This post looks at the benefits of squalane for acne and the types of spots that this facial oil works best with.
Finding the right kind of facial oil for acne prone skin can be a total nightmare! It seems that everyone has a different opinion on what’s pore clogging and whats acne safe making it near impossible to recommend a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Personally, for my super oily skin, I usually opt for Jojoba oil mixed with a bit of Sea Buckthorn Berry Oil for it’s DHT blocking abilities. However, those who are still struggling with acne with dry, flaky skin or acne in their late 30s, 40s and even 50s may need a more nourishing and hydrating approach to their facial oil regime.
Now. Hang on a minute! Isn’t squalane highly pore clogging?!
Let’s clear a few things up.
Squalene is an antioxidant naturally found in our skin and keeps our skin soft, smooth and supple. It’s thought that at birth our skin contains 12% squalene but production starts to drops down in our mid-twenties and by the time we’re 50, the squalene levels in our skin will have dropped to below 5%. This makes squalene production an important factor in the role of ageing skin. Sounding great so far huh? However, the problem with squalene is that it’s super unstable. It oxidises when exposed to oxygen which causes a highly pore clogging substance called squalene peroxide. This oxidisation and production of squalene peroxide triggers a cascade of events that ends up in a mammoth breakout.
Read more about squalane peroxide and how it can cause acne here.
squalane and acne: a must-have facial oil for breakouts?
So why am I recommending squalane for acne? Well Squalane is derived from Squalene in a process called hydrogenation, it’s literally one letter different which makes it very easy for inaccurate information to be spread across cyber space! The hydrogenation process make the oil much lighter and much more stable – meaning that it has a longer shelf-life and doesn’t oxidise and cause squalene peroxide. For those of us with acne or oily, we would definitely need to opt for the lighter, none pore-clogging version squalane.
why is squalane good for acne?
- It’s a stable oil that doesn’t oxidise and cause clogged pores
- It closely mimics the skins own sebum
- It’s one of only TWO natural oils which are safe for fungal acne (Malassezia) – read my blog post here.
- It increases skin hydration by preventing moisture loss
- It helps to balance the production of sebum
- It has antibacterial properties to help fight acne
- It’s high in antioxidants so protects the skin from pollution
- It helps improve the appearance of acne scars
- It’s light and odourless
what is squalene derived from?
In natural skin care, squalane is derived from olive oil, wheatgerm or rice bran. Now don’t freak out! While pure Olive oil and Wheatgerm oil can be an issue for acne prone skin, squalane derived from olive oil does NOT have the same chemical structure as pure Olive oil.
Similarly to Jojoba (another suitable oil for acne) squalane mimics the molecular structure of our own natural sebum. This unique structure and similarity means that it has the ability to penetrate the skin quickly without clogging pores or leaving a greasy residue behind, making it a good choice for those who struggle with combination skin.
what type of acne is squalane good for?
Due to the fact that squalane is highly stable, it makes it excellent for preventing sebum oxidisation, clogged pores, blackheads and whiteheads. Squalane also has antibacterial properties means that it is effective against both bacterial and fungal acne. Early studies show that it could benefits types of inflammatory acne too, but the evidence on this is still quite weak so further studies will need to be carried out to confirm squalane’s efficiency against inflammatory acne.
squalane for fungal acne?
As I’ve already mentioned a couple of time, Squalane is one of the few oils that is suitable if you suffer with fungal acne (Malessezia). Due to excessive or long-term use of antibiotics (ironically to treat acne!), stress, sweat/heat and using the wrong skin care products for your skin, fungal acne is becoming more and more common. Fungal acne is easy to treat, but at the same time very complicated. Does this make sense?! Using the right skin care is usually all it takes to get fungal acne under control…easy huh?! Well things get tricky as fungal acne is VERY fussy and can flare up with so many common skin care ingredients. Oils are the biggest problem as Malessezia feeds off excess sebum in the pores but lucky for us, there are THREE oils which are safe to use for fungal acne. However, one I wouldn’t recommend for skin health (mineral oil) and the other may be suitable for oil cleansing but doesn’t have a tonne of skin benefits (true MCT oil)…so we’re really left with one oil that is 100% safe for all types of acne – SQUALANE!
where can i buy squalane?
Indie Lee do a great Squalane Facial Oil – if you’re based in the UK you you can pick up the Squalane Facial Oil and other Indie Lee products at A Beautiful World. This squalane facial oil is by far my favourite. It just feels so good on the skin – so light, absorbent and none greasy!
There are other squalane facial oils on the market such as Timeless, Dr Brenner, Bybi Beauty, and The Ordinary. As with all skin types, some love a facial oil and others prefer serums and creams – it’s just a matter of finding out what works best for your acne-prone skin.
What’s your experience with squalane facial oil for acne or fungal acne? Let me know your stories in the comments below!
Peace, Love & Clear Skin