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In a skincare world filled with long, complicated lists of ingredients, it can be hard to keep track of different skincare additives, let alone figure out which options will work best for your skin. For example, what is squalane? You might have heard of this highly beneficial ingredient for dry skin, but there’s lots more to learn. Usually derived from plants, squalane works differently to most other face oils which can result in hydrating, anti-ageing and comforting squalane skin benefits.

Squalane can be found in a range of different skincare products such as facial cleansers, serums and creams. This raises the question of how best to include this ingredient within your skincare regime. Keep reading to learn all about the benefits of squalane for skin, how to pair squalane with other ingredients and how to incorporate this ingredient into your daily routine.

What is squalane in skincare?

So, in the context of skincare products, what is squalane? This ingredient is an emollient and also an antioxidant. Squalane is not known to cause symptoms in reactive skin, so it’s suitable for use on sensitive skin. Squalane’s emollient properties mean it’s also well suited for used on dry skin.


Squalane can be found naturally in your body as part of the makeup of your skin’s natural oil (sebum), meaning squalane plays a role in keeping your complexion moisturised, comfortable and healthy.


What is squalane made from?

Squalane is a derivative of the similarly named squalene, which can be taken from animal or plant sources. Squalane for skin products is usually made from plant-derived squalene via a process called hydrogenation, resulting in a more stable ingredient with a much longer shelf life and lighter texture than its predecessor.

Why is squalane good for skin?

As we know, your skin has its own natural supply of squalane. However, the body’s squalane production gradually slows down as you age, starting somewhere around the age of 30. This helps to explain squalane’s anti-ageing properties - it can help to increase the skin’s supply to levels that would be seen naturally in younger skin. Products enriched with squalane are known to help minimise the visible appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Put simply, squalane benefits your skin by acting like its natural oil to help keep your skin moisturised and minimise transepidermal water loss. If you have existing redness, dry patches or rough skin texture, using products with squalane for dry skin can help manage these concerns. Squalane’s antioxidant properties mean it also helps minimise the impact of environmental aggressors like pollution and UV radiation. Squalane also works well to complement the benefits of ceramides for skin.

Which other ingredients work well with squalane skincare?

Squalane and retinol

Retinol and squalane work so well together that retinol in squalane is often used as a suspension formula for face serums. Retinol achieves powerful skin benefits by speeding up skin cell turnover, but this can lead to dry skin. Using retinol and squalane together helps manage this issue.

Squalane and hyaluronic acid

Squalane is an emollient, whereas hyaluronic acid is a humectant ingredient. That’s why these two ingredients work well together to keep your skin moisturised and hydrated respectively. Try using our CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum alongside products containing squalane in your routine.

Squalane and vitamin C

The benefits of vitamin C for skin include brightening properties and impressive antioxidant protection, however it can require some adjustment if you have sensitive skin. Pairing vitamin C with squalane works well because it adds antioxidant protection while comforting sensitive skin.

Squalane and salicylic acid

Salicylic acid for oily and acne-prone skin is helpful thanks to its ability to remove excess sebum and unclog pores, although it can be drying without being paired with moisturising ingredients. Squalane is a good companion for salicylic acid because its lightweight texture allows it to moisturise without being comedogenic. Try pairing our CeraVe SA Smoothing Cream with squalane.

Squalane and niacinamide

Niacinamide and squalane are both comforting ingredients that work well together to target the same skin concerns in different ways. Both ingredients help to minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. We recommend using our niacinamide enriched CeraVe Eye Repair Cream in conjunction with a cleanser, serum or moisturiser containing squalane.

When to use squalane cleanser

Now you know what squalane can do for your skin, let’s explore how to include this ingredient within your daily skincare routine with a squalane cleanser. Cleaning your face with oil might sound a little unusual, so how does a squalane cleanser work? Oil cleansers are a cutting-edge cleansing option for those with dry or sensitive skin, providing an ultra-mild yet efficient cleanse without drying the skin, compromising the skin barrier or leaving it greasy.

Try our CeraVe Hydrating Foaming Oil Cleanser

Our CeraVe Hydrating Foaming Oil Cleanser is developed with dermatologists to gently yet effectively cleanse even very dry skin while simultaneously providing moisture. Formulated with three essential ceramides, triglyceride and squalane, this oil-to-foam cleanser will help nourish and comfort your skin. 

Designed to work in conjunction with the rest of your skincare routine, this cleanser acts as an ideal first step before following up with CeraVe serums and moisturiser.

Now that you’re well-educated about the uses and benefits of squalane for skin, why not learn about other ways to target rough skin? Read our next article How to Improve and Smooth Skin Texture.


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