- This Moisturizing Ingredient Might Just Save Your Winter Skin
- Lanolin Uses
- 7 Lanolin benefits for the skin
- What is lanolin?
- Benefits of lanolin for skin
- How to use lanolin for hair
- Other uses of lanolin
- Why should you use lanolin?
- What Is Lanolin + 4 Interesting Cream/Liquid Uses
- What is Lanolin?
- Mechanism of Action
- 1) Dry & Damaged Skin
- Nipple Cream
- Chapped Lips
- 2) Dry Eyes
- 3) Anal Fissures
- 4) Hair Quality
- Limitations and Caveats
- Lanolin Side Effects
- User Experiences
- Lanolin: the basics
- Uses of lanolin in body and skincare
- Lanolin anhydrous vs lanolin oil
- Additional reading
- Rough Science . New Zealand . Shakers . Hand Cream | PBS
Lanolin is an ointment- material isolated from wool that is sheared from sheep. Lanolin can be separated into Lanolin Oil, a liquid phase, and Lanolin Wax a solid phase.
Heating Lanolin with water (hydrolysis) produces a mixture of organic acids (Lanolin Acid) and a mixture of organic alcohols (Lanolin Alcohol).
Acetylated Lanolin, Hydrogenated Lanolin, and Hydroxylated Lanolin result when acetate, hydrogen and hydroxyl groups are added to Lanolin, respectively. Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol results when acetate is added to Lanolin Alcohol.
Lanolin and its related ingredients are widely used in the formulation of cosmetics and personal care products. These ingredients can be found in baby products, skin care, shaving, manicuring, hair care, suntan and sunscreen products, as well as eye, lip and facial makeup.
Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products?
Lanolin and its related ingredients moisturize the skin, hair and nails. These ingredients act as a lubricants on the skin surface, which gives the skin a soft, smooth appearance. Lanolin helps to form emulsions and blends well with nearly all other substances used in cosmetics and personal care products. Lanolin also possesses adhesive characteristics.
Lanolin is derived from the sheep sebaceous gland. The raw material isolated from sheep's wool is also called Adeps lanae, wool wax, wool fat or wool grease. Lanolin aids sheep in shedding water from their coats.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits Lanolin to be used in Over-the-Counter (OTC) drugs that protect the skin, and in OTC drugs that protect the anorectal area. Lanolin is also permitted to be used as an opthalmic emollient in OTC ophthalmic drug products. In food, FDA permits the use of Lanolin as an softener in chewing gum.
Lanolin is also approved for use as an indirect food additive. For example, it may be used as a component of cellophane that comes in contact with food. The safety of Lanolin and lanolin-derived ingredients has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel.
The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Lanolin, Lanolin Oil, Lanolin Wax, Lanolin Alcohol, Acetylated Lanolin, Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol, Hydrogenated Lanolin and Hydroxylated Lanolin were safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products.
In 2003, the CIR Expert Panel considered available new data on Lanolin and the other Lanolin-derived ingredients and reaffirmed the above conclusion.
CIR Safety Review: The CIR Expert Panel noted that Lanolin and related ingredients, as a group, are used extensively in cosmetics and personal care products, as well as in many other consumer products, and there has been ample opportunity for a large proportion of the population to be exposed to some of these materials.
Tests with Acetylated Lanolin, its related cosmetic ingredients, and with numerous cosmetics and personal care products containing these materials attest to the safety of these ingredients used in cosmetics and personal care products. The acute toxicity of these materials is low and tests for skin sensitization are negative.
Extensive clinical experience indicates that there is a low incidence of sensitivity to these materials among exposed persons. This appears to be mainly due to the Lanolin Alcohols. There was no evidence of photosensitization. However, comedogenic effects, or the formation of pimples, from cosmetics and personal care products containing Lanolin and related materials have been reported.
FDA: Link to Code of Federal Regulations for the OTC uses of Lanolin
FDA: Link to Code of Federal Regulations for the food additive uses of Lanolin
When conforming to European Union animal by-products legislation, Lanolin and Lanolin-derived ingredients may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.
EU Cosmetic Regulation
More scientific Information:
Lanolin is a complex esterified mixture of high molecular weight esters of fatty acids with aliphatic and alicyclic alcohols and sterols. Hydrolysis yields a mixture of compounds; purification yields individual components which may then be further modified by alkoxylation, esterification, or amidation to form materials not found in natural lanolin.
