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Squalane is a popular ingredient in skin care products because it helps keep the skin moisturized and hydrated. Most people can use it without any problems, but a few might have an allergic reaction to it. (1)
Allergic reactions to squalane can vary in severity and may present as skin irritation with signs such as redness, itching, or swelling.
If you experience any of these symptoms while using a product with squalane as an ingredient, it’s ideal to stop using it and talk with a professional to learn how to manage the allergy.
Read further to learn more.
Squalane is a natural ingredient found in the skin’s oil. It is commonly used in cosmetics.
You may wonder if you are allergic to squalane. According to a report from the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, squalane is generally safe and not known to cause significant irritation or allergies. So, squalane allergy is pretty uncommon. (2)
In a study with 20 subjects where squalane was used for moisturizing the lips, the subjects showed negative responses for any kind of sensitization or allergy.
Another study with 240 participants supported this conclusion, as after using an eye pack containing 16.6% w/w squalane, the participants had negative responses for any allergic reaction.
However, in a separate study where a product containing 20.0% w/w squalane was used, a very small number of participants reported a 2+ rating for skin reaction on a scale of 0-4. This was because they experienced skin redness or erythema. (2)
According to experts, squalane is not a primary irritant. Even if it does have any allergic or sensitizing potential, (2) it is very low, and its symptoms may include:
- Skin redness
- Skin irritation
To check if you’re allergic to squalane, do a patch test:
- Apply a small amount of squalane to clean, dry skin.
- Cover it and leave it for 24 hours.
- Check for redness, itching, swelling, or a rash.
- If any discomfort occurs, you may be allergic to it, so consult a dermatologist.
The skin benefits of squalane include: (3)
- Emollient: Squalane is readily absorbed by the skin and provides deep hydration, all while restoring skin health without leaving an oily residue.
- Skin hydration: Squalane can aid in improving skin hydration by reducing water loss. Research has shown that squalane can enhance the skin barrier function and moisture levels.
- Antioxidant effects: Squalane has an antioxidant activity that helps safeguard the skin from oxidative stress caused by harmful factors such as sunlight exposure.
- Antitumor activities: Research suggests that squalane has protective effects against certain skin cancer-causing agents.
How common is squalane allergy?
Squalane allergy is relatively rare, but it can occur in sensitive individuals.
Can squalane allergy cause severe reactions?
Severe allergic reactions to squalane are rare but possible.
Can I use squalane if I have a known allergy to squalene?
If you are allergic to squalene, it’s best to avoid squalane as well.
Is squalane allergy forever?
Allergies can change over time.
Can squalane allergy be prevented?
The best prevention is to avoid products containing squalane.
Squalane is generally well tolerated, but some individuals may develop an allergic reaction to it. Allergic symptoms can range from mild skin irritation to severe reactions.