Let’s Talk Squalane Oil
Hey, dudes! This might be my first post ever about skincare, which tells you right off the bat- I am super duper psyched about by this skincare gem, called Squalane oil… a.k.a “Unicorn tears”. Okay, I may’ve made up that nickname but it really is that magical, in my opinion. So obvi, I had to share it with you.
First, before we go further, be sure to check out my medical disclaimer at the bottom of this post. I’m going to also preface it with this statement- I am not a dermatologist, general physician, or an aesthetician. This post is simply about my personal experience with Squalane Oil, and some basic research I’ve collected from the interwebz. Be sure to consult the appropriate provider with your individual questions, comments, concerns. Again, skincare is NOT my specialty. This is just my opinion : )
Got it? Good, here we go…
Here’s a bit of a backstory with my skin, and what led me to this amazing stuff. I have 38 year old, combination, highly sensitive skin, dehydrated skin. It is noticeably more clear and breakout free when I am getting adequate vitamins and minerals, and am avoiding sugar and dairy. I’m not going to discuss nutrition as it relates to skin in this post. There are conflicting studies about this topic, and you might even get a different answer asking two different dermatologists, as I did.
But because I have witnessed a connection between my skin and diet, I fall into the camp of believers. There are endless studies and articles published on this relationship, so google can help ya out there and you can formulate your own opinion. This is just ONE article.
Continuing on. That being said, eating well only does so much for my skin at this my dare-I-say-it “middle age stage”. I have tried various skin regimens, some more involved than others. But admittedly, I’ve never really invested a lot of time to to taking care of my skin. I have tried a lot of products– expensive, inexpensive, prescription, and not– but can’t say I’ve ever been faithful to anything.
Go ahead, you can gasp.
At most involved, I’ve been a cleanser, toner, treatment product, and/or moisturizer gal. But those “at most” times are kinda few and far between. The only product I’m actually ever consistent with is sunscreen (btw, this is my holy grail of sunscreens— worth every penny!) And no judging, but until recently that cleanser has been the “Men’s (brandname not important) Face Wash” I share in the shower with my husband. The concept of utilizing an extensive step-by-step combination of products based on the pH of my skin was as about as foreign to me as perhaps its origin, Korea.
Don’t shoot me if that’s not the first of the first of the first place origin. Just learning as I go, guys.
Anyways, if you’ve been a reader of this blog for a while or know me personally, then this admission might surprise you. Why? Because I GEEK THE F*CK OUT over anything anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology related. I want to know how ALL the things in my body work, and how I can optimize their functioning! And the concept of choosing skin products and using them in a particular order based on their synergy with of the pH of my skin pushes every nerdy button in my body! So I consider myself very, very, unfashionably late to this skin party soiree. (Side note– just because I love chemistry doesn’t mean I was any good at it in school. Sigh.)
Medical disclaimer check-in (sorry, just covering my bases!)– I do not have clinical study data to support this theory, so please do your own research and ask the appropriate providers before hanging your hat on this pH stuff.
So, let’s get down to the real reason I’m posting today– squalane oil! My skin is considered “dehydrated”. Apparently, this is different from “dry”. You can read more about that from my new favorite blog on skincare, SimpleSkincareScience. Also, like probably many people in this country, I tend to over-clean my face with products that can strip vital moisture from my face (uh, yeah- like that weird blue face wash for men I’ve been using). Some researchers and physicians have expressed that doing this may actually be behind the reason us-combination-skin folks are suffering. Our skin might be overcompensating for the lack of moisture by over-producing oil, typically in that T-Zone area.
Great, 38 year old wrinkles AND break-outs. Just what I wanted!
I’m not sure how I stumbled upon the “Korean Skincare” concept, tbh. Pinterest? Probs. But the most basic breakdown is that is involves MANY steps– cleansing (often twice with both an oil and additional gentle cleanser), followed by a series of products that have specific jobs to do on your skin. These products are usually layered in a fashion of lowest pH to highest, avoiding mixing certain active ingredients with others as to avoid potential irritation and also ensure better bioavailability and delivery. There are usually a.m. and p.m. routines, even alternating day routines. And yes– oil. On your face.
