Emollients , Skin-Identical/Repairing Ingredients

Emollient, very thick substance derived from the sebaceous glands of sheep. Lanolin has long been burdened with a reputation for being an allergen or sensitizing agent, which has always been a disappointment to formulators because lanolin is such an effective moisturizing ingredient. A study in the British Journal of Dermatology 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).” Based on a review of 24,449 patients who were tested with varying forms of lanolin, it turned out that “The mean annual rate of sensitivity to this allergen was 1.7%”—and it was lower than that for a 50% concentration of lanolin. It looks like it’s time to restore lanolin’s good reputation. [1]

That’s a very good thing for someone with dry skin, though it can be a problem for someone with oily skin, because lanolin closely resembles the oil from human oil glands. Also, as an animal-derived ingredient, lanolin is sometimes viewed as less favorable in comparison to synthetic or plant-derived alternatives.

References Cited:

  1. Wakelin S, Smith H, White I, Rycroft R, McFadden J. A retrospective analysis of contact allergy to lanolin. Br J Dermatol. 2001;145(1):28-31.

«Back to Ingredient Dictionary

Shop for products with this ingredient

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

View Media Highlights

The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and helping you solve your skincare frustrations with research-supported expert advice—so you'll have the facts you need to take the best possible care of your skin.

PCWEB-WWW1 v1.0.0.451 11/26/2015 4:38:07 AM
Skip to Top of Page

Free Email Sign-Up

- (Less Frequent)
- Expert Advice Newsletter (twice a month)
- New reviews on Beautypedia (twice a month)

Birthday (Fill out to receive a birthday surprise)



Paula’s Choice Auto Delivery is a quick and convenient way to make sure you never run out of your favorite products again. Just select the products you can’t live without, choose how often you’d like them delivered and we’ll take care of the rest.

Get 10% off your first order when you sign up today.