The Difference Between Squalene + Squalane

What is Squalene?

Squalene is a fat-soluble antioxidant that our skin produces in our sebum. It's also is found in shark liver oil and botanical sources such as olives, rice bran, sugar cane and wheat germ. The word itself comes from the Latin word Squalus which means shark. 

Benefits & Uses:

+ Super light, non-greasy & absorbs quickly into skin

+ A strong natural antioxidant

+ Stimulates better blood circulation for the skin

+ Does not form a barrier on the skin like many other oils do so may be used under moisturizers

+ Offers superior hydration for all skin types & conditions

+ Helps regulate excess oil production, improves moisture balance and the elasticity of the skin

+ Prevents environmental stressors (helps with premature aging)

+ Aids in penetration of other nutrients helping skincare products be more effective

+ Fantastic for hydrating the eye & lip areas

+ Clinically proven to be non-irritating

+ Good for skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis & psoriasis

+ Antibacterial benefits


You may be wondering why shark oil would be used in skin care at all. Around 60-85% of the oil in deep-sea sharks’ livers is made up of squalene. It helps the body use oxygen more efficiently and help regulate their buoyancy which is kind of important when you live at the bottom of the sea! Unfortunately, with the demand and popularity of this ingredient in beauty, these poor sharks have been hunted to near extinction. Put this into perspective, it takes an estimate of 3,000 sharks to make 1 ton of squalene. Not only is this absolutely terrible and inhumane it’s also not sustainable. This has led to the uses of plant-based sources instead of sharks. (Thank goodness!)

When shopping for skincare products I recommend looking for the words bio-based, plant-based or olive/sugar based squalane because it's ethically extracted.

Squalene vs. Squalane

Now you may have noticed the difference in spelling, here is why…SqualEne alone is very unstable, comedogenic for some skin types and will go rancid rather quickly. SqualAne is when squalene goes through hydrogenation processing. This means it turns the squalene from an unsaturated oil into a 100% saturated oil. This is even more than coconut oil which is around 80-90%. Why this is important is because our skin does not produce saturated fatty acids it's own and it’s essential for true moisturization and health of the skin. Plus, it’s non-comedogenic and suitable for all skin types!

Botanical Picks

Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil | $32

100% Plant-derived Squalane | $7.90

(Babe on a budget friendly!)


The entire collection is renewable sugarcane extracted squalane from a cleanser, an eye gel, a vitamin C rose oil to a 100% squalane serum. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this brand.