Lanolin can also be separated into components by temperature-dependent physical or mechanical methods. This yields a variety of materials, possessing different properties, which can then be subjected to further chemical processes. Lanolin and its derivatives include hard solids, pastes, and mobile liquids. They may be water-soluble or water insoluble.
They may be mixtures (e.g., Lanolin Wax) or fairly pure compounds (e.g., Lanosterol). Lanolin is also an important commercial source of certain sterols, especially cholesterol. As the characteristics of Lanolin derivatives are variable, these materials find uses in all types of cosmetics and personal care products designed for skin, nail and hair care.
This Moisturizing Ingredient Might Just Save Your Winter Skin
CoffeeAndMilk / Getty Images
For those of us who deal with dry skin—whether it be year-round or only during the colder months—we all know that finding moisturizing products with active ingredients can sometimes be easier said than done.
This is where lanolin comes in—an underrated component that soothes and prevents dry, chapped skin while restoring much-needed moisture. We tend to be intrigued by any ingredient that can assist our skin in getting through the cold, dry winter months.
After reaching out to multiple dermatologists for their input, we're pleased to say that lanolin may be the ingredient that your skin has been needing.
Before we get into the logistics, let's talk about the origin of this powerhouse ingredient. Lanolin is an oil produced by sheep and can be found in their shorn wool. This beneficial oil keeps their wool coats waterproof and deodorized.
In its pure form, it looks a yellow-colored, waxy substance. Despite its oily nature and power to keep skin hydrated from the outside in, it won't clog pores.
“It's soothing for dry, chapped skin and also protects against cold, harsh weather conditions,” says integrative and functional medicine physician Dr. Frank Lipman, who calls lanolin a “winter skin wonder.
” He also explains that lanolin's coating effect keeps moisture from being drawn out while also allowing the skin to breathe. Keep scrolling to learn more about the ingredient your skin has been waiting for.
- Type of ingredient: Emollient.
- Main benefits: Locks moisture into the skin, extremely rejuvenating and healing, allows the skin the moisturize itself from within.
- Who should use it: In general, those with dry or damaged skin would benefit most from using lanolin products.
- How often can you use it?: Lanolin products can be used daily, both morning and night.
- Works well with: Lanolin works best alongside other moisturizing products, as it assists in locking moisture into the skin.
- Don't use with: In general, lanolin is safe to use with most ingredients and products.
Lanolin has been used since ancient Greek times and is a multi-faceted asset that is becoming more popular when formulating moisturizing skincare products. Since it is an emollient ingredient, lanolin is an excellent option for sealing moisture into the skin—making it perfect for the winter months.
This potent component is derived from oil secreted by sheep to condition their wool. Lanolin is then collected when the wool is sheared. Though it can get a bad rap for being received from an animal source, lanolin itself is nothing more than a natural substance (“Lanolin is a cruelty-free product,” mentions Lipman).
It has been classified as an emollient, which means that it traps in moisture and reduces the skin's overall moisture loss. Emollients are typically used during the treatment of dry, itchy, or scaly skin conditions.
In addition to its many skin benefits, lanolin is also used as a nipple ointment for sore nursing mothers, is included in diaper rash creams for babies, and is an ingredient in many lip balms, such as Lanolips.
Every dry skin woe—from tight, cracked skin, to rough, scaly patches—benefits from Lanolin.
- Lightweight: Lanolin forms a non-occlusive barrier, which means it doesn't smother the skin or feel too heavy.
- Incredibly healing: Its emollient properties soften and heal aggravated areas by forming an oily layer on the top of the skin. Those with dry, scaly patches are ly to find relief.
- Retains moisture: Lanolin can hold up to twice its weight in water, which means it's fantastic at keeping moisture trapped within the skin.
- Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles: Since lanolin does retain so much moisture, it tends to plump the skin and fill in fine lines and wrinkles, which makes it successful when formulating anti-aging products.
- Heals chapped lips: Lanolin can penetrate the moisture barrier of the lips, as opposed to just sitting right on top. This makes it an excellent option for healing dry, chapped lips. Lanolin is also featured in many overnight lip masks—giving you plump, hydrated lips while you sleep!
If you are allergic to wool, you should steer clear of lanolin, since it is wool-derived. It would be best if you also were careful to not ingest large amounts of this ingredient as you can acquire lanolin poisoning. According to Dr.
Maryam Zamani, a London-based oculoplastic surgeon, and creator of MZ Skin, you should also avoid lanolin if you have congested pores. “If you have blocked pores or problem skin, I would avoid using any products containing lanolin on your skin,” she says.
