When it comes to skin care ingredients, determining fact from fiction can be challenging, as it seems there is constant hype surrounding new ‘super skin’ formulations that make promises they just can’t keep.
While it may surprise you, most of the face oils on the market are actually more harmful than helpful.
There are two types of oils:
Saturated oils have single bonds within their fatty acid chains. This makes them very stable and resistant to assault by free radicals. They have a high melting point and will not quickly expire.
Unsaturated oils have at least one double bond within their fatty acid chains. The more double bonds, the less stable the oil.
- Monounsaturated oils contain one double bond.
- Polyunsaturated oils contain multiple double bonds. This makes them extremely susceptible to free radical assault. They easily deteriorate (spontaneously oxidizing) when they are exposed to heat and oxygen.
Unfortunately, most facial oils found at big box and convenience stores are the latter type, polyunsaturated. Rose hip oil, almond oil, argan oil, sunflower oil, and the likes fall into this category.
To avoid aging your skin prematurely, steer clear of polyunsaturated oils. They are culprits of pigmentation, and especially dangerous if you expose your face to sunlight.
When they interact with UV radiation, it causes damage at the cellular level.
Squalane, a product found naturally in our bodies, is the newest subject of curiosity amongst skin care specialists for its safe, saturated properties.
Synthesized in the sebaceous glands, squalane is abundant when skin is young and healthy. As we age the levels drop drastically – and by the time we hit our mid-thirties, and forties, we no longer have sufficient levels to maintain healthy skin.
It is believed that this drop-off is partly responsible for many of the signs of aging skin.
Squalane vs Squalene
Squalane and squalene are chemically similar and can be found in many cosmetic products, as they are highly compatible with the natural oils present in our skin.
Squalene is an unsaturated oil that has historically been sourced from shark liver oil, though it is now more common for it to be derived from plant and vegetable based hosts such as sugarcane, wheat germ, rice bran and palm trees.
Squalane is a saturated botanical lipid, with a similar structure to squalene, but it is mainly obtained from the olive fruit tree.
Products that contain squalane tend to absorb slowly into the skin and are much more effective for sensitive skin, as the oil has been clinically proven to be non-irritating.
Much like vitamin E, squalane creates a barrier between the skin and the environment so the skin can better retain moisture as it protects the external layer of the epidermis at the same time.
While both materials are suitable for most skin types, including those with oily zones, squalane is less susceptible to oxidation, making it more stable than and preferred to squalene.
One of the factors why this ingredient is so effective in skincare is that it possesses very similar properties to and therefore is very compatible with the natural oils present in the skin.
While squalane is technically an oil, it does not have an oily consistency. It is also odorless and non-comedonal, which means it will not clog pores. Squalane is also believed to have anti-bacterial properties, which may help reduce acne symptoms without causing redness, stinging or peeling.
When used in skincare products, it is superior at providing natural feeling moisturization. Boasting emollient characteristics as well, squalane lightly coats the surface of the skin to soften and smooth without leaving a greasy residue.
It can also help ensure that any cosmetic products applied on top of it have a smooth, spreadable texture. It allows other serums, moisturizers and facial treatments to absorb more effectively into the skin.
How to Apply
Most skin care specialists recommend applying squalane twice a day as part of your daily routine:
- Apply any active treatment products
- Apply any serums
- Apply squalane oil to face and eye area
- Apply moisturizer
- Apply makeup
Neova brand squalane is one of the leading 100% pure squalane oils that has gotten a lot of acclaim from dermatologists and beauty gurus alike. Check it out here.
It is encouraged that you experiment and reorder order to see what your skin responds to best.