What is lanolin? Lanolin is a yellow, oily substance with the consistence of wax. As it is found as a natural substance in the wool of animals, it is sometimes called wool wax or wool grease. In wool, it protects the animal from harsh temperatures. Lanolin is also called wool fat, although it does not contain the chemical compound acylglycerols. Because of this, lanolin cannot be considered a true fat. The chemical composition of lanolin is similar to the lipids of the human skin. Lanolin is mostly used in making ointments for both cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Lanolin as a moisturizer works by forming an oily layer on top of the skin. This layer traps in water and serves as a protective barrier of the skin by holding the skin cells together.
Normally, water molecules evaporate from the surface of the skin to cool off the body. Lanolin helps the skin retain water and decreases itching and flaking. It can also absorb moisture from the humidity in the air. Because of this, it is often made into creams, moisturizers, or emollients. Lanolin softens the skin, prevents moisture loss, and rehydrates for a smoother, silkier, and younger-looking look. It is used to treat and prevent skin problems and other minor skin irritations like dry skin, cracked and itchy skin, and skin burns. Available for skin treatments are lanolin cream and lanolin oil.
Although medicines are made to reduce allergens in lanolin, you must not use lanolin if you are allergic to lanolin or wool. Signs of an allergic reaction include: hives, difficulty breathing, swelling, and rashness of the skin.