Those with oily skin can also benefit from lanolin but may want to apply it in sparse amounts to avoid an overproduction of oil. You can prevent widespread allergic reactions and product sensitivities by doing a patch test.
The correct way to utilize lanolin varies, depending on the product that the ingredient is featured in. Make sure to correctly read the instructions and always perform a patch test before adding any new products to your regular skincare routine.
In general, lanolin can be used daily and is found in many different skincare products and formulations. You will more than ly reap the most benefits by applying your chosen product and leaving it on overnight—or for an extended period—as lanolin penetrates the skin to aid in moisture retention.
In addition to pure lanolin, many moisturizing cosmetic products on the market incorporate it as an ingredient, including lip balms, cuticle creams, and more. Since your options are endless, we've compiled a list of dermatologist's favorites to make your search a bit easier. Keep scrolling to see their preferences!
BlistexDCT (Daily Conditioning Treatment)$3
Recommended by Zamani, this daily conditioning treatment by Blistex is a favorite of hers. “My favorite lip balm is Blistex's DCT (Daily Conditioning Treatment) that contains lanolin.
It has SPF 20 and is the only balm that keeps my lips feeling hydrated and nourished, especially during the cooler months.
It is still important to use SPF during the winter, which is another reason I love this lip balm.” We completely agree!
Dr. Dendy Engleman, a Manhattan-based dermatologist, and board-certified dermatologic surgeon swears by Aquaphor. “Aquaphor is incredibly effective at moisturizing severely cracked or dry areas.
It works by preventing loss of water in the skin, which allows natural oils to nourish and repair. This product uses lanolin to condition and soothe dry skin,” she says.
Aquaphor can also be used as an overnight lip mask, apply before bed, and wake up with plump, moisturized lips—we promise.
LANOThe Original 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm$17
Engleman also recommends this Ointment by LANO that features lanolin as its main ingredient, saying, “LANO's 101 Ointment is one of my favorites.
It works for so many different skincare concerns—from dry, chapped lips and cuticles to burns, eczema, and beyond. It really is a wonder ingredient for hydration and healing a.
Overall, the LANO brand has a full range of lanolin-based products that are ideal for hydrating and moisturizing.”
No matter your dry skin concern, lanolin will assist in healing, moisturizing, and soothing the skin.
Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
Lanolin has soothed tender, tired and dried-out skin as far back as the Ancient Greeks. Derived from the oil in sheeps' wool, lanolin deeply moisturizes skin and creates a protective barrier that holds in water and prevents skin from drying out.
While it has as long track record as a moisturizing agent, lanolin has many other uses, including being in a variety of skin-care and beauty products for people of all ages.
A little information will make it easy for you to see where you can incorporate lanolin into your beauty regimen.
Lanolin is made from grease found inside sheeps' wool, and it is a lipid, or fat, product. With the ability to deeply moistuize and protect, lanolin puts 400 percent more moisture into skin.
As a naturally derived compound, lanolin is gentle enough to be used by both children and adults for a variety of skin treatments. Lanolin's increase in popularity can be attributed to it's ability to add moisturizing power to a variety of skin- and hair-care products.
In it's pure form, lanolin comes in a yellow waxy substance, and it is also available as a liquid.
With impressive moisturizing power, lanolin is a great asset for skin. Aside from using lanolin-infused moisturizers and lotions, you can rub lanolin cream into stressed cuticles to restore healthy fingernails, toenails, feet and hands. Bring lanolin outdoors in sunscreens that protect from damaging rays while keeping skin moist.
Wear lanolin-infused lip balm to heal dry, chapped lips and stop damage from harsh winds, sun or cold temps. Lanolin can also benefit men and women when it comes to shaving — the moisture softens hair as well as protects skin from the drying effects of regular razor use.
To top off your overnight routine, apply a thick, moisturizing cream that contains lanolin to keep skin rich and to maintain skin elasticity.
Adding lanolin to your hair-care routine can transform dry, brittle hair into lush, lovely locks. Lanolin-based shampoos and conditioners smooth hair follicles and can leave your tresses looking their best with a brilliant shine and smooth softness.
Lanolin-infused styling products waxes and cremes help create your perfect look while bringing a softness to your hair. When used sparingly, lanolin can also be applied to the scalp for an overnight treatment to restore dry skin.
You can wash the lanolin out with shampoo in the morning — keep in mind this treatment could discolor your pillow case.
Keep your face fresh and soft by wearing lanolin-infused cosmetics. Liquid foundation and pressed powders that contain lanolin components both cover skin and moisturize deeply.