When I began reading about the idea of putting ANY oil on my face, I was more than a bit hesitant. I’ve read enough from people that love slathering coconut oil all over their face, to only then see the comments beneath the declaration from other users exclaiming that it broke their skin out like a 13 year old, coming straight from gym class. I’ll stick to cooking with it; thanks.
Also, I’ve read that these oils typically just “sit” on your face and very little is absorbed.
But squalane oil is, in theory, different. And thus far, has only HELPED clear my skin AND stay hydrated. We’ll discuss more about why that might be below.
What is Squalane Oil?
There are different categories and sub-catergories of oils, as you may know from many of my nutrition related posts. I can talk about fats, oils, and protein chains for way longer than someone at a party would probably like to. They fascinate me.
Anyways, saturated and unsaturated. Beneath the unsaturated heading, are mono- and poly- saturated fats/oils. Unsaturated tend to be less stable, meaning they can oxidize more rapidly, producing free radicals. Free radicals may damage or disrupt living cells– sometimes this a good thing, like when your body is trying to fight something off. And often it’s a bad thing, as it can damage the good, healthy cells. A better, more comprehensive explanation can be found here.
Unfortunately, for your skin– free radicals are usually not good a good thing. Too much exposure to them can potentially contribute to signs of aging, amongst other and more serious conditions.
But squalane oil is here to help!
According to one source, SqualAne (I capitalized the “A” for differentiation from its derivative, SqualEne) oil is a “water-soluble, 100% saturated hydrocarbon found naturally on the skin. It has a very high emollience, is an exceptional hydrator and can prevent ongoing loss of hydration that impairs dermal suppleness. Squalane is non-comedogenic and is suitable for all skin types. It can also be applied to hair to increase heat protection, add shine, and reduce breakage potential.”
That means that this oil should theoretically not cause break outs, and is absorbed quickly in the skin (so doesn’t leave you looking like a grease bomb as some oils that just sit on the surface might). In fact, researchers have measured the skin absorption rate of squalane to be 2mm per second!
Where does this stuff come from?
Squalane oil is actually a derivative of a less stable unsaturated oil, called SqualEne (note the “E”). But in the hydrogenation process, squalene becomes 100% saturated and stable, which keeps it from spoiling quickly like many unsaturated oils on the shelf these days. Okay, so if SqualAne comes from SqualEne, where does SqualEne come from?
I feel like that three year old you know that keeps asking, “and then what? and then what?”.
SqualEne is found in abundance in oddly… shark livers. Huh? Yep! But don’t freak out. Most companies now acquire theirs from plants, like olives.
Where Can I Buy These Unicorn Tears?
I am crazy about a brand called, ‘The Ordinary’. The Ordinary’s parent company is called Deceim. Their products are beyond inexpensive (mostly under $10!), and I like the customization approach they offer. They are BIG proponents of this whole pH skincare ideology. I have recently purchased a number of their serums, and yes– their 100% plant derived Squalane oil! You can purchase this dream cream… oops, I mean oil… here.
How Do I Use Squalane Oil?
Put it on everything. Even your avocado. Just kidding, that would be too #basic. I cleanse my face with a very gentle wash, like this one. Then, I put on my water based serums, like Niacinamide + Zinc . And thennn, I put on the Squalane oil! I also find that it is great on my eyes and lips before I go to bed. Our house has very dry heat, so I try mitigate this with extra moisturizer at night.
Have y’all ever tried Squalane oil? Thoughts? What are some of your fav face products? Remember, no judging! Leave a comment and let me know! Would love to hear!
Last thing, I promise. Last Fall, I decided to commit, or maybe should I say “recommit”, myself to blogging. I began this website, as well as my health coaching business, almost 3 years ago! And while my passion for creating a healthy, creative, happy life (#LifeInColor) never waned, my priority for SHARING through this medium has certainly had its ebbs and flows. There are a couple reasons for this, although not important…and also not very exciting or dramatic. Because what IS important is I’ve been bursting at the seams since my brand relaunch with content to share with y’all! It also means I am bringing back a monthly (for now) newsletter! So, please subscribe if you’d like more content, recipes, workouts, and basically all of my favorite ways to CREATE A LIFE IN COLOR!
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