Vegan Liftz is a community-supported website. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through our links. Learn more.

Is Lanolin Something I Should Avoid?

Last updated: July 3, 2022

Proper skin care is extremely important, no matter the age. From as early as your formative years, it is important to create good and healthy skin habits which affect the overall health of your body. Your skin is the largest organ in the body, and while it may not seem as important as protecting your internal organs, for example, the skin is the primary way that your body regulates the intake of free radicals and toxins throughout the air - serving as a "border guard" for these unwanted particles. While many skin care products are similar, novel products are being created every day. Of particular importance is the rise in research on lanolin oil - purported to hydrate and protect your skin from any impurities.

In this article, we will be taking a look at lanolin oil and how it is made. Further, we will speak about the benefits and possible side effects that can occur with applying this topically. Finally, we'll answer some of the most common questions that our blog has seen in regards to lanolin oil.

What is Lanolin?

Our body actually secretes oils necessary for the protection of our external features, such as hair, eyelashes, fingernails, and skin. Human oil secretion is called sebum and is often found on the nose when it feels "waxy"

Lanolin oil is released much the same way but it is secreted from the skin of sheep.

It is often called wool fat, wool oil, or sheep oil - however, this is a misnomer. Fats contain triglycerides, an important compound that gives them a fatty acid feeling.

Lanolin oil helps to protect the wool of sheep from wind, dirt, and other impurities. This is why lanolin oil can sometimes be found in hair care and skin care products. It is created from spinning wool after the sheep have been sheared and removes the lanolin found within. As such, this causes no animal cruelty to the sheep and can be considered vegan-friendly if sourced from a sustainable wool farm. Lanolin oil goes beyond its cosmetic applications, and can often be used in modern medicine as well. For example, hydrating lotions for extremely cracked sensitive body parts sometimes contain lanolin oil to protect them.

Lanolin oil is only applied topically and should not be ingested. This can cause lanolin positioning, which includes vomiting, rash, itchiness, and diarrhea.

Benefits of Lanolin

Lanolin is classified as an emollient - meaning that it helps protect the skin and hair with a "waxy" coating and also helps to resist dryness and is even conducive to the rejuvenation of these parts. Lanolin has many purported benefits:

  • Wrinkle Care: Lanolin oil does not produce moisture itself, however, it helps to trap it within a certain area. It also acts as a coating on the applied area - helping to protect it from impurities and environmental damage called free radicals. It also offers slight protection against UV rays as well, as lanolin can hold up to twice its weight in water. The increase in water retention helps to increase skin elasticity, so fine lines, and wrinkles can often be combated with extended and proper use.
  • Hair Care: Lanolin is a great way to increase the appearance and fundamental occurrence of dry hair and dry scalp. Remember that lanolin is an emollient, meaning it cannot produce its own moisture - but is extremely effective in trapping moisture once it has been locked in. It is not effective at all to apply lanolin to dry hair and expect something to happen. As such, lanolin is a great product that can be added to your after-shower routine or even in a conditioner, as it can trap moisture in wet hair. To remove, use a special cleansing shampoo or apple cider vinegar once the thickness of your wet hair has been locked in.
  • Lip Care: While chapped lips are often treated with lip hydrating products, lip balms help to hold moisture in. Dry and cracked lips often occur due to thirst, cold weather or heavy anxiety. While applying lanolin to already-cracked lips will not help them anyway, applying lanolin before you leave the house on a cold or dry day, for example, will help to lock in the moisture - helping your lips to retain their plump and full look.
  • Nipple Care: Those who are breastfeeding, or runners with extremely sensitive nipples will find that their nipples are always chaffed or damaged. This can sometimes even lead to bleeding or even partial damage. Lanolin oil can be applied to the nipple beforehand to limit the possibilities of these happening. Nursing women should look for 100% pure lanolin, as the waxy substance can be ingested by the infant, which may cause allergies. It is best to speak to a healthcare professional beforehand.

Side Effects of Lanolin

There are two common side effects found in association with lanolin application to humans:

Those that have a wool allergy would naturally also have an allergy to lanolin or lanolin-based products. With this being said, 100% pure and refined lanolin sometimes does not trigger any allergic reactions.

Lanolin oil is only applied topically and should not be ingested. This can cause lanolin positioning, which includes vomiting, rash, itchiness, and diarrhea.


Is lanolin safe?

Lanolin is generally considered safe for topical use in humans. This also includes newborns that are experiencing rashes or chapped lips. It is best to speak to a medical professional beforehand, as they will need to prescribe a certain refined product that does not harm the infant if ingested periodically.

Is lanolin available?

Lanolin is found in many cosmetic substances that help protect moisture retention in skin and hair. It can even be found as a pure and standalone product.

How can I test for lanolin allergy?

Lanolin allergy is not common and is mostly only unsafe if ingested within the body. Lanolin allergy usually comes from causality as a result of an allergic reaction to wool and other animal fur or hair. If you suspect that you may have a lanolin reaction, the best way to tell is to apply a small amount on the wrist. If the area becomes red and itchy, it is a good indicator that you have an allergy to lanolin.

About the author