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INCI name: Adeps lanae

Lanolin is a yellow, fatty substance which is extracted from the fleeces of sheep. This fat keeps the sheeps' skin and wool from becoming dry, and protects the animals from extremes of temperature.

Dehydrated lanolin has a long shelf life - at least four years. It has the ability to bind water to itself and can be mixed with double its own weight in water. As well as being nourishing, softening and protective, dehydrated lanolin is an excellent emulsifier and is often used as a base ingredient in creams, lotions and ointments designed for skins exposed to environmental stresses eg. heat, cold and water. It heals cracked, dry skins and is often added to babies' nappy (diaper) rash and barrier creams - it has the added benefit of neutralising the ammonia odour of urine.

Out of all fatty substances, lanolin is most like the fat in human skin. It is moisture-retentive, and allows the skin to breathe naturally. Lanolin can be irritating to some people's skins, and there will be a rash consisting of small, red spots which will disappear within a day of discontinuing use.

Be aware that lanolin can contain minute traces of the pesticides used to treat the animals' fleeces, however it is possible to purchase 'green' lanolin which has the minimum possible amount of these substances.


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