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What is Lanolin?

Lanolin..I've seen it listed as an ingredient on many a bottle of lotion. That got me wondering what exactly it is and where does it come from? Well, I learned that lanolin is a fatty, yellowish substance that comes from the wool of sheep. It is excreted by the sebaceous glands on their skin, and acts as waterproofing so they don't get cold. You might also hear it called wool fat, wool wax, or wool grease. I prefer to call it lanolin - it just sounds classier.

Sheep are not harmed in the process of "harvesting" (for lack of a better word) lanolin. When sheep farmers sheer their sheep to get the wool (about once a year), they then extract the greasy Vaseline-like lanolin from the sheared wool before they wash it. Sheering the wool doesn't hurt the sheep, it's basically like getting a haircut.

Lanolin can be found in soaps, cosmetics, ointments, creams, as a lubricant, and in finishing and preserving leather. Surprisingly it is also an ingredient in some varnishes and paints.

Although lanolin is natural, many people have allergic reactions to it. It can also clog your skin's pores and may cause you to break out.

Fit's Tips: If you've used products with lanolin, and haven't had any bad reactions, it's fine to keep using them because lanolin is a completely natural ingredient.

Beaner Beaner 10 years
I live near a farm so you can pet the sheep and get hand-made wool and lanolin products.
vrico2005 vrico2005 10 years
how cute, the sheep that is
mandiesoh mandiesoh 10 years
i thought the same thing eruntale! LOL
cutest picture
eruntale eruntale 10 years
Just wanted to say: what a cute sheep! :D
Fitness Fitness 10 years
I've heard that about using lanolin on sore nipples. Glad to know it works!
yamahamama yamahamama 10 years
Believe it or not, but lanolin was given to me at the hospital when my daughter was born [ahem, mumble1979mumble] to soothe chapped nipples from breastfeeding. TMI, I know, but since then I use it for the sore upper lip & nose I sometimes get from blowing my nose a lot with a head cold. You can find plain lanolin in a tube at the drug store. It's fairly cheap & not full of artificial ingredients, namely fragrance. It doesn't smell gross or anything like that, but it's not flowery, either. Who cares when you have a bad cold--you can't smell it anyway! It would probably be great for wind burn etc. It's very economical also...
sashak sashak 10 years
aloe will help. you can even put it on straight from the plant. Sheepshearers have REALLY soft hands, its all from the lanolin!
esk4 esk4 10 years
tx... of topic but I had a bad burn this spring, I'd recomend getting a medicated aloe gell to put on the burn, and also use a lotion with aloe... and take tylenol or motrin for the pain and swelling that will help. I did this this summer and I didn't even peel
Moni-B Moni-B 10 years
Hahaha...."lanolin" reminds me of Will Ferrell in "Anchorman" ~M~
txhottie txhottie 10 years
Does anyone have any good ideas about how to sooth a sunburn? I am looking like a lobster after an outdoor wedding!! Or how I can even out since I am in a wedding in May?? I don't want to be dark on one side and light on the other!
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