With regular use, lanolin-based cosmetics will even skin tone and create a healthy glow. Pressed eyeshadows that contain lanolin work to keep the delicate skin around the eye area tight and ward off crows' feet.
And don't forget your favorite creamy lipstick — creamy thanks to the moisturizing powerhouse that is lanolin.
- Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
7 Lanolin benefits for the skin
The evidence suggests that lanolin has been used by humankind from Egyptian times. Having emollient effects and protecting the skin, lanolin is widely used today in cosmetic and skin care products. Why should you keep it at hand? Discover 7 lanolin benefits for the skin.
Table of contents
What is lanolin?
Also known as wool grease or wool wax, lanolin is a pale-yellow wax produced by the sebaceous glands of sheep or other wool-bearing animals. The oily substance is actually sebum extracted from the wool, cleaned and refined to obtain the final product named as anhydrous lanolin. Because it easily combines with water, it is widely used for cosmetic purposes.
The refined lanolin is an organic, non-toxic, and biodegradable substance with less than three parts per million of all impurities. As for the lanolin structure, it is a mixture of wool fat and 25 to 30% water.
The wool grease includes various chemical ingredients in its composition, including cholesterol and esters derived from fatty acids. Technically speaking, lanolin is a wax – not oil or fat – and melts at 38-42ºC.
When found on the sheep, lanolin oil migrates to the wool and protects the animal against weather and climatic factors. Dermatologists and scientists have observed that wool wax closely resembles the sebum produced by the human oil glands. Plus, our skin easily absorbs lanolin, which will reduce the moisture loss, protect the epidermis, and restore the elasticity and softness of the skin.
Fun fact: Despite their efforts, chemists have failed to create in the lab a substance that would duplicate the composition or performance of lanolin.
Benefits of lanolin for skin
The moisturizing agent is included in a wide range of skincare and beauty products for consumers of all ages. The studies proved that lanolin could moisturize the skin by up to 400%, so it is a significant ingredient in numerous lotions, creams, and ointments. Here are 7 uses of lanolin for the skin:
1. Repairs cracked and sore nipples due to breastfeeding. As mentioned on Australia’s Department of Health, lanolin soothes the tender skin that was damaged after nursing the baby.
Once applied on the nipples, the organic ingredient profoundly moisturizes the skin and prevents it from drying out.
Plus, the evidence suggests that the lanolin oil reduces nipple trauma, diminishes pain, and even prevents the cracking of the mamilla.
2. Smoothens and fixes chapped lips. Many women promise that lanolin is the perfect lip balm! The natural waxy product saturates the skin of the lips with moisture and leaves it silky smooth for hours. Are you your usual lip balm? Use a tiny amount of a nipple cream with lanolin, and your lips will improve their texture and appearance instantly.
3. Heals diaper rash. Did you know that the baby’s urine is so acidic, that it irritates their sensitive skin? It’s the main reason why you are advised to keep a diaper rash cream at reach and use it whenever the skin gets red and with raised bumps.
When mixed with zinc oxide and other natural ingredients, lanolin will create a protective barrier between the baby’s skin and wet diaper. Thus, the skin will heal, and the discomfort will disappear.
Lanolin doesn’t apply to diaper rash only: find out here why lanolin could be considered as one of the best heat rash remedies here.
4. Moisturizes the skin in patients with diabetes, according to MedlinePlus. When the blood sugar levels are too high, the skin will begin to resemble pimples. Sometimes, it can look porcelain, and it can feel itchy and painful.
When the epidermis is dry, hard, and swollen due to diabetes, you can accelerate the healing with a lanolin-rich cream.
Lanolin will help to prevent possible infection, preserve the moisture in the skin, and avoid the complications of the diabetic foot.
5. Helps to repair the skin burns and protects against the damaging sun rays.
Because lanolin works by creating a barrier on the surface of the skin, it will impede the evaporation of water and maintain proper levels of natural oils.
Thus, you can use lanolin for sunburns and prevent the peeling of the skin, but not immediately after the sun exposure. Why? The wool wax contains alcohol, and it could make the burn feel worse.
6. Softens cuticles and restores healthy fingernails, toenails, hands, and feet. You might visit the salon every 2-3 weeks for a semi-permanent manicure, but their cuticle products aren’t as effective or hydrating as you would want.
Why don’t you use some lanolin for the health and beauty of your cuticles and nails? Massage the wool wax into the skin surrounding the nails, but not before the applying the nail polish.
