Veterinarian Reviewed on January 9, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Lanolin is actually the waxy yellow substance that is extracted from the wool that comes from sheep. It can either be in the form of a wax, which is Lanolin in its solid state, or as an oil, which is Lanolin in its liquid state. Lanolin has a waterproofing characteristic that helps the sheep in keeping their coats dry. There are some breeds of sheep that can produce huge amounts of lanolin, which is then extracted from the wool before the wool is processed into textile and yarn.
Lanolin can be heated with water to produce Lanolin acid, which is an organic acid and Lanolin alcohol, which is also an organic alcohol form. When acetate is added to Lanolin; it becomes acetylated Lanolin. Adding hydrogen to it produces Hydrogenated Lanolin, and adding hydroxyl produces Hydroxylated Lanolin.
History and Origin
The history of Lanolin is very interesting and just as long too. Its name is a contraction of two Latin words; lana and oleum that have a lateral meaning of wool oil or lanolin.
People that lived during the ancient times had first discovered the extraction of Lanolin from wool since at that time tending herds of sheep was the most common form of livelihood for families.
In ancient times, lanolin had been popularly used as an emollient due to the fact that it has chemical attributes that are quite similar to those that are found in the skin lipids of humans.
The ancient Greeks and the well-known Greek physician, Discorides, who had first named Lanolin as Oesypus had used Lanolin because of the fact that it was safe to use.
There are many people, both living in ancient civilizations and in today modern world, that actually believe that the application of lanolin can enhance hair growth and prevent loss of hair both in males and in females.
Lanolin and its derivatives are largely used today in the production of personal care products, skin care products and also in a variety of cosmetics. It can be found in skin care, baby care products, shaving products, hair care products, manicuring, and sunscreen and suntan products. It can also be found in facial, lip, and eye makeup.
Due to its emollient quality, it is commonly utilized in over the counter ophthalmic drug products. Lanolin in food is used as a softener in most chewing gums and also as an indirect food additives.
Lanolin is used in most skin care and baby products because of its ability to easily blend in with all other ingredients and help form emulsions. It also has adhesive characteristics. Lanolin is also used in numerous industrial products such as lubricants and rust-proofing. Its water-repelling qualities make it perfect for lubricant grease to prevent corrosion. It is best as a softener for baseball gloves and as a lubricant for brass instruments.
In vitamins, it is commonly used as a raw material for the production of cholecalciferol or Vitamin D3.
Numerous studies have proven that lanolin does not cause allergies. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review reported that in 1996, there were 2,967 cosmetic formulations that were registered with the Food and Drug Administration, and which also contained lanolin oil.
Most consumers are not affected by some marketing hype against lanolin. On the contrary a leading professor has said that Lanolin is a great material, and its benefits should be emphasized. The risks are very miniscule, while the many other benefits are still yet to be discovered. FDA also allows the use of Lanolin in over-the-counter drugs for the protection of the skin and the anorectal area.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan