Squalane vs. Hyaluronic Acid: Which Is Better?

Squalane vs. Hyaluronic Acid: Which Is Better?

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With so many incredible skincare ingredients in the market, it can get overwhelming to decide which ones you should include in your skincare routine.

Among all the holy grails you can find, two of the top choices to nourish and hydrate skin are squalane and hyaluronic acid.

Both can be found in many skincare products as they effectively moisturize skin and keep it soft and smooth.

But are they the same? When comparing squalane vs hyaluronic acid, could one be better than the other?

And which one should you choose?

a close-up image of a beautiful girl with freckles applying hyaluronic acid serum on her face

We give you the answers to all these questions and more.

By the end of this read, you’ll learn the difference between squalane and hyaluronic acid, their benefits, and how you can include them in your beauty regimen.

What Is Squalene?

Healthy skin is moisturized skin. Almost all beauty experts will tell you that. When your skin is healthy, it’s naturally moist and plump with excellent elasticity.

That’s why beauty products that nourish the skin and help it retain moisture are some of the most popular ones in the market.

This is also exactly why ingredients like hyaluronic acid and squalane are so popular.

But we can’t talk about squalane without first talking about squalene. Yes, squalane (pronounced “skwa layn”) and squalene (pronounced “skwa leen”) are different.

Squalene is a lipid naturally produced by the human body and makes up roughly 13% of our skin’s own sebum. It can also be found in many oils like fish oil, shark liver oil, and olive oil.

As part of the skin, its primary purpose is to strengthen the skin barrier and help keep the skin moisturized. It’s an essential part of the body’s natural skincare.

However, as we age, our bodies will begin to produce less squalene. This usually happens after the age of 30.

Because of this, our skin can become susceptible to signs of aging and cell damage from environmental triggers and free radicals.

So it can help to give the skin a squalene supplement. Unfortunately, as an ingredient, it’s not very stable and has a very unpredictable shelf life.

The Difference Between Squalene and Squalane

This is where squalane comes in. Squalane is the hydrogenated form of squalene, making it a more stable form of the molecule.

So squalane is essentially squalene that is more stable and has a better shelf life, with all the skincare benefits of squalene. That’s why this ingredient is found in most beauty creams, oils, and serums.

a young girl with hair wrapped in white towel is applying facial cream with squalane

Five Benefits of Squalane

Squalane offers a host of benefits. Here are some of the ones you can enjoy when you use this ingredient regularly.

Hydrating

One of the things squalane does best is keeping skin moisturized and hydrated. It strengthens the skin’s barrier and helps it retain water and lock in moisture.

Emollient

To supplement its moisturizing effects, squalane is also an emollient that helps soften skin while reducing flakiness and rough spots.

Antioxidant

Squalane is an antioxidant that helps protect the skin against environmental damage like UV rays and pollution. It also helps prevent the signs of aging.

Combats Acne

Squalane is good for acne-prone skin. It can treat acne, has anti-inflammatory properties, and can help regulate oil production to prevent further breakouts.

Wound Healing

Squalane helps repair tissues and aids in wound healing by promoting immune cell response.

This means faster wound healing processes for scrapes, cuts, and even hyperpigmentation from inflammatory acne.

What Is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid, on the other hand, is not actually an acid despite having acid in its name. It is a glycosaminoglycan or sugar molecule that occurs naturally in the body.

As a humectant, hyaluronic acid helps draw water into the skin and retain it. Like a sponge, it absorbs and holds in water up to a thousand times its own weight!

Because of this, hyaluronic acid is the perfect product to keep skin hydrated and fully nourished. 

When applied as an ingredient in products, it can penetrate deeply into the skin to bind with moisture and ensure your skin stays plump and hydrated.

Plus, because it is so gentle, hyaluronic acid can be used by all skin types, even sensitive skin.

What Are the Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid provides many benefits for the skin. These are some of the top ones:

Moisturizing

The primary benefit of hyaluronic acid is its ability to hydrate and moisturize the skin. It helps prevent water loss and keeps skin plump and supple.