Before leaving the cosmetic salon, ask your professional to rub some lanolin to keep your cuticles neat and intact.
7. Protects the skin from the drying effects of regular razor uses.
No wonder why several manufacturers have glued lanolin patches on disposable razors! The waxy substance provides a comfortable and smooth shave for both men and women.
When the skin is sensitive and gets bumpy after removing the unwanted hair, use a cream with lanolin as an aftershave balm. It has a strong odor, but you could combine it with natural essential oils (lavender, eucalyptus, mint) to change that.
How to use lanolin for hair
Since lanolin works as a powerful moisturizer, it can be used for hair, as well. Shortly after adding the natural wool wax to your hair care routine, your brittle locks will transform into strong and shiny hair. Lanolin traps water in the hair, prevents the loss of moisture, and softens the scalp strands.
Follow the experts’ recommendations and use lanolin on wet or freshly misted hair only. The waxy product will not produce the effects desired if you apply it to dry hair. That’s because the esters of fatty acids contained hold water without dissolving it. More ly, the moisture is trapped within the wool wax.
Here’s how to apply pure lanolin on your hair: take a small amount and rub it between your fingers until it melts – it might take a whole minute.
When it isn’t sticky anymore, spread it onto the hair, avoiding the skin of the scalp. The product might clog the pores and make the scalp look greasy, and you want to avoid that.
Leave lanolin on the hair for at least one hour, then use apple cider vinegar to clean and soften the locks even more.
Many consumers want to know whether lanolin is safe before applying it to their skin or hair. Several studies prove that pesticide residues can be found in lanolin. Although the wool wax contains 83 to 118% for less than 20% of the pesticides listed, the results comply with the requirements of U.S. and European pharmacopeias.
Furthermore, the experts can extract and clean-up pesticides from lanolin so that they would obtain a product safe for mothers and babies a.
If you are concerned and believe that you shouldn’t apply lanolin on your sore nipples – because the pesticides contained could reach to your baby – check the label of the lanolin ointment purchased.
Numerous manufacturers provide lanolin harvested from sheep that graze in pesticide-free fields.
As for the lanolin allergy, it is a side effect that occurs rarely. The prevalence of allergy to wool wax is from 1.8 to 2.5%, as mentioned on the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Those who are allergic to wool might have allergic reactions when they get in contact with lanolin or skin care products with sheep wax.
What are the side effects? The most common signs are skin rash (hives), nasal congestion, swelling of the tissues or lips, and redness and itching in various parts of the body.
Other uses of lanolin
You would be surprised to discover that lanolin can be used for other purposes than moisturizing the skin and softening the hair. Its water-repellent properties and its capability to create a protective barrier recommend it for non-therapeutic uses, as well.
Did you know that lanolin is added as a base in the composition of chewing gums? The versatile ingredient is used in shoe polish, rust-preventive coatings, lubricants, and numerous other commercial products. It protects leather from natural degradation process, decreases the drying time in inks, paints, and spraying varnishes, and provides waterproof properties to concrete items.
Why should you use lanolin?
Although it is popular as nipple cream, lanolin makes a great addition to your skin care toolbox and is an eco-friendly solution that will safely hydrate your hands, lips, face, and hair. When the weather is cold, and your nose is raw from constantly blowing it, lanolin will work its magic and accelerate the healing.
What Is Lanolin + 4 Interesting Cream/Liquid Uses
Lanolin has been used for thousands of years for its ability to soften and relieve dry, painful, and cracked skin. Its popularity peaked in the mid-1900s but is now declining due to its potential to cause skin allergies. Read on to find out more about the uses of lanolin, precautions, and user experiences.
What is Lanolin?
Lanolin comes from wool grease, which is a wax secreted by sheep glands. Lanolin protects sheep wool from the weather and harsh environments .
The ability of lanolin to help cleanse the skin and retain its moisture makes it a common component in cosmetics and medical creams. However, its potential to cause allergies in sensitive people is a potential downside .
To be safe for use, lanolin must contain only a small percentage of fatty acids, moisture, ash, and chloride. There must be no alkali, ammonia, glycerin, petrolatum, or other impurities present .
Mechanism of Action
Lanolin has strong emulsifying properties. This means that lanolin is able to break large fat particles, mix them with an aqueous phase, and distribute them evenly. It also helps with absorption. Because of these properties, lanolin combines well with materials used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals .
Lanolin also has soothing, cleansing, and lubricating properties. These make it useful in the medical field as a base for creams and ointments .
