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How Sugarcane-Derived Squalane Helps Protect Marine Ecosystems

Our mission has always been efficacy without compromise. That’s why we say The Biossance Way is More Beautiful. Our skincare gives you your healthiest, most radiant and hydrated skin ever without harming the environment.

Our superhero ingredient, sugarcane-derived squalane, not only mimics your body’s natural moisture, it actually helps protect fragile marine ecosystems by saving 2 million sharks annually.

How Our Squalane Saves Sharks

For generations, beauty products were fortified with squalene—an exceptional moisturizer naturally found in human skin—at the cost of millions of sharks, harvested for their squalene-rich livers. Scientists at our parent company, Amyris, discovered how to engineer a similar substance—squalane—from fermenting sustainable sugarcane and yeast. 

This new, ethically-sourced, vegan squalane is a molecular match for the moisture found in our skin. Our squalane is purer, more stable, effective, and sustainable than shark squalene. Even better: We can make as much as the world needs while saving 2 million sharks from slaughter every year. .

It would take three adult sharks to provide the equivalent amount of squalene needed for ten bottles of 100% Squalane Oil. Biossance eliminates reliance on sharks and can produce the world’s yearly supply of squalane using only 1 sq km of land without requiring irrigation, addressing the world’s needs without depleting the planet.

Why are Sharks Important?

Sharks play an important role in maintaining the delicately balanced ecosystems that keep our oceans healthy. As apex predators, they help remove weak and sick animals while keeping balance among competing species to help ensure biodiversity.

They also shift their prey’s spatial habitat—the area where a species feeds or resides—protecting seagrasses and coral reefs from overgrazing. For example, tiger sharks have been shown to prevent sea turtles from overgrazing seagrass beds, making healthy shark populations critical to the structure and function of these key marine ecosystems.

In addition, large fish like sharks are effective carbon sinks, reducing the amount of carbon oxide released into Earth’s atmosphere. Big fish such as sharks are about 10 to 15 percent carbon. When they die in the ocean, all that carbon gets sequestered as their bodies sink to the sea floor


What Would Happen if There Were No Sharks?

Many shark populations have declined by as much as 90 percent due to overfishing, climate change, and habitat loss. Areas where shark populations have declined have seen a range of negative consequences. By taking sharks out of the coral reef ecosystem, larger predatory fish proliferate, feeding on the herbivores. With fewer plant-eating fish to feed on it, microalgae expands, out-competing coral and shifting the ecosystem to one of algae dominance, affecting the survival of the reef system.

In the North Atlantic, for example, populations of 11 large sharks have declined to the point where they can no longer perform their ecological role as top predators. The effects of this catastrophic loss has cascaded through the ecosystem. With shark populations dwindling, there are more cownose rays. These rays eat bivalves such as clams, scallops, and oysters. The overpopulation of cownose rays has caused a century-old scallop fishery to collapse and also led to a decline in clam populations.  

Even worse, bivalves such as scallops and clams work like a swimming pool filter, cleaning the ocean of algae. Without them, coastal environments could choke with uncontrolled algae blooms. This chain reaction demonstrates just how important it is to protect sharks.

How You Can Help

In addition to innovating our vegan squalane, we’ve teamed up with Oceana, the world’s largest policy-focused marine conservation organization. Oceana has scored key victories for sharks by convincing lawmakers to ban shark fin trade in the US and working with governments worldwide to reduce ocean plastics. You can support their work by donating to Oceana directly, or by making a round-up donation during checkout on our website.

You can also take direct action by avoiding shark products, choosing sustainable seafood, avoiding single-use plastic, and upcycling used packaging. 

Christine Tusher
Christine Tusher Writer and expert
As a lifestyle writer and journalist, I love sharing my passion for ocean conservation and obsession with clean beauty. I’ve tried almost every trend and ingredient, and Biossance’s science-backed formulas are the only ones that consistently calm my reactive skin and make it smoother, clearer, and healthier. I’m so excited to be on this journey of skincare innovation with Biossance, and to share it with you!

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