Lanolin: What is it & What are its Benefits?

Let's start with the basics, what is lanolin? 

Lanolin (from Latin lāna ‘wool’, and olem ‘oil’), also called wool yolk, wool wax, or wool grease, is a wax secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals. Lanolin used by humans comes from domestic sheep breeds that are raised specifically for their wool. Historically, many pharmacopoeias have referred to lanolin as wool fat (odeps lanae); however, as lanolin lacks glyccrides (glyccrol esters), it is not a true fat.

Lanolin primarily consists of sterol esters instead. Lanolin’s waterproofing property aids sheep in shedding water from their coats. Certain breeds of sheep produce large amounts of lanolin.

Lanolin’s role in nature is to protect wool and skin from climate and the environment; it also plays a role in skin (integumental) hygiene. Lanolin and its derivatives are used in the protection, treatment, and beautification of human skin.

How is Lanolin Produced?

What is lanolin?

Crude lanolin constitutes about 5—25% of the weight of freshly shorn wool. The wool from one Merino sheep will produce about 250-300 ml of recoverable wool grease. Lanolin is extracted by washing the wool in hot water with a special wool-scouring detergent to remove dirt, wool grease (crude lanolin), suint (sweat salts), and anything else stuck to the wool. The wool grease is continuously removed during this washing process by centrifuge separators, which concentrate it into a waxlike substance melting at approximately 38° C (100° F).

What are the Benefits of Lanolin for skin?

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 and lanolin may be the ingredient that your skin has been asking for.

9 Lanolin Cream Benefits

There are a multitude of lanolin skin benefits that come from using lanolin cream or lanolin lip stick. Every dry skin woe—from tight, cracked skin, to rough, scaly patches—benefits from Lanolin.

1. Lightweight feel: Lanolin forms a non-occlusive barrier, which means it doesn’t smother the skin or feel too heavy. It can even be used as a makeup remover.

2. 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 likely to find relief.

3. Retains moisture: Another lanolin skin benefit is retaining moisture. Lanolin is fantastic at keeping moisture trapped within the skin. Its emollient nature makes it a key ingredient in many face creams, as it amps up the moisturizing properties of other ingredients. “It is widely prevalent in skincare for its emollient and film-forming properties as it has a waxy feel to it,” says Jain. “It has been used for its moisturizing, soothing, humectant, and emulsifying properties in thick creams for face and body.”

4. Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles: Since lanolin does retain so much moisture, it may plump the skin and fill in fine lines and face wrinkles, which makes it successful when formulating anti-aging products.

5. Lip mask: Lanolin gives you plump, hydrated lips while you sleep.

6. Heals dry or chapped nipples: Because of its ability to penetrate the moisture barrier of skin, lanolin can be used to help heal chapped nipples (particularly important for those who breastfeed).

7.Can help keep wrinkles at bay: Its ability to heal dry skin makes lanolin a prime ingredient for those looking to treat fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes.

8. Acts as a makeup remover: Often seen as an ingredient in makeup removers, lanolin can help remove makeup without stripping the skin, thanks to its occlusive properties.

9. Helps protect the scalp and hair: We’ve written in-depth about the benefits of lanolin for hair which include enhancing the natural moisture in the hair and scalp.

Fast Facts About Lanolin

  • WHO SHOUD 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’S USE WITH: In general, lanolin is safe to use with most ingredients and products.

How to Use Lanolin

The correct way to utilize lanolin varies, depending on the product that the ingredient is featured. 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 likely reap the most benefits by applying your chosen product and leaving it on overnight—or for an extended period—while lanolin penetrates the skin to aid in moisture retention.

Purchase Lanolin from High Meadow Skin Care

Our lanolin skin care products are all-natural and cruelty free - sourced here inthe USA. Experience the regenerative and rejuvinating properties that come with using lanolin purchase lanolin skin cream or lanolin chapsticks today.

Read our testimonials, and shop directly on our site or purchase on Amazon.