Ingredient Spotlight: Squalane

Squalane is a naturally-occurring oil that makes up part of the sebum that our bodies use to moisturize and protect our skin cells. Although human cells manufacture small amounts of their own squalane, production begins to decline once we’re in our late 20s, which is part of why many of us experience drier skin as we age. As a concentrated topical moisturizing ingredient, squalane helps cells repair themselves, which can even skin tone and reduce the look of fine lines. It’s a star ingredient in many of our popular anti-aging products, including our Superhero Anti-Aging Target Treatment For face, Neck, and Décolleté.

Squalane vs Squalene: What’s the Difference?

Squalane is a hydrogenated version of squalene that makes it more stable against oxidation when exposed to air. Because squalane is cheaper, breaks down more slowly and has a longer shelf life than squalene, it is most commonly used as an ingredient in beauty products, typically with an expiration date of two years after opening.

A Fantastic Ingredient with a Cruel Cost

Squalane and squalene used to also be referred to as “shark liver oil.” The liver organs of deep-sea sharks like Chimeras, Gulper sharks, Kitefin sharks and Portuguese dogfish are prime sources for highly-concentrated squalene. The same harsh environment that led these sharks to develop such high concentrations of this lipid also may have spelled doom for many species: deep-sea sharks grow slowly and do not reproduce as prolifically as other varieties. Once Squalane caught on as a beauty product additive, overfishing began intensifying, and many species are now near extinction.

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) reported that, as of 2014, more than 200 species are on the red list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
A 2012 report by the ocean-survival nonprofit program BLOOM states that “cosmetics use accounts for 90 percent of shark liver oil production worldwide, contributing to approximately 2.7 million deep sea shark deaths annually. To expedite collection fishermen may cruelly practice ‘livering’ – removing the organ and discarding the carcass overboard, throwing injured animals back to sea suffering and still alive.”

Vegetable-based Squalane: Pamper Skin Sustainably

Fortunately, squalene can be created synthetically or extracted from vegetable sources like amaranth seed, olives, palm, rice bran and wheat germ. Look for the words '100% plant-derived,' 'vegetable based' or 'vegetable origins.' If the label doesn’t indicate its specific source, ask the manufacturer if a product contains squalene derived from sharks.
At RainShadow labs, ethical sourcing is an important pillar of how we do business. We do not use squalane from animal sources; ours is made from olives.

Harness the Incredible Power of Squalane with our Private Label and Buy Direct Products
Our olive based squalane is the perfect ingredient for private label skincare products that moisturize, repair, soothe and restore. Whether you’re interested in starting your own private label skincare brand or are looking to buy organic and natural skincare products without the high price markups, we’ve got you covered. Read more about our private label process, or check out our “buy direct” section to access our selection of natural and organic skincare ingredients and formulations for yourself!