Lanolin was once considered a beauty taboo, companies would go as far to label their products ‘lanolin-free’, but it turns out that lanolin is one of the most skin-loving ingredients around.
Here we share the beauty benefits of lanolin, whether it’s in the form of lanolin oil or pure lanolin cream, as well as some of our favourite products that contain lanolin.
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The history of lanolin
Lanolin has been used as a moisturiser since Ancient Greek times. It wasn't until the 1960s that it began to garner a bad name for itself, with consumers reporting allergies to lanolin. Why in the ’60s? That’s when farmers started using more and more pesticides on their crops and on their sheep to protect them from infestation. Some traces of these pesticides ended up in beauty products, giving people allergic reactions. Changes in these practices, as well as developments in processing technology, have allowed for much purer lanolin to hit the market.
Where does it come from?
Lanolin is an oil produced by sheep to keep their wool coats waterproof and deodorised. A sheep's shorn wool actually contains the lanolin. In its pure form it looks like a yellow-coloured, waxy substance.
Though it can get a bad rap for coming from an animal source, lanolin itself is nothing more than a natural substance (extracted from sheep’s wool) with emollient properties. Dr Frank Lipman says it's a cruelty-free product and it really is a wonder for winter skin.
Kirsten Carriol, founder of Lanolips is obviously a big fan of the ingredient. She says it's so great because it has both protective properties and it absorbs into the skin too, helping to hold more water in the skin. So you're left with super soft skin.
Beauty uses of lanolin
If your skin is really dry, then you might want to try a moisturiser with lanolin. The products help to ensure skin doesn't let water escape, holding moisture in the skin.
Lanolin is great for chapped lips because it works in two ways, the waxy texture seals the lips so you don't cause any further chapping, it also absorbs moisture from the air helpng to relieve and soothe dry skin.
If your hair is particularly damaged, you might benefit from using lanolin on the ends. The thick and heavy substance will give your hair a super soft effect, and make unruly hair more manageable.
Breast feeding can often result in sore, chapped and dry nipples for mothers, and the San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition suggests using lanolin to help relieve this.
Granted, the ingredient, which is derived from the grease extracted from sheep's wool, doesn't sound pretty. But it offers impressive benefits for the skin. Here are some of our favourite products containing lanolin.