Sheep Fat That Saves Skin
I have never heard of lanolin until now. If you are an expecting mom-to-be and breastfeeding woman, you probably have lanolin in your drawer. Its also known as nipple cream – a yellowish viscous mixture that keeps nipple skin tissue from drying up and tearing during days of breastfeeding. But lanolin, as a moisturizing agent, is everywhere because it is a common base for most ointments and skin creams. And while lanolin is generally a cheap ingredient found in off-the-counter skincare cream, 100% pure lanolin is actually quite expensive.
An interesting fact is: lanolin is actually a fatty oil substance taken from sheep’s wool. It is the oily substance that makes wool waterproof. Simply put, it is sheep fat.
Manufacturers produce lanolin by extracting the sebum from the sheep’s wool, followed by a process of cleaning and refining the fatty substance.
For me, it started with a stubborn skin blister that refuses to heal. This can happen when the wound is located in an area of the body that encounters daily friction or where sweat accumulates such as underarms, elbows, inner thighs and ankles. The doctor gave me a cream good enough to keep the blister from getting infected, but not effective enough for the skin to dry up and heal. This is how I found lanolin.
How Lanolin Works
When you apply lanolin onto the wound, it naturally penetrates deep and restores moisture content back into the skin layers. Its viscosity composition also provides a barrier between the skin and any external element ie. clothes, undergarments or socks. It locks moisture in and allows the skin to re-hydrate from within. This method of accelerated internal healing eliminates the formation of scabs and crusts. For breastfeeding moms, lanolin is also excellent because it does not clog pores.
If you have extremely dry skin, lanolin-based skin creams is effective because lanolin falls under the category of lipid-rich emollient class of moisturizers. For the same reason, lanolin also works great for people prone to dry and chapped lips. It rejuvenates dry skin tissue layers relieving skin tear and crack.
Lanolin-based skin products are cheap and readily available. But not all are pure and 100%. Caution: You need to read the label. The best kind of lanolin is 100% pure, preservative-free and hypoallergenic. To up-the-notch, choose a brand of lanolin that is purified and refined to minimize environmental impurities and allergic components like Lansinoh from Australia.
While lanolin is a generally safe topical product, there have been a few concerns regarding this substance. As a live stock by-produce, lanolin may contain traces of pesticides. It is a known fact that sheep owners routinely dip their sheep into insecticides because these grazing herbivores are extremely susceptible to pests. While the toxicity level from insecticide is not high enough to be dangerous to human health, it can accumulate in fat tissue and in the milk of breastfeeding women. People who are allergic to wool may also be allergic to lanolin.
Granted, I did pay five times more for a 100% pure lanolin tube but the results were immediate. My two-week old skin blister started to naturally dry up after the first 2 to 3 applications. Within three days, my blister was history.
Buyer’s Tip: Though lanolin can be used for most dry skin ailments, you probably won’t find it at the “body moisturizer” section. Rather, it is widely marketed as a breast-feeding aid for moms with dry and sore nipples. So, head for the “nursing mother care” aisle and you will have more luck.