Squalane or squalene? What exactly is the difference between the two? Is it an ethically sourced ingredient? Is it vegan? What are the benefits of squalane for skin? I get these questions all the time as a skincare educator for Youth to the People. Don’t worry, I got you.
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Squalane (with an ‘a’) is actually a more stable derivative of squalene, which often gets a bad rap because of how it is commonly sourced—squalene (with an ‘e’) is non-vegan; though produced by humans, animals and plants, squalene is sourced from animals, including sharks. In the early 1900s, a scientist by the name of Dr. Mitsumaro found the ingredient to be most highly concentrated in the livers of deep sea sharks, a discovery that led to excessive and inhumane fishing of these animals. To combat this, in the early 1950s scientist Sebastian Sabetay created a more sustainable alternative, creating a bio-identical version sourced from plants and which proved to be more stable and equally effective—squalane. Squalane is often sourced from sugarcane or olives (like with Youth To The People products).
Alright, on to the benefits. Our bodies naturally produce something called sebum, which are the oils we secrete from our sebaceous glands AKA our pores. Squalene is exactly 13% of that sebum makeup. As we age, our natural production of squalene decreases, making our skin susceptible to damage. As an emollient, our skin needs squalene to maintain moisture, so squalane can therefore be easily absorbed to help restore plumpness without any comedogenic residue. Squalane also helps with maintaining hydration levels; it has been shown to help prevent trans-epidermal water loss, or TEWL. At night when we sleep, our bodies can often become dehydrated if the barrier of the skin is deficient or lacking. Squalane can essentially mimic the skin's natural oil production and help prevent TEWL.
Squalane also has antioxidant properties. Like all other antioxidants, squalane is effective in reducing oxidative stress factors. By preventing the effects of those environmental stressors (including sun exposure,) squalane reduces skin sensitivity and surface irritation.Squalane can be found in many YTTP products including the Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream, Superberry Hydrate + Glow Oil, and Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask. This ingredient is an essential, and when you find it in products from Youth To The People, you’ll know it will always be vegan, ethically-sourced, and never tested on animals.