Reduces Wrinkles

Because it’s excellent at retaining water, hyaluronic acid also helps keep fine lines and signs of aging at bay and combats dull skin.

Antibacterial and Wound Healing

Hyaluronic acid helps promote skin healing and tissue repair. It can also reduce scars and reduce bacteria growth.

Improves Skin Elasticity

When used in products like hyaluronic acid serum and oil, it can help promote collagen production to improve the texture of your skin, improve elasticity, and reduce any sagging.

Promotes Skin Health

Hyaluronic acid keeps the surface of the skin smooth and protected. It acts as a barrier on the skin and aids in protecting the skin against irritants and bacteria.

a young girl with hair in a neat pony tail is flexing her healthy and glowing skin after using squalane and hyaluronic acid

Squalane vs. Hyaluronic Acid

Now that you know all the benefits of each ingredient, is there a better choice for different skin types?

Both provide many similar benefits, but both work in different ways. That being said, one may be better for some than others.

So hyaluronic acid vs. squalane? Which is better for you?

Choosing the right one for you will depend on your skin type, beauty routine, and how your skin reacts to them.

Knowing that they work against various skin concerns will help you decide which to use and how you can include them in your daily routine.

Squalane or Hyaluronic Acid for Dry Skin?

Both squalane and hyaluronic acid work exceptionally well for dry skin. However, they can address this issue in different ways.

It’s important to understand what type of skin you have.

Dry skin is often flaky and irritated due to having too little oil. On the other hand, if your skin is dehydrated, it is due to a lack of water. 

If your skin is dry, squalane will help replenish the lack of moisture while reducing rough patches and flaking to make skin soft and smooth.

However, hyaluronic might be a better bet if your skin is dehydrated.

Hyaluronic acid helps your skin attract water, brings moisture into the skin, and keeps the skin hydrated.

Squalane and Hyaluronic Acid for Oily Skin?

On the flip side, which one is better for oily skin?

Again, both of them can work really well on oily skin. Again, it depends on your specific needs.

Squalane oil especially feels really good because despite being an oil, it’s not greasy. It can also help regulate oil production.

So if you want to hydrate with oil and help regulate the skin’s sebum production, squalane is a good bet. 

Hyaluronic can also be used on oily skin to help keep it hydrated. It’s gentle too so it won’t clog or irritate the skin. 

Both are good choices. You can try them both to see which works best for you.

Squalane and Hyaluronic for Acne-Prone Skin?

a young girl wearing white tank top is frowning at the camera because of acne

There’s no clear winner for this one.

Both ingredients are good for acne-prone skin and are gentle and mild enough for all types of skin. This would be a matter of product preference.

Another good idea is to use them both together!

Can You Use Hyaluronic Acid and Squalane Together?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes. You can definitely use squalane and hyaluronic together.

They are a powerhouse combination to keep skin soft, supple, and healthy.

Since they are both relatively milder than other acids and oils, you don’t have to worry about them clogging your pores or making your skin feel blotchy or heavy.

There is also a wide variety of products with these ingredients available, so you can mix and match until you find the perfect one for you.

How Do You Use Squalane and Hyaluronic Acid Together?

When using these two ingredients, do you use squalane or hyaluronic acid first? 

The best way to make the most of each of these ingredients is to use hyaluronic first. This will allow it to absorb deep into your skin and draw in water.

This should then be followed by squalane on top to strengthen the skin barrier and lock in moisture while preventing water loss.

What Are Some of the Best Hyaluronic Acid and Squalane Products?

There are so many good ones, but here are five of our favorites:

1. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Facial Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid 

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Face Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid for Extra Dry Skin, Fragrance Free,...
  • Packaging may vary: 1.7-ounce jar of Neutrogena Hydro Boost Daily gel-cream face moisturizer with hyaluronic acid instantly quenches extra-dry skin and keeps it looking...
  • The unique facial moisturizing gel-cream absorbs quickly, like a gel, but has the long-lasting, intense moisturizing power of a cream, for even extra dry skin. It boosts...
  • Gel cream for dry skin is formulated with hyaluronic acid, a hydrator recognized by dermatologists found naturally in the skin that binds to water and holds it within...

