Lily Cole launches campaign against use of shark-derived ingredient

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Lily Cole launches campaign against use of shark-derived ingredient

Related tags: Skin, Department store

UK model Lily Cole has launched a campaign to highlight what she claims is the cruel and unethical killing of endangered sharks for squalene, an ingredient used in face and skin creams.

Cole, who is also known as an animal rights campaigner, is due to launch the campaign at the Haymarket Festival in the UK, this Thursday, when she is expected to give a presentation that will highlight the practices.

For many years the beauty industry has in the past sourced shark live oil to extract squalene from it, a substance produced in shark’s liver.

Squalene is known for its moisturisation properties

Squalene is one of the most common lipids produced in human skin. Primarily it is known for its moisturisation properties,  but is also marketed as having the ability to make the skin appear smoother and less wrinkled.

Although a variety of sharks are caught for the purpose of extracting squalene, the most sought after is the Gulper shark, a long slender dogfish, which usually grows up to about 3 feet in length and is found and in deeper water worldwide.

Like many species of shark, the Gulper has been classified as being ‘vulnerable by the IUCN since 2000, with over-fishing, low reproduction levels and implications from bycatch sourced as the main reasons for its demise.

Currently the oil is estimated to be one of the most expensive marine byproducts on the market, but despite this, deamand continues to be hight, particularly in regions such as Asia Pacific and the Middle East, which has led to a falling population worldwide.

Cole will be joined by Selfridge's creative director

Cole will be joined on the stage by Alannah Weston, the creative director of London-based department store Selfridges, who has already confirmed that its beauty department will be clearing its shelves of any product that contains or is linked to the sourcing of squalene.

Although many leading cosmetics makers, such as L’Oreal, Unilever and Procter & Gamble are said to have phased out the use of the substance in their formulations, Cole’s campaign is said to target a list of other manufacturers who have not made this step yet.

According to a report in the Sunday Times, cosmetics companies marketing products that contain squalene in Europe take advantages of EU regulation loop holes to enable them to continue selling such products.

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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