Michael Cera..Ve? Find Out The Truth


When it comes to skincare ingredients, there’s an overwhelming amount of options to choose from. But narrowing down the right ingredients for your skincare routine shouldn’t be complicated. At CeraVe, we’re here to help keep things simple. Our formulas are developed with dermatologists and include carefully-selected ingredients that are backed by science. One tried-and-true CeraVe ingredient is squalane oil–a key ingredient in our Hydrating Foaming Oil Cleanser. There are plenty of reasons why you might want to include this hydrating oil in your daily routine, and we’re breaking them down for you in this guide. Read on to discover the top squalane benefits, the difference between squalene vs. squalane, and our tips for choosing a skincare product that includes this powerhouse ingredient.

Facts About Squalane Oil in Skincare

  • Squalane is a naturally-occurring oil that’s used in skincare products for its hydrating and moisturizing benefits.
  • Squalane oil is the saturated form of squalene, which is a key component of sebum (your skin’s natural oils).
  • This ingredient has emollient properties that can help smooth and soften your skin.
  • Because it’s “non-comedogenic,” squalane oil won’t clog your pores. And, because it mimics your skin’s natural oils, it’s suitable for many skin types (including sensitive skin).
  • Squalane is often included as a moisturizing agent in skincare products for dry skin, mature skin, eczema, and psoriasis.

The Skincare Science Behind Squalane

Before diving into squalane’s benefits, let’s break down some key facts about this ingredient, beginning with the important distinction between squalane vs. squalene.


What is squalene?

Squalene (with an “e”) is a colorless, odorless liquid oil that’s classified as a polyunsaturated fat. This oily substance is naturally produced by your body’s sebaceous (oil) glands. It’s a key component of sebum, along with triglycerides, wax esters, and fatty acids. According to research, squalene makes up about 12% of the lipids (fats) that form human sebum.1 Sebum is essential for overall skin health because it helps lubricate your skin, allowing it to retain much-needed moisture.

Although your body produces squalene, research shows that this natural oil decreases with age (especially after age 30).2 This can contribute to dry, flaky skin that feels tight, itchy, or uncomfortable. Fortunately, it’s also possible to get squalene from external sources, such as your diet.


What is squalane oil?

Squalane (with an “a”) is the saturated form of squalene. According to the Cleveland Clinic, squalene (in its natural form) is more prone to oxidation.3 So, to make it suitable for use in skincare products, squalene is converted into a more stable form known as squalane. This process is known as hydrogenation.

Note: Originally, squalene oil was isolated from animal sources (specifically shark liver oil). However, due to ethical concerns, squalene is now predominantly sourced from lipid-rich plants (such as olives, amaranth, and grape seed). CeraVe uses 100% plant-derived squalane oil.


5 Benefits of Squalane Oil in Skincare

Squalane oil has numerous benefits that can help you achieve your skincare goals. Read on to explore some of the top squalane benefits for healthy-looking skin.


1. It’s an effective skin hydrator.

Adequate hydration is essential if you want your skin to look and feel its best. When applied topically, squalane oil can help improve skin hydration, reduce moisture loss, and help keep your skin from drying out. Using products with this ingredient regularly can help support supple, radiant, and youthful-looking skin.


2. It won’t clog your pores.

Squalane is technically an oil, which may cause some people to worry about whether it can trigger acne breakouts. However, squalane oil is non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog your pores or contribute to acne breakouts. Skincare formulas containing squalane often have a lightweight, non-greasy texture that’s suitable for use on oily skin and acne-prone skin.


3. It’s suitable for many skin types.

Because squalane oil mimics your skin’s natural oils, it’s generally well-tolerated by most skin types. Studies show that squalane may be a beneficial hydrating skincare ingredient for those with dry skin, eczema-prone skin, and sensitive skin prone to irritation.2,4


4. It can help soften and smooth your skin.

Squalane is a powerful emollient, which means it offers skin-smoothing and softening benefits. It is absorbed quickly and easily, without leaving behind an oily residue. These benefits can make squalane an excellent skincare ingredient for anyone with rough, uneven skin.


5. It may help improve the appearance of visible signs of aging.

Your skin is constantly exposed to environmental stressors that can cause free-radical damage and oxidative stress. This, in turn, may lead to visible signs of skin aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines, and rough texture. Formulas with hydrating squalane oil can help improve the appearance of some of these signs of aging. For this reason, you’ll often find squalane oil included as a staple ingredient in many skincare formulas to promote softer, more supple-looking skin.


CeraVe Products That Feature Squalane Oil

CeraVe’s squalane oil products are developed with dermatologists to reduce moisture loss and help restore your skin’s protective barrier. These products are also gentle on your skin, fragrance-free, and contain a blend of three essential ceramides (a key component of your skin’s natural barrier). Learn more about CeraVe’s skincare products with squalane oil below.


CeraVe Hydrating Foaming Oil Cleanser

If you’re looking for a cleanser for dry to very dry skin, try CeraVe Hydrating Foaming Oil Cleanser. This lightweight cleansing oil combines oil-based ingredients and surfactants to effectively cleanse your skin without leaving behind any greasy residue. Besides squalane oil, this cleanser is also formulated with beneficial ingredients like triglyceride, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides. The formula gently removes impurities without disrupting the skin barrier or leaving your skin feeling tight and stripped. It’s also easy to rinse, non-comedogenic, and suitable for use on sensitive skin, eczema-prone skin, and baby skin (3+ months).


How to use our Hydrating Foaming Oil Cleanser

This cleansing oil with squalane can be used as the first step in your daytime and nighttime skincare routine. To apply it, wet your skin with warm water and gently massage the product onto your skin. The lightweight texture should transform from an oil into a delicate foam. Next, rinse your face thoroughly and use a clean, soft towel to pat your skin dry.

Unlike traditional oil cleansers, this residue-free formula can be used alone as your primary cleanser—meaning you won’t need to cleanse again with a water-based cleanser (also known as “double cleansing”). After cleansing, continue with the rest of your skincare routine—this should always include a facial moisturizer with broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen (for daytime). Remember to always reapply sunscreen as directed throughout the day.


CeraVe Skin Renewing Day Cream

For visible signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles, we recommend CeraVe Skin Renewing Day Cream. In addition to squalane, it features encapsulated retinol and broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen—making this anti-aging moisturizer the perfect multitasker. When used as directed with other sun protection measures, this formula helps prevent sunburn and decreases the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging caused by the sun. Our squalane moisturizer can also help improve the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and rough texture for a more radiant-looking complexion.


How to use our Skin Renewing Day Cream

This day cream should be applied after cleansing (and any toners or serums, if your routine includes these products). Spread the cream onto your face, avoiding the eye area, at least 15 minutes before sun exposure. Like with any sunscreen product, it’s also important to reapply this formula at least every two hours for proper sun protection. And since no sunscreen fully protects your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, additional protective measures should be followed. This includes limiting time in the sun during peak hours (between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.) and wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses.


How To Use Squalane Oil in Your Skincare Routine

In general, skincare products with squalane oil should be applied starting with the lightest, thinnest formulas and ending with the heaviest, thickest formulas. However, the correct usage for squalane oil may vary depending on each specific product. For this reason, it’s important to read the instructions carefully before applying your squalane-containing products. If you have additional questions, consult a board-certified dermatologist. They can assess your skin and provide personalized recommendations on the best squalane oil products for your skin’s unique needs.

For help choosing the right products for your specific skin type and skin concerns, use our Find My Skincare Solution tool.

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