Lanolin is a popular skincare ingredient with deeply moisturizing properties. However, lanolin is not vegan. Simply put, it is made of sheep sweat.
But let’s take a closer look at why lanolin is still widely used in skincare products. As well as about its possible risks.
What Is Lanolin? What Is Lanolin Made Of?
Lanolin is a fat extracted from the sebaceous glands of sheep. It is used as a nourishing emulsifier in numerous skincare products.
In its raw state, lanolin forms a viscous, yellowish ointment that is slightly transparent. Structurally, lanolin resembles the fatty layer of human skin.
The substance, also known as wool wax or fat, is washed out of the fresh wool. Just after the sheep have been sheared. This process is often accompanied by a rather harsh practice known as mulesing.
Mulesing is a procedure in which they remove excess skin from around the sheep’s tail. That is to prevent the formation of parasites and maggots.
If sheep have maggots, they are at risk of serious infections that can lead to death. But mulesing is used on the animals without anesthesia or painkillers.
You can find lanolin as a basic ingredient in skincare creams, treatment ointments, and body lotions. It is also used to make moisturizing lipsticks.
Lanolin-derived skincare ingredients might also be called cholesterin, isopropyl lanolate, laneth, lanogene, lanolin acid or alcohol, lanosterols, sterols, and triterpene alcohol.
Why Is Lanolin Used In Skincare?
Lanolin is used in skincare because it has moisture-binding, hydrating, anti-inflammatory, and skin-protective properties.
Wool wax protects the sheep’s wool from rain, dirt, and moisture. This makes the substance equally effective skin protection for humans.
Lanolin binds moisture in the skin. Therefore, it is suitable for the care of chapped and dry skin. Skincare with lanolin is usually moisturizing. It promises to make dry skin supple, soft, and more resistant.
In addition, people use lanolin ideally for creaming extremely dry areas of skin. Such as the elbows or knees, or as an ointment for cracks.
Wool wax is also said to have an anti-inflammatory effect and strengthen the skin’s own protective barrier. Further, due to its moisturizing properties, lanolin is often recommended for the care of neurodermatitis or psoriasis.
Treatment ointments usually have higher concentrations of lanolin. In creams and body lotions, on the other hand, it is mostly used as a partial emulsifier.
Natural lanolin does also not cause allergies. However, sheep’s wool is often treated with chemicals to protect the animals from parasites. Those pesticides are transferred directly to the lanolin obtained.
So, that might lead to a wool wax allergy. Instead of soothing the skin, that type of lanolin might lead to itchy and problematic skin. To prevent irritation, it is always possible to go with natural and vegan alternatives.
Lanolin might also be comedogenic, and promote skin problems or acne. Creams containing lanolin form a greasy layer on the skin. This suits dry skin types but might irritate acne-prone and problematic skin.
It coats the pores and might cause them to become clogged. That might lead to increased pimples and blackheads. Good natural and vegan-friendly alternatives to lanolin are shea butter and cocoa butter.
FAQ About Lanolin
Lanolin is a popular skincare ingredient with deeply moisturizing properties. Lanolin is used in skincare because it has moisture-binding, hydrating, anti-inflammatory, and skin-protective properties.
Lanolin is made of sheep sweat. It is washed out of the fresh wool. Just after the sheep have been sheared. This process is often accompanied by a rather harsh practice known as mulesing.
No. Lanolin is not vegan.
Lanolin is a highly moisturizing ingredient in skin care. It is often used for hydrating very dry skin and treating cracked skin.
Although lanolin is still widespread, there are many natural alternatives to it. Cocoa butter, for example, is considered one of the best.
Lanolin is a very common ingredient, but many do not know where it comes from. Lanolin is derived from the sweat glands of sheep. This process often involves very cruel methods. Therefore, lanolin is never vegan.
To avoid lanolin in your skin care products, we recommend shopping with 100% vegan brands. Fortunately, the list is long and reliable.
You might also like: Vegan Skincare For Dry Skin In 2022, The Best Vegan Skincare Brands 2022