1) Dry & Damaged Skin
Medilan is a medical-grade lanolin that is ultra-purified and hypoallergenic, meaning that it causes very little irritation to the skin. Lanolin increases the water content in your skin. The hypoallergenic, soothing, and moisturizing nature of lanolin makes it useful for eczema and other dry skin conditions .
Premature babies do not have an effective skin barrier. In one randomized study of 60 premature infants, the infants received topical lanolin treatment twice daily for 2 weeks. Topical lanolin decreased the amount of water lost through the skin, the severity of dermatitis, and the bacteria on the outer layer of skin .
A second, 4-week study of 173 premature infants compared lanolin use to emollient cream use. The infants undergoing lanolin treatment showed a bigger decrease in dermatitis symptoms .
Lanolin helps increase new skin growth, which supports wound healing. In a pig study, topical lanolin applied to skin wounds significantly increased new skin growth. However, lanolin also increased skin inflammation .
A traumatic nipple is one of the most common problems for breastfeeding mothers. Many studies have found that lanolin is an effective nipple cream.
In one 14-day study of 126 breastfeeding mothers, lanolin was among the most therapeutic creams in relieving nipple pain .
In another study of 151 breastfeeding women, women in the lanolin group reported higher satisfaction with their feeding method and were able to withstand longer feedings compared to the group that used a commercial product .
A third study of 84 mothers showed that lanolin cream was more effective than breast milk. Thus, lanolin is an effective way to reduce nipple pain and promote healing of nipple trauma .
Chemotherapy can cause problems with the lips that can lead to infection. In a study of 57 chemotherapy patients, those that used lanolin showed less dehydration. However, lanolin did not reduce lip pain .
2) Dry Eyes
Lanolin has an effect on treating dry eyes and corneal abrasions. Corneal abrasions are when the outer layer of the eye (cornea) is scratched.
One study of 120 patients tested lanolin’s protective effects on the cornea. Lanolin and polythene both prevented corneal abrasions .
In mice with dry eyes, lanolin reduced dryness and was safe for corneal application .
3) Anal Fissures
An anal fissure is a tear of any size in the anus, often characterized by blood in the stool.
In a study of 71 children, the group that received topical lanolin ointment had 92.9% healing of their anal fissures .
4) Hair Quality
Lanolin is a conditioning agent in shampoos and conditioners. Conditioning agents increase softness and gloss while reducing flyaways and tangles. Lanolin can increase lubrication, luster, and hair softness .
Limitations and Caveats
Most of the studies on lanolin are very old. Lanolin was at its peak in popularity in the mid-1900s, so most of the studies are from that time. The use of lanolin is quite limited because of the prevalence of allergy and limited knowledge about the allergy details .
Lanolin Side Effects
Lanolin can cause allergic reactions in sensitive patients. This has caused concern about its use .
On the other hand, a study determined there is no prominent allergen in lanolin and that lanolin is a weak irritant. There has not been a single case of allergy reported by workers engaged in recovering wool wax. This is important because they have the most contact with lanolin .
Medalin is a medical-grade lanolin cream, ultra-purified and hypoallergenic. Medalin is a common cream used for dry skin. There are also many drugstore versions of lanolin cream used for dry lips, nipple irritation, and dry skin [2, 3].
Liquid lanolin retains the properties of lanolin. The liquid increases the spreadability and is more easily used in products .
The opinions expressed in this section are solely from the users who may or may not have a medical background. SelfDecode does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment. Do not consider user experiences as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on SelfDecode.
Some mothers that have used lanolin-based creams while breastfeeding claim that it is able to instantly soothe their painful nipples. But, they also say it is also usually thick and sticky, which makes it hard to apply.
Patients who have used lanolin for dry, irritated skin say that it is the only product that can hydrate their dry and cracked skin. But, they also say it typically does not smell good and is not easy to spread on the skin.
Some people who have used lanolin as a lip moisturizer claim that it made their lips drier than they were original, while other users claim that it has made their lips soft and that they are no longer peeling.
Lanolin: the basics
Today’s topic is lanolin, a skincare ingredient that offers great emollient and protective properties. (It’s an ingredient that I started using in some of my recipes recently, which is why I’ve been reading up on it!)
Uses of lanolin in body and skincare
Resembling human sebum, lanolin is easily absorbed by our skin. When applied, it acts as a barrier by helping to lock in the moisture, protecting our skin and keeping it supple.
Because it contains anti-inflammatory properties, lanolin is said to help with minor surface wound healing. Lanolin-based creams are popular amongst breastfeeding mothers, since they help sooth sore and cracked nipples (as well as their babies’ nappy rash!).
