The health benefits of Lanolin are well known in skincare, and are especially beneficial for those prone to chronic dry skin, dermatitis, psoriasis or eczema.
Lanolin benefits the skin in many ways, and is one of the most powerful natural moisturisers.
Applications for Lanolin are many, and can be used in emollient therapy, skincare, haircare, for the face, body, lips and much more.
What is Lanolin?
Lanolin is a natural waxy substance that is washed out of sheep’s wool.
Its soothing emollient (locking-in moisture) properties make it a highly effective ingredient in skincare, especially for dry skin.
Lanolin is extracted from wool that is sheared before it’s made into yarns and fabrics.
Sheep are not harmed in the process of cutting their wool during summer (like going to the barber). So lanolin can be obtained in a completely cruelty-free process.
The benefits of using lanolin on skin have been around since the days of the Ancient Greeks, at the very least.
It is more probable that lanolin has been used since the beginning of when humans started domesticating sheep.
When in 1882 the German, Otto Braun, invented a new process for spinning the wool by machine to extract wool wax, the term “lanolin” was first used.
Pharmacists of the time began using this purified lanolin in healing salves.
In the early 1900s Lanolin became widely known for its scientifically-proven emollient properties both for pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical uses.
In the 21st century the benefits of lanolin are largely unknown to the general public.
Lanolin even has a myth that gets recycled through the internet, that lanolin causes allergic reactions. More on that below.
With Lanolia we hope to spread more awareness and facts about lanolin and its benefits.
Is Lanolin safe for skin?
Lanolin is one of the safest ingredients for our skin, it closely resembles our own natural skin oils that protect and soothe our skin.
Lanolin oil resembles our own skin oil almost exactly, it forms a protective layer (skin barrier) like our own skin oil does.
Because lanolin acts like our own natural skin oils, it is non-invasive, and our skin accepts it even when the skin is broken, or flaring-up with eczema or psoriasis.
Lanolin allows the skin to breathe, sweat and function like normal. Unlike vaseline, which sits on top of the skin and blocks its normal functions.
In fact lanolin has incredible health benefits.
So how did lanolin get such a bad reputation online?
How lanolin got a bad name
There is a lot of information online stating that lanolin is known to irritate the skin.
This unfortunate myth was created during the 60s & 70s, because of a misunderstanding and it has been recycled throughout the internet ever since.
Here’s the deal: It wasn’t until the 60s that lanolin started to be known “to irritate” causing allergic reactions. It’s now known that these allergies were due to pesticide use in agriculture.
It was during the 60s & 70s that farmers first started using chemical pesticides in agriculture.
It was these pesticides that made their way into the lanolin supply, causing allergic and irritant reactions.
Even today you could get lanolin which is not purified, so it is important to use only the highest quality lanolin on your skin.
Our supplier of lanolin, LanEsters, has not only some of the lowest impurities in their lanolin we have ever seen. LanEsters only works with sheep farmers that meet their “Vegetarian Award” Standards, which means that you can rely on a completely cruelty-free supply chain.
You should always patch test a new product if you are highly sensitive, or if you have skin prone to eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis.
However the only time lanolin could be an issue is if you have an allergy to lanolin itself, which is very rare.
Health benefits of Lanolin
The health benefits of lanolin are well known in skincare, and are especially beneficial for those prone to chronically dry skin, dermatitis, psoriasis or eczema.
Lanolin has three main health benefits:
- Lanolin protects and repairs your skin’s natural barrier. Lanolin closely resembles the natural oils made by our own skin to create the skin barrier.
- Lanolin can hold multiple times its own weight in moisture, this helps skin to recover from moisture loss.
- Lanolin has the ability to penetrate deeply into multiple skin layers. Bringing moisture deep into the lower skin layers.
Lanolin helps to repair the skin barrier
Skin barrier damage can affect your skin health in multiple ways.
- Moisture loss is a common problem for skin conditions, if this is not managed with daily moisture replenishing creams, it can cause further deterioration of the skin structure.
- When the skin structure itself gets damaged, the skin can no longer function properly, less oils are produced and it is not able to initiate its repair sequence when cracked.
- The skin barrier protects the body from invasive virus, bacterial and fungal infections. People with skin conditions are more prone to infections due to skin barrier damage.
Lanolin has been used for centuries as a remedy for eczema and psoriasis, as well as dry cracked skin.
Scientific research, conducted by the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, and the Addis Ababa University, showed that topical treatments with lipid rich ingredients like lanolin can facilitate the skin barrier recovery process.
Lanolin can be used as an emollient therapy
The emollient (lock-in moisture) properties of lanolin make it an effective ingredient for emollient therapy.
Emollient therapy is the practice of applying emollients several times a day, often morning and evening and is used to manage a number of skin conditions chronic dry skin, eczema and psoriasis.
Emollients such as lanolin help to soothe dry, itchy skin and repair the skin’s barrier, thereby preventing entry of irritants and allergens.
Dermatologist Marie Lodén explains that "a daily moisturising routine is a vital part of the management of patients with dry skin conditions" in her study on the effects of moisturisers on skin barrier function.
Lanolin benefits for breastfeeding moms
Today lanolin benefits are actually best known by midwives and breastfeeding mothers for soothing and healing sore, cracked nipples.
The knowledge of lanolin seems to have been undeterred by the bad reputation lanolin picked up in the mid 20th century.
There is almost no mother that hasn’t been told about lanolin by their midwife, mother or friend.
Self care routines using Lanolin
Lanolin can be used on its own or in combination with other ingredients to create self care routines using lanolin.
Use 100% lanolin on elbows, knees and other areas of the body where you can leave it soak in during the day or night.
100% lanolin takes a long time to soak into the skin, and can remain greasy or sticky, which is impractical for applying on the hands or undesirable for the face.
Lanolin can be combined with other emollient ingredients such as olive oil, beeswax and shea butter to create face creams, body butters or lip balms.