This lightweight moisturizer gel cream is lightweight, absorbs easily into the skin, and leaves it quenched and healthy.

2. L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum 

Sale
L’Oreal Paris 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum for Face with Vitamin C from Revitalift Derm...
  • Intensive hydrating 1.5 percent Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum for face with Vitamin C moisturizes skin instantly for dewy glow and visibly plumped skin; Reduces wrinkles and...
  • Instant relief for dry skin; This hyaluronic acid moisturizer for face deeply hydrates skin immediately; In 1 week, visibly plumps for younger looking skin that feels...
  • Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is a potent hydration-attracting molecule naturally found in the skin; This formulation combines low-molecular and high-molecular weight for...

This product has a fantastic concentration of hyaluronic acid and can fill wrinkles and plump skin for more youthful, elastic skin.

3. Innisfree Green Tea Seed Intensive Hydrating Serum 

innisfree Green Tea Seed Intensive Hydrating Serum, Face Treatment, 2.7 Fl Oz
  • A comforting, lighweight serum infused with innisfree's Green Tea Tri-tic ComplexTM to help hydrate and improve skin's moisture barrier.

Not only will this lightweight serum nourish your skin, but the green tea extract is a perfect antioxidant to protect it and help maintain moisture.

4. Minimalist Squalane 100% 

Minimalist Squalane 100% (Plant Derived) Super-Lightweight Face Oil | Improves Skin Hydration,...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT MOISTURISER: 100% lightweight Squalane sourced from olive oil. It prevents transepidermal water loss, restores suppleness, and elasticity of the skin....
  • POTENT FORMULA: Squalene (C30H50) is a major component of human sebum and the hydrolipid film. Squalene plays a key role in the healthy appearance of our skin and is also...
  • CONSUMER STUDY: 80% subjects noticed soft, silky, non-greasy skin in 2 weeks.; CLEAN BEAUTY: Formulated without the use of 6 toxic ingredients, commonly found in most...

This lightweight, 100% plant-derived product is gentle on the skin and restores skin elasticity and prevents water loss.

5. Kiehl’s Since 1851 Ultra Facial Cream 

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Ultra Facial Cream 0.95 Ounce Jar
  • Ultra Facial Cream 0.95 Ounce Jar.

This gentle daily moisturizer is formulated with squalane and glycerin to help restore the skin’s natural moisture. It feels good on the skin and doesn’t feel sticky or thick.

a young woman with hair wrapped in white towel and wearing bathrobe is applying hyaluronic acid serum before putting squalene cream

Frequently Asked Questions

Are squalane or hyaluronic acid exfoliants?

Squalane is not an exfoliant. And despite having acid in its name, hyaluronic acid is not an exfoliant either. Both function as moisturizers, not as exfoliants.

Can you mix hyaluronic and squalane?

You can use them both in your routine, but it’s not a good idea to mix them.

Using them in different steps or at different times of day will allow them to work better and help with skin issues more efficiently.

Your best bet is a hyaluronic acid cleanser or serum followed by a squalane oil. Just remember to apply squalane last to lock in water and moisture.

Which one is mostly used in skincare products?

They are both used in many skincare products.

Topical hyaluronic acid is a staple for providing moisture to the skin. And you’ll notice that there are so many products with squalane, like squalane cleanser, toner, or oils.

Hyaluronic Acid Plus Squalane: Perfect for Skincare!

Both of these powerhouse ingredients can provide amazing benefits to your skin.

You may choose only one, but together they will ensure nourished skin and prevent transepidermal water loss.

We highly recommend using products with these ingredients. They will always leave your skin feeling soft, supple, and smooth.

Do you love skincare products that complement each other? What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments.

Want to read more about our favorite skincare products? Check out these articles:

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