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Squalene and tretinoin are two very commonly used skin care ingredients that are famous for their skin benefits. While squalene is a natural lipid that is found in the skin and is mainly known as a moisturizer, tretinoin is derived from vitamin A and is used for the treatment of various skin disorders. (1)(2)
It is very important to understand the differences and the benefits of both of these ingredients before you decide which one to include in your skin care routine.
Continue reading to learn more about squalene and tretinoin.
|Main purpose||Moisturizing the skin||Treating various skin conditions|
|Suitability for skin type||Suitable for all skin types||Recommended for aged or oily skin|
|Possible benefits||Hydrates skin and keeps it nourished||Stimulates the production of collagen to reduce wrinkles and can help resolve acne issues|
|Availability||Easily available over the counter as an ingredient in many products||Available only after a doctorâs prescription or recommendation|
|Side effects||Generally, well tolerated||Dryness, redness, and peeling of the skin|
|Guidelines for use||Can be used in your everyday skin care routine||Requires a doctorâs consultation and opinion|
Consider these factors so you can decide which product is made for you.
Squalene is an ingredient that is considered good for all types of skin, including sensitive skin and oily skin because it is nonirritating and gentle and does not clog the pores. (1)
Tretinoin, on the other hand, is more useful in those who have acne-prone skin because of its properties that help combat acne. (2) It is usually given with antibiotics as it works by unclogging the pores, allowing antibiotics to enter the pores and kill the acne-causing bacteria. (3)
Tretinoin might not be preferred by those who have dry skin or sensitive skin because it can be potentially irritating and drying in nature. (3)
The purpose of using a specific skin care product is an important factor in deciding what ingredient you must look for.
Both tretinoin and squalene are ingredients that you can use for aged or mature skin, but if you have to choose one, then tretinoin might be the winner because it is specifically made to look after signs of aging, which include wrinkles, fine lines, and uneven skin tone.
Unfortunately, tretinoin can cause a lot of adverse effects, which include dryness of the skin, redness, and scaling. The side effects are mainly seen when you first start the treatment, when you are new to this ingredient, or when it is used in high doses for prolonged durations. (3)
Therefore, follow the instructions when you’re using tretinoin, introduce it gradually, and do not use it in high doses initially.
Squalene is naturally found in the skin. So, it is well tolerated when compared to tretinoin, and it does not have a lot of side effects.
Tretinoin is a prescription medication and therefore requires a doctor’s note or recommendation (5), whereas squalene is available over the counter in a lot of skin care products and can be very easily incorporated into your skin care regimen without a doctor’s prescription.
Note: Always remember that if you are using prescription-strength or high doses of tretinoin, you should do so under the guidance of a dermatologist because of the possible side effects. (3)
Squalene is a naturally existing substance found in shark liver, olives, and rice bran. It has tons of benefits for your skin and safeguards it from damage. (6)
Squalene has moisturizing properties that help maintain the softness of the skin without leaving any greasy residue. It maintains optimal hydration of the skin.
Squalene can also be useful in reducing skin irritation or redness, thereby making it advantageous for people who suffer from disorders that might lead to such symptoms. (1)
Squalene is a valuable product with not a lot of side effects, and it’s pretty safe to use by the general public and all skin types.
Tretinoin, also known as all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), is a medication derived from vitamin A. It is generally used topically to treat various skin conditions.
Tretinoin binds to retinoic acid receptors (RARs) and retinoid X receptors (RXRs), which helps regulate cell differentiation and turnover. It reduces inflammation, promotes collagen production, and enhances the shedding of skin cells, leading to improvements in acne and photoaging. (2)
Can You Use Squalene and Tretinoin Together?
Yes, both these ingredients can be used together because squalene has moisturizing properties that can help keep your skin hydrated and tretinoin will help target various skin problems and improve skin texture.
However, it is best that you first talk to a dermatologist about how to incorporate multiple skin care ingredients in your routine, especially if one of them is tretinoin because of its possible side effects.
Can squalene cause irritation?
Squalene is generally well tolerated and unlikely to cause irritation.
Does tretinoin cause skin sensitivity?
Tretinoin can cause skin sensitivity, especially at high concentrations.
Is squalene suitable for all skin types?
Yes, squalene is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
Can tretinoin be used for acne treatment?
Yes, tretinoin is commonly used for treating acne.
How long does it take to see results with tretinoin?
Visible results with tretinoin can take several weeks to months of consistent use.
Can squalene be used alone as a moisturizer?
Yes, squalene can be used as a moisturizer by itself or mixed with other products.
Can squalene and tretinoin be used simultaneously?
Yes, they can be used together, but it’s crucial to follow proper application guidelines and consult a professional if needed.
Squalene and tretinoin are both valuable ingredients in skin care, each offering unique benefits. Squalene provides moisturization and protection, while tretinoin helps with antiaging and acne treatment.
Both can be used effectively in a skin care routine, but it’s important to follow proper guidelines, start with low concentrations, and consult a professional if needed.