An all-round skin protector, lanolin is a common ingredient in lip balms, hand, nail and cuticle creams, and hair products.
Lanolin anhydrous vs lanolin oil
Many DIYers use lanolin anhydrous in their recipes (it is sometimes labelled as low-odour lanolin anhydrous). This is basically the waxy substance extracted from crude wool wax that has been further processed and refined to remove contaminants and reduce water content (hence “anhydrous”) and odour (hence “low odour”).
Lanolin anhydrous is a soft but really sticky substance (by this I mean it’s easy to scoop it a pot with a spoon, but then very difficult to get it off the spoon and into your measuring jug!).
It is not water or oil soluble, but it will not separate when you mix it with oils and butters – even if you add water-based ingredients (up to twice the weight of the lanolin) to the mix. Lanolin anhydrous has a melting point of around 40ºC.
Depending on the amount of lanolin used in a recipe (and what else it’s mixed with), some products can end up with a sticky (tacky) feel – so do experiment with different ratios (and different ingredient combinations) to work out what’s best for you.
For those who are not as keen on the stickiness of lanolin anhydrous, there is the option of using lanolin oil, which is obtained from lanolin via a process called “low-temperature fractional crystallisation”. Lanolin oil has the same emollient qualities as lanolin anhydrous, except it is fluid at room temperature, and it is also soluble in mineral and vegetable oils.
As with using any other ingredients for the first time, it’s always worth performing a patch test before including lanolin in your DIY recipe, to see if any irritation or allergic reaction develops. In spite of all its qualities, lanolin is a known allergen – so unfortunately it’s not for everyone.
That’s all from me today! I’ll be sharing some of my lanolin-based recipes very soon. In the meantime, I’d love to know if you’ve made anything with this ingredient before, or if there’s any lanolin-based product you particular (and why)!
This post was updated on 22 April, 2016, to include information about lanolin as an allergen.
Rough Science . New Zealand . Shakers . Hand Cream | PBS
Lanolin, Wool and Hand Cream
by Mike Bullivant
What is lanolin?
The properties of wool
How to make your own lanolin hand cream
What's the difference between a fat, an oil and a wax?
Did you know?
Further reading and websites
To make a soothing hand cream from whatever local resources we d. All that gold panning at the river took a toll on our skin!
What is lanolin?
Lanolin Lanolin is the smelly pale-yellow natural oil found on sheep's wool. As a waste product in wool processing, it's also known as wool oil, wool wax, wool fat, or wool grease. It's a natural water repellant — the function of which, as it's not too hard to guess, is to waterproof the sheep.
Lanolin also has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that protect the sheep's skin from infection. Derived from the animal's oil glands, lanolin is a mixture of wool fat and 25-30% water. Wool fat is a mixture of many different chemical compounds, including cholesterol and the esters derived from 'fatty' acids containing 18 to 26 carbon atoms.
Lanolin is used widely in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. The oils in lanolin are similar in chemical composition to the oils secreted by human skin. What's more, it forms an emulsion with water that's easily absorbed by the skin, softening it and preventing it drying and cracking (this would explain why sheep shearers have such soft hands).
Strictly speaking, lanolin is a wax, not a fat or oil, and melts at a temperature between 100-107°F (38-42&def;C).
To extract the lanolin from unwashed wool you boil the wool in water for a few hours, adding salt to improve the yield of lanolin. Next, you reduce the solution by boiling off most of the water.
After you filter any undissolved solid material from the hot solution and let it cool, you should be left with a pale-yellow waxy solid floating on the surface of the water. This is impure lanolin. You can purify it, as we did on the show, by taking the crude lanolin and shaking it with a mixture of olive oil and water.
The impurities will dissolve into the water and the oil, leaving you with a solid layer of off-white, waxy 'purified' lanolin suspended between the oil and water.
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The properties of wool
Wool has a very complex chemical and physical structure, which accounts for its uniqueness and versatility as a textile fiber. The fibers are made up of more than 20 amino acids, which combine to form long chains (polymers) of protein.
It's the internal structure of each woolen fiber — a three-dimensional corkscrew pattern, or helical 'crimp' — that gives wool its elasticity. The coiled springs of these molecular chains, with their permanent built-in 'memory,' makes the woolen fibers themselves coil-shaped and accounts for their enduring resilience.
