Lanolin is a key ingredient in some of the world’s most popular cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
Emollient properties of Lanolin
Lanolin’s composition resembles the intercellular lipids of the stratum corneum. This is the outermost layer of the skin, which consists of cholesterol, cholesterol derivatives and free fatty acids.
These lipids play a crucial role in the skin’s moisture control. Under normal conditions, water continuously evaporates from the skin’s surface. Insufficient rehydration from lower epidermal layers leads to a dry, inflexible and brittle stratum corneum.
It is a widely used cosmetics ingredient
It owes its outstanding emollient qualities to the fact that in addition to its semi-occlusive capabilities, it is also capable of allowing the bi-directional transportation of water.
Lanolin Alcohol’s water absorption capacity makes it an excellent sole emulsifier. Blended at 6 % into a petroleum jelly based ointment more than 200 % water absorption can be reached. Considering petroleum jelly’s close to zero water absorption capacity this converts into almost 3.000 % water absorption for the Lanolin Alcohol in this matrix.
Anhydrous lanolin can absorb more than 200% of its weight in water (WW) to form stable water-in-oil (w/o) emulsions. It’s also capable of redistributing this moisture to environments of low relative humidity
Similarities with human skin
Variations of the glass sheet experiment on the stratum corneum of human skin treated with lanolin have shown similar effects.
In addition to the chemical similarity between lanolin and human skin lipids, other physical similarities have been discovered, such as multilamellar structures. These molecular aggregations strongly resemble the liquid crystal structures occurring in skin lipids.
Lanolin-based skin-care products owe their superb emollient properties to its unique chemical and physical characteristics.
Use in cosmetics as Natural emollient
It’s beneficial effects on the human skin and hair have been known and valued by humans for thousands of years.
The natural emollient is absorbed by the skin, restoring its correct moisture balance and softness without impairing natural skin functions.
As such, it is an ideal and widely used ingredient for toiletries, personal-care products and medical applications.
Anhydrous Lanolin – USP 32, a byproduct of Merino sheep, is commonly referred to as wool wax or wool grease. It is a semi-solid at room temperature and is similar to a thick ointment. Lanolin is secreted by the sebaceous glands of the Merino sheep resulting in a yellow, waxy substance. It is incorrectly referred to as wool fat; Lanolin is free of glycerides, making it a wax and not a fat.
The emollient care effects of lanolin and its derivatives are harnessed in a wide range of:
- skin creams (such as Nivea® Crème, night creams, cold creams, barrier creams and vanishing creams)
- sunscreen lotions.
- However, the complex composition of lanolin makes it a real natural all-rounder.
- In soaps it acts as a super fatting agent, minimizing dehydration of the skin.
- Lanolin oil is used as gloss-enhancing agent in lip glosses.
- In lipstick it can function as a crystal inhibitor.
- In shampoos and shower gels, as a conditioner.
- In hair waxes, as a naturally protective firming component.
The above information is for general research purposes only and is not a representation or warranty of any kind. This material is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The user of this material is solely responsible for determining fitness for any particular use; requesting and reviewing the applicable Material Safety Data Sheet; and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Terms and conditions apply.
ruhksana (verified owner) –
I think ur products are the best
(0) (0) Watch Unwatch
Tatyana (verified owner) –
I love the product. I read before i buy it that it smells, but it does not and i am sensitive to bad smells. It adds on a great consistency to my cream. I took it specifically for the exzema my dad has. All the infromation I read about lanolin confirms its beneficial effect on the dry skin.
(0) (0) Watch Unwatch