The importance of squalene cannot be underestimated: scientists have discovered that this compound plays a key role in protecting our skin, because it helps reduce water loss (moisturising property) and acts as a powerful antioxidant. Its chemical structure is similar to that of vitamin A, and can therefore effectively protect our skin from UV rays, hence preventing the onset of sun damage. Moreover, when squalene comes in contact with water or other fluid, it releases oxygen which stimulates the regeneration of skin cells (anti-ageing effect).
For all these reasons, squalene is one of the chief components of cosmetics. As mentioned previously, it is also a popular supplement, taken to help our immune system. Many believe that squalene, present in many vegetable oils, is what makes the Mediterranean diet so effective in lowering the risk of cancer.
The most important thing to note is that plants have an abundance of squalene, so it is unnecessary to endanger sharks to extract if from their liver. It occurs naturally in extra virgin olive oil (at levels ranging between 200 and 1200 mg per kg oil). Some companies extract squalene from olive oil or olive residues to produce capsules (as a food supplement) or for cosmetic use. Squalene-rich products in brief, can delay skin ageing, keeping it soft and supple.