The global squalene market is expected projected to reach USD 202 million by 2028, at a CAGR of 6.3%, between 2023 and 2028, according to MarketsandMarkets’ latest report [1]. Its size was estimated at USD 141 million in 2022.

Cosmetic industry drives squalene demand growth

Squalene is a natural emollient and moisturiser that is used in various end-use industries including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food and others.

As a result of its striking resemblance to the skin’s natural sebum, it makes a fantastic ingredient for skincare products. It aids in moisture retention, avoiding dryness and keeping the suppleness of skin. The cosmetics segment is estimated to be the largest end-use industry of the squalene market during the forecast period.

Squalene has antioxidant properties, which can help protect the skin from oxidative stress and free radical damage. This makes it a valuable ingredient in anti-aging skincare products, as it can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Increasing demand for cosmetic products specially skin and hair care products is expected to fuel the demand for squalene in cosmetics end-use industry.

Asia-Pacific is fastest growing market

Europe accounted for the largest market share for squalene, in terms of value, in 2022, with North America being the second-largest market. However, Asia-Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing market over the period, with a rising demand from the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.

Biosynthetic squalene is projected to register the highest CAGR

In the past, the traditional source of squalene, shark liver oil, has faced restrictions due to concerns about overfishing and the conservation of shark populations. Some regions have imposed bans or limitations on the extraction of squalene from shark liver oil. Several regulatory bodies have imposed restrictions such as fixed quotas for shark fishing, which, in turn, has resulted in supply shortage of shark liver and, thereby squalene. These restrictions are expected to remain strictly enforced during the forecast period.

As a consequence, the offer of vegetable squalene has grown steadily, however, according to the report, vegetable oils only contain very low squalene quantities and tons of olives and amaranth are therefore required to produce a small quantity of squalene. This has led to high squalene retail prices and creates new opportunity for the players to come up with new technologies to develop squalene from alternative sources. Sugarcane and other sugar-containing biomaterials are identified as the sources of producing squalane (hydrogenated squalene).

An environmentally friendly substitute for conventional sources of squalene is biosynthetic squalene. The need for materials obtained responsibly has increased as environmental and social issues become more prominent.

Squalene can be produced by biosynthesis without having an adverse effect on the environment. All these factors are expected to drive the demand for biosynthetic sourced squalene during the forecast period. In addition, biosynthetic production allows for better control over the quality and purity of squalene. Manufacturers can ensure that the product meets specific quality standards, making it attractive to industries like cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.