Wool is superior to all other fibers in its ability to handle body moisture in both warm and cool environments. The porosity of the cells in the outer layers of wool fiber allows them to quickly and efficiently absorb and evaporate moisture.
In fact, the fibers can absorb up to 30% of their own weight in moisture — ten times as much as any synthetic fiber — without feeling damp or clammy.
The porous structure also explains why wool is such a good thermal insulator, not to mention the mesh of the fibers, which creates millions of air pockets that further help to regulate temperature and humidity.
Wool is a naturally strong fiber. It can bend back on itself 20,000 times without breaking. Compare this to cotton at 3,200 times, silk at 1,800, and rayon at only 75 times.
Due to its unique chemical structure and natural moisture content, wool is naturally fire-resistant. And despite its natural moisture content, wool's dry, porous nature repels mildew and dust mites.
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How to make your own lanolin hand cream Here's a recipe for lanolin hand cream you may want to try at home. 3 Tbsp. lanolin 3 Tbsp. distilled water 3 Tbsp. grated beeswax 1/2 cup almond oil 3 Tbsp. witch hazel
1/8 tsp. borax powder
Mix the beeswax, lanolin and almond oil in an oven-safe dish and set the dish in a pan containing about an inch and a half of water. Place them in the oven and heat until the beeswax and lanolin have melted.
Mix the witch hazel, borax powder and distilled water in a saucepan. Heat the solution until just boiling and then slowly pour it into the melted beeswax/lanolin/almond oil mixture. Stir thoroughly and leave to cool.
When the mixture is completely cooled, you'll have a thick white cream to soften your skin.
How about making a scented hand cream? You could add almost any essential (aromatherapy) oil to it (but be careful to check your sensitivity to each oil beforehand, and follow any warnings on the labels). 5 to 10 drops of essential oil should be adequate for 3 ounces of cream. You could also add very finely chopped flower petals or herbs to the cream, to give it a different texture and aroma.
We scented our lanolin hand cream with tee tree oil (sometimes referred to as 'tea tree oil'), not only because of its delicate nutmeg smell, but because it has a wide range of medicinal properties.
Tee tree oil is produced and contained in small sacs on the leaves of the tee tree plant. The sacs will rupture when heated and release their oil, which is how we obtained ours. It's been estimated that 2 tons of leaves will provide about 5 gallons of tee tree oil.
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What's the difference between a fat, an oil and a wax?
The difference between a fat and an oil is that a fat is solid or semi-solid at room temperature, while an oil is liquid.
There are also significant chemical differences between fats and oils. Generally speaking, solid fat contains more 'saturated' fatty acids, while oils usually contain 'unsaturated' fatty acids.
Because they're made up of single chemical bonds, saturated fatty acids are flexible. The carbon-carbon double bonds in unsaturated fatty acids, on the other hand, are more rigid and less flexible.
That means they're not as compact as those derived from saturated 'fatty' acids, and as a result, they're usually (liquid) oils.
Waxes are materials that can be molded when warm, but turn hard and sometimes brittle when cold. Waxes are insoluble in water and water-repellent.
Natural waxes such as beeswax (from honeycombs) and lanolin (from wool) are esters of 'fatty' acids with alcohols containing only one alcohol (OH) group.
This distinguishes them from vegetable oils and fats, which contain three OH groups.
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Did you know?
- A wool mattress pad on your bed will eliminate dust mites, which can't survive in the natural lanolin of the wool.
- A wool blanket can also help you sleep better.
Tests have shown that the heart rate under a wool-filled comforter was always significantly lowered, while the humidity next to the skin was significantly lower 71% of the time.
What are other uses for lanolin?
Because it's an excellent water-repellent, lanolin is used on oil rigs as a corrosion inhibitor (an agent that slows down the rusting process). For the same reason, spare auto parts are sometimes coated in lanolin when they're put into long-term storage.
And, of course, because it's chemically similar to many of the oils naturally produced by human skin, it's widely used in the pharmaceutical industry.
In fact, when lanolin is mixed with suitable vegetable oils or soft paraffin, it makes a cream so good at penetrating the skin that it has been used as a 'carrier' to deliver pharmaceutical drugs subcutaneously (meaning just below the skin).
Lanolin can also be used as a lubricant and a leather finish and preservative. You'll even find lanolin in some varnishes and paints.
Further reading and websites::
Nutrition and Health, Book 3 of ST240 Our Chemical Environment, The Open University (2000), ISBN 0 7492 51433
University of Cincinnati – the chemistry of fats and oils explained.
Nutrition Australia – more on fats and oils from a nutritional angle.
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