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SqualAne vs SqualEne: The Threat to Sharks Explained

The number of sharks found in our oceans has plunged by over 70 percent within the last 50 years. The number one reason for their disappearance: overfishing. In fact, overfishing is the only threat to 67 percent of all shark species.

Sharks’ role as apex predators makes healthy populations critical to thriving oceans, which is why it's our mission to end the use of shark-derived squalEne throughout the beauty industry. In honor of World Oceans Month, we’re diving deep into the differences between squalAne vs squalEne to explain the differences in ingredient origin, environmental impact, and the connection between sugarcane squalane and our mission to promote healthy, abundant oceans.

Why Are Sharks Targeted?

Sharks are fished for their meat, fins and oil-rich livers which are used to produce squalEne. This exceptional moisturizer is also produced naturally within human skin, making it plump, supple and moisturized. Unfortunately, we humans produce less squalene as we age, which is why the beauty industry has used shark squalEne as an emollient for centuries.

Deepwater sharks are disproportionately targeted as they are particularly rich in squalEne. This is especially problematic because these species reproduce slowly, making them particularly vulnerable to overfishing.

It takes about 3,000 sharks to produce one ton of squalEne. As a result, it’s estimated that 2.7 million sharks are poached each year for this purpose.

The Difference an “A” Makes

Our vegan, bio fermented squalAne provides a solution to this urgent problem by creating a superior alternative using sugarcane grown respectfully towards people and the planet.

This new, vegan squalAne is a molecular match for the moisture found in our skin. Our squalane is purer, more stable, and effective than shark squalAne and it doesn’t have the environmental impact of the other traditional alternative, olive-derived squalAne.

We believe that science is the key to solving the world’s sustainability challenges. We lead by example, using our pure sugarcane derived squalAne in every product we. In part because of our efforts, 82 percent of all squalane used by the cosmetic industry is now plant derived.

Ending Shark Sourced SqualEne

While our vegan squalAne helped to inspire a sea change within the beauty industry, our work to end the use of shark derived squalEne won’t be done until we’ve eliminated the use of this inhumane and irresponsible ingredient.

We’ve partnered with Oceana – the world’s largest policy-focused marine conservation nonprofit – to help end the use of shark-sourced squalEne. We support their efforts through round-up donations at checkout and through limited-edition product launches, such as our NEW Limited Edition Copper Peptide Rapid Plumping Serum. This special release includes our award-winning instant plumping serum packaged in a collectable, gift-sized turquoise bottle. Our bestselling formula includes multi-hyaluronic acid to maximize hydration and efficacy along with ectoin and polyglutamic acid to drench skin in hydration while improving the look of fine lines and wrinkles with scientifically proven copper peptides.

The best part: we donate 5 percent of proceeds to Oceana to support their marine conservation initiatives, which include global bans on shark fishing, regulation of overfishing, and establishment of marine protected zones in critical habitats worldwide.

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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