The importance and perspective of plant-based squalene in cosmetology

J Cosmet Sci. Jan-Feb 2013;64(1):59-66.


Squalene is a highly unsaturated hydrocarbon from triterpenoid family, discovered as a major component of the liver oil of certain varieties of deep sea sharks. In the interest of protecting biodiversity, raw materials of animal origin must be replaced by alternative sources that respect our environment. Squalene is widely present as a component of the unsaponifiable fraction of vegetable oils (i.e., olive oil, amaranth oil). Amaranth oil seems to be the key source of squalene. Amaranth grains contains 7-7.7% lipids, and these lipids are extremely valuable because of the presence of ingredients like squalene, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E as tocopherols, tocotrienols, and phytosterols, which are not seen together in other common oils. In human skin physiology, squalene is not only used as an antioxidant, moisturizer, and material for topically applied vehicle, but is also used in treating skin disorders like seborrheic dermatitis, acne, psoriasis, or atopic dermatitis. Further studies on alternative sources are needed to explore the utility of squalene for treating skin.

MeSH terms

  • Amaranthus / chemistry*
  • Cosmetics
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Molecular Structure
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*
  • Squalene / chemistry*


  • Cosmetics
  • Plant Oils
  • Squalene