Squalane in cosmetics - what does it do and why is it used ?

What is squalane?

Squalane is an oily, odorless and tasteless liquid found in fish (primarily sharks) and plants. It is used in cosmetics and in industry, as well as in chemical analyzes[1].

What is squalane chemically?

Fig. 1 The squalane molecule

Squalane is a so-called triterpene, which consists of three terpene units. Terpenes generally have their own odors, and are found in resins and essential oils. They have an antimicrobial effect and are used as environmentally friendly insecticides. In addition, they have some pharmacologically interesting properties, such as the terpenes contained in hemp are used against cancer[2].

Where does squalane come from?

Squalane was obtained in very significant quantities from sharks, but they are now obtained from squalene. Squalene is found in many plants, and

Fig. 2 The squalene molecule

be hydrogenated to squalane. Squalene and squalane come in e.g. Wheat germ oil, avocado oil or olive oil. Squalane, which is obtained from plants is also referred to as phytosqualan to illustrate its origin[3].

Where is squalane used and why?

Squalane is used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Here it is used for example in conditioners, creams and ointments, which is due to its very good Spreitwert. It does not really penetrate the skin itself, but has a positive influence on the release behavior of other substances in an emulsion. In addition, it is stable against oxidation, which is why it is used in sun creams.[4].



INCI entry on squalane[2][3]

Article on squalane in cosmetics[4]

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