Is Squalene Safe for Acne Skin?

by Samantha Armer ; Updated September 28, 2017

Keeping skin clear

close-ups beauty woman face image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from

Squalene, which is obtained olive oil, rice bran and amaranth, is used in cosmetics and skin care products with claims about advantages to your skin's health, including curing acne and delaying the products of lines as well as other signs of aging.

What is squalene

According to the World Health Organization, it is a naturally occurring substance found in humans, plants and animals. It is used in a variety of foods, cosmetics, over the counter medications and health supplements, as well as pharmaceutical products and vaccines.

Use in skin products

Squalene has antioxidant properties and antioxidants may protect your cells from the damaging effect of free radicals. Free radicals can prematurely age the skin. However, as extracted from the original source, it is not stable so a hydrogenation process is applied to create squalane which has a more stable form which is preferred for use in skin care products.


The presence of squalane in cosmetics and other skin care can help protect the skin from drying out and also creates a barrier against ultraviolet rays, which can aid in the appearance of aging.


There is some evidence that squalene is a factor in the production of acne; when doing a chemical analysis of the sebum, which is a pimple causing agent found in the skin, there is a noted presence of squalene, though not a refined version as one would find in skin care products.

Assessing use

Most of the information on available on the web touts the use of squalane to gain clear skin; the rest of the information is highly scientific and has not strictly addressed the benefits of this product as a beneficial agent for skin concerns. Overall it seems a perfectly safe, if potentially ineffective additive which does not seem to cause acne but that could help with the appearance of the skin.

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About the Author

Samantha Armer has experience as a doula, childbirth preparation teacher, and organizer for non-profit events. She holds an undergraduate degree - dual major of comparative religion and women's studies, from Hunter College in New York City; and a certificate in maternal and child health from Boston University's School of Public Health.