, squalane doesn't oxidize quickly. In case you don't already know, we want to avoid using products that have oxidized because oxidation can cause skin inflammation, flare-ups and breakouts. No thanks! Squalane also has an extremely long shelf life so even if you are using it sparingly, it'll last you a long time.

    Who is squalane oil good for?

    This oil really does it all and is suitable for all skin types! Dry skin? Squalane works as an emollient to lock in moisture. Oily skin? You will be happy to know that this oil is fast-absorbing and doesn’t leave a greasy residue feeling. Acne-prone? This non-comedogenic oil won't clog pores.

    The natural production of squalene slowly begins to decrease between the ages of 20 and 30.(6) As this occurs, our skin may become drier with reduced elasticity. This is when we really need to add moisture and can benefit from skincare products containing squalane.

    Squalane oil in Graydon Skincare products

    Given all the benefits of this incredible skincare ingredient, we had to include in squalane oil our product line. As mentioned earlier, our squalane oil is 100% plant-based and derived from olive oil.

    We formulated Phyto Clear, our botanical retinol gel cream, with squalane oil. Perfect for combination skin, Phyto Clear works to clarify and tone the complexion.

    50 mL bottle of Graydon Skincare Phyto Clear moisturizer with vibrant green product smear in background

    You can also find squalane oil in our Intimacy Oil! This dry-touch body oil contains squalane and active botanicals that leave your skin nourished and glowing.  

    Bonus use for squalane oil

    We’ve gone through the great skin benefits of squalane, but it’s also a fantastic hair oil too! The moisturizing and emollient benefits of squalene oil help restore lost oils in the hair to improve shine and reduce dryness.(2)(4) 

    100 mL bottle of Graydon Skincare Intimacy Oil with light blue product droplets in the background

    Pro tip: Apply Intimacy Oil as a hair oil by working into the ends of your hair to seal the look of split ends, smooth flyaways and replenish the oils in your hair!


    • Squalene oil is naturally present in the skin’s sebum.
    • Squalane oil is a more stable and skin-friendly version of squalene oil
    • Squalane oil functions as an emollient, moisturizer, skin-conditioning agent and antioxidant.
    • Squalane oil is fast-absorbing, non-comedogenic and suitable for all skin types.
    • Squalane can also be used as a hair oil.
    • Find squalane oil in Phyto Clear and Intimacy Oil.
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