Lanolin is a natural powerhouse ingredient and has many health benefits for your skin.
In this article we will outline some of these benefits and what you should look for when choosing a lanolin cream.
What is lanolin?
Lanolin is a deeply moisturising oil occurring naturally in sheep’s wool.
Lanolin is an oil which is most similar to the oils found in our own skin. That is why it rarely irritates, even sensitive skin. It is also an emollient, which means it locks in moisture, which remains breathable, unlike petroleum ingredients.
Lanolin is found in wool which can be shorn from sheep. This process is completely cruelty-free. Wool is shorn from a sheep every year to keep it healthy and cool in the summer. Lanolin is washed out of the wool and then refined until it is completely pure.
The benefits of lanolin
Lanolin for dry, cracked and chapped skin
Lanolin has not just one, but many moisturising properties, which make it so effective for soothing and softening dry, rough or cracked skin.
These are the top three moisturising qualities of lanolin:
- prevents water loss, creating a protective yet breathable barrier for your skin
- restores moisture, it can hold 400% its own weight in moisture
- penetrates deeply, delivering moisture deep into multiple skin layers
Helps to repair skin affected by eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis
Lanolin is especially beneficial for skin prone to flare-ups of dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema.
All these skin conditions affect and damage your natural skin barrier. The skin barrier is a layer of oils that functions as a physical barrier to the external environment.
When your skin barrier is damaged or broken your skin looses moisture and is no longer able to develop new skin cells properly.
Scientific research has shown that the components also found in lanolin (cholesterol esters) have been proven to repair the skin barrier and trigger the repair sequence for producing healthy skin again.
Read the full scientific research paper conducted by the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, and the Addis Ababa University.
Soothing for breastfeeding mothers
Lanolin is the top recommendation for breastfeeding mothers with dry, cracked nipples.
It can be used directly on broken skin without irritating. It can be applied before breastfeeding, as it is not harmful for babies. And it can even be used for preventing nappy rash on babies bottoms.
What to look for in a lanolin cream
Is lanolin at the top of the ingredients list?
Any cream can be called a lanolin cream if it uses the ingredient (anhydrous) lanolin. That means it can be 100% lanolin or it can be one of the least ingredients found in.
Tip: Check if anhydrous lanolin is listed as one of the first ingredients on the ingredients list. The higher on the list, the more lanolin is used in the product.
Avoid these ingredients
If you have dry, sensitive skin, or a skin condition like psoriasis, eczema or dermatitis you should avoid certain ingredients regularly found in cosmetics.
- sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) strips the skin of its natural oils which causes dry skin, irritation and allergic reactions.
- parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity.
- artificial fragrances are considered one of the biggest causes of irritation for skin.