If you are wondering which is better for your skin, there is no conclusive answer as they both stand out as beneficial for most skin types.
So, the right product for you comes down to your personal choice. Read further to explore more about hyaluronic acid and squalane.
What Is Squalane, and How Does It Differ From Squalene?
Squalane is a hydrogenated form of squalene (a naturally occurring compound in the sebaceous glands of the human body). It is derived from animal and plant sources. (3)
Squalene is relatively unstable with a shorter shelf life and turns bad upon oxygen exposure. Therefore, using squalene in skin care products is not viable. For this reason, squalane is used directly in skin care products due to its longer shelf-life.
Additionally, squalane is technically an oil that doesn’t give an oily feel; it is antibacterial, noncomedonal, odorless, and safe for sensitive skin.
Even though squalane is a naturally occurring substance in the body, its production slows down after age 30, leading to dry skin. (3)
What Is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan that is naturally present in the eyes, joints, and skin. (6) It allows water to enter the skin and can carry 1,000 times its water weight; this makes hyaluronic acid a powerful humectant for skin hydration. (4)
The hyaluronic acid found in the skin declines with age. Reintroducing hyaluronic acid into your skin using skin care products delivers skin hydration, smooths out the skin, and diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
It is an excellent ingredient used in products for skin regeneration and has noticeable antiaging and moisturizing effects. (7)
Which Is Better: Squalane or Hyaluronic Acid?
It’s hard to conclude which is better between hyaluronic acid and squalane due to their diverse pros and cons. Therefore, what’s best for you depends on your skin type, preferences, concerns, and budget.
Here are some guidelines that can help you make the right choice:
- Use squalane for dry skin and hyaluronic acid for dry, dehydrated skin for additional plumpness and hydration. However, to lock in moisture and prevent its evaporation, there’s a need to apply moisturizer over hyaluronic acid.
- Use squalane for acne-prone, sensitive, or oily skin. It prevents pore clogging and irritation and provides moisturization. (3) Use a serum or hydrating toner before applying squalane for water-based hydration.
- Combining hyaluronic acid and squalane can be beneficial if your skin type is normal or combination, as they complement each other and deliver skin moisturization and balanced hydration.
- Squalane is an excellent detoxifier that contains powerful antioxidants, (8) similar to hyaluronic acid.
- Hyaluronic acid is best suited for oily skin in the summer due to its gel-like consistency. In contrast, the texture of squalane is creamy, and if you love gel-based moisturizers, try hyaluronic acid instead; otherwise, go for squalane. Using them together is also a good option.
Incorporating hyaluronic acid as a serum and toner and squalane as a moisturizer into your skin care routine is much more effective.
To know what works best for your skin, try the two and see how your skin reacts. Consult your skin care expert or dermatologist for personalized guidance.
Differences Between Squalane and Hyaluronic Acid
The following are the differences between squalane and hyaluronic acid.
Squalane is derived from a naturally occurring lipid in the skin cells known as squalene, which is also found in animals and plants. (5)
Hyaluronic acid is found naturally as a sugar molecule, especially in the connective tissues, skin, and joint fluid. (9)
Squalane is typically used as a moisturizer. (3) It locks in the skin moisture and prevents its evaporation. It restores the natural barrier function of the skin.
Squalane provides skin hydration at a cellular level with the help of essential fatty acids, which protect and nourish the skin. Its antioxidant properties attack free radicals and prevent oxidative damage. (5)
Hyaluronic acid attracts water molecules and plumps and replenishes the skin’s moisture content. It improves overall skin quality, including texture and hydration, enhances skin elasticity, and reduces wrinkles and fine lines. (2)
Squalane is noncomedonal/noncomedogenic, preventing acne and clogging of pores, and it is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive and oily skin. (3)
Hyaluronic acid is noncomedogenic. However, some people who are allergic to it may experience inflammation or irritation, but it is generally suitable for most skin types.
Squalane doesn’t oxidize when exposed to light or air; thus, it is stable (5) with a longer shelf life and has no special storage requirements.
You can use squalane alone, mix it with other active ingredients or oils, or use it as a carrier oil for essential oils.
You can use hyaluronic acid alone or mix it with other moisturizing/hydrating ingredients or as a delivery system for active ingredients such as retinol and vitamin C.
Squalane is a lightweight oil that is quickly absorbed by the skin and does not leave any sticky residue or grease on the skin. It doesn’t interfere with your makeup application and gives a silky-smooth finish. (3)
Hyaluronic acid’s texture is clear and gel-like and is also quickly absorbed by the skin; it does not make your skin feel heavy or tacky. Layering hyaluronic acid with other products can make your skin relaxed and refreshed.
How to Use Squalane
To use squalane, follow these steps:
- Cleanse your face and put serums first.
- Take 3–4 drops of squalane oil on your fingertips and massage it on your face.
- Apply a moisturizer, especially one with SPF 30–60, in the morning.
You can mix squalane with your moisturizer or other products. Squalane is effective when combined with retinol, AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs.
How to Use Hyaluronic Acid
To use hyaluronic acid, follow these steps:
- Cleanse your face with a mild cleanser and pat it dry.
- Take 3–4 drops of hyaluronic acid serum on your fingertips and gently massage it on your face.
- Give it a minute to be absorbed into your skin.
- Apply your preferred moisturizer to lock in the moisture. You can also use a hyaluronic acid moisturizer rather than a separate moisturizer and serum.
- Do this twice daily, morning and night.
Can I use squalane and hyaluronic acid together?
Yes, you can use hyaluronic acid and squalane together by mixing the two or by layering them on your skin one after the other.
If you are layering the two, put hyaluronic acid first, as it attracts water to the skin, followed by squalane, as it creates a barrier that holds moisture and stops its evaporation.
Is squalane vegan?
Yes, squalane is vegan as it is plant derived. Soyabean oil, olives, peanut, rice bran, wheat germ, and sugarcane are some vegan sources of squalane. (14)
Both hyaluronic acid and squalane are excellent skin care ingredients that moisturize and hydrate your skin, but they function differently. Hyaluronic acid attracts water into the skin, and squalane locks it in.
You can use these ingredients together or prefer one depending on your skin’s needs. Conducting a patch test before using any of the two is imperative. Consult your dermatologist for any concerns or questions.
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- Ghatge AS, Ghatge SB. The effectiveness of injectable hyaluronic acid in the improvement of the Facial Skin Quality: A systematic review. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10082573/. Published April 4, 2023.
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