What Is Lanolin?

Lanolin is a waxy secretion produced by the sebaceous glands of sheep that aids the shedding of water from their coats, keeping their skin dry and protected. After the wool is sheared off the sheep, the lanolin is then removed from the wool. Since lanolin is extracted from the fleece of sheep after shearing, absolutely no harm comes to the sheep in extracting lanolin.  

The crude lanolin extracted from the fleece must be purified to remove any alcohols, detergent and pesticide residues, colour, and odour-forming impurities. For the use in moist wound healing of sore and cracked nipples, only the purest medical grade of lanolin must be used. It is vital that the lanolin contains less than 3% free lanolin alcohol and complies with the European Pharmacopeia monograph for modified lanolin, which limits total pesticides to less than 3 ppm; additionally, no individual pesticide may exceed 1 ppm.

Lanolin is considered a pure and safe intervention aimed at creating a moist healing environment for nipple trauma, providing a semi-occlusive barrier that promotes retention of internal moisture and prevents dryness. The moist dermal environment created by the use of lanolin prevents scab formation, promotes epithelial regrowth and decreases nipple pain. Lanolin is proven to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, skin-protecting and barrier repair properties. 

Click Here to find out more about how moist wound healing can help prevent and treat sore nipples during breastfeeding.

WHY DO SOME PRODUCTS CLAIM TO BE LANOLIN FREE?

Lanolin has long been burdened with a reputation for being an allergen or sensitizing agent. This came about due to a study that was conducted in the 1950's by an American Dermatologist, Sulzberger. Sulzberger tested 1048 patients suspected of contact allergy and found 12 who were lanolin sensitive, approximately a one percent reaction rate. The problem arose when this figure was taken out of context and published as one percent of the general health American population. It is important to note that Sulzberger’s result of one percent was obtained on a group of people with pre-existing dermatological conditions, a result that cannot be extrapolated to being typical of the general healthy population. In addition to this misinterpretation of results, Sulzberger’s study was conducted using lanolin of a much inferior grade than what is available to us today.

Unfortunately this has resulted in the market place being flooded with products claiming to be “Lanolin Free’. There is no rational for these claims as recent studies have concluded that lanolin sensitization has remained at a relatively low and constant rate, even in a high-risk population (i.e., patients with recent or active eczema). In addition to this, lanolin is available in ultra-high purity grades that are hypoallergenic and thus cannot cause reactions, even in people sensitized to lanolin. Marketing claims such as “does not contain lanolin” are therefore meaningless and misleading, since the implied risk of allergic reaction simply does not apply to products made with hypoallergenic lanolin.

Natralogic’s Nipple Crème is 100% medical grade Lanolin that adheres with the specifications above and is also hypoallergenic and suitable for use on hypersensitive skin.

 

What are your thoughts on using lanolin? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear them.

Our Nipple Crème is 100% ultrapure medical grade lanolin that will help ease the discomfort of cracked and sore nipples associated with breastfeeding. It is the ideal treatment for Stages 1 and 2 of nipple damage and is also excellent for early protection of sensitive and dry nipples during pregnancy.

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or queries please feel free to leave a comment below. For more tips and advice on maternity skin care check out the Expert Advice section of the Natralogic website.

All the best

Lauren Lamont - Natralogic Founder

MSc Chemistry, Dip.Cos.Sci (SA)

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