How Do I Choose the Best Lanolin Lotion?

Anna B. Smith
Anna B. Smith
Lanolin lotion may be used to treat sunburns and windburns.
Lanolin lotion may be used to treat sunburns and windburns.

The best lanolin lotion for those with sensitive skin is 100% pure lanolin, while those with more broadly affected dry skin who require a daily use moisturizer may prefer a blended lotion. Pure lanolin is free of added chemicals or fragrance, making it ideal for use for sensitive skin, babies, and nursing mothers. Blended lotions provide the protection of lanolin as well as the moisturizing effects of aloe vera and shea butter. These additional ingredients do somewhat dilute the primary lanolin, but are also more easily absorbed into the skin.

Moisturizing lotions that contain lanolin may benefit people who have sensitive skin.
Moisturizing lotions that contain lanolin may benefit people who have sensitive skin.

Lanolin is a waxy substance that is derived from the sebaceous glands of woolly animals, such as sheep. It is typically extracted from the wool of the animal after it has been shorn. This product is naturally water resistant and moisturizing. It protects skin from harsh weather conditions, and aids it in retaining its natural moisture.

Individuals who are sensitive to topical skin creams and fragrance can benefit from purchasing pure lanolin lotion. This type of cream is comprised of 100% pure lanolin with no chemical additives. It is available as anhydrous and hydrous. Anhydrous lanolin cream has a waxy texture, similar to petroleum jelly. Hydrous lanolin cream has been mixed with water and is somewhat more creamy and lotion-like in texture.

Lanolin is derived by the sebaceous glands of sheep and other woolly animals.
Lanolin is derived by the sebaceous glands of sheep and other woolly animals.

These creams provide the full protection and moisturizing characteristics of lanolin. They are not diluted by additional chemicals or fragrances, making them hypo-allergenic. This type of lanolin lotion is often recommended by doctors for use on infants to treat diaper rash. It can also be used by nursing mothers to ease the dry, cracked, and irritated skin that can surround nipples during frequent nursing. It is safe for use on both types of sensitive skin, and is not harmful if ingested by the newborn.

Lanolin lotion may be used by nursing mothers.
Lanolin lotion may be used by nursing mothers.

Lanolin's natural texture is waxy and somewhat greasy, which can be inconvenient for those working with their hands throughout the day. Blended lotions have the ability to dry into the skin quickly, while still maintaining a protection barrier against drying elements, such as weather, water, and chemicals. These blended creams may be more easily spread across the body as well, making certain formulas ideal for use over large affected areas of skin, such as sunburns, wind burns, and wide spread psoriasis.

What Lotions Have Lanolin in Them?

Lanolin lotion may be used to treat diaper rash.
Lanolin lotion may be used to treat diaper rash.

Many mainstream lotions on the market contain lanolin due to its deep conditioning qualities. Lanolin is a natural emollient, meaning it softens the skin and locks in moisture. By creating a barrier on the skin, lanolin allows the skin to continue to nourish itself without losing moisture to the environment. These properties make this emollient a great ingredient for lotions that are marketed as deep conditioning products, which means lanolin can be found in many top lotion and lip balm brands. Blistex, a popular lip balm, uses lanolin as an ingredient to help soothe chapped lips. Another widely sold product containing lanolin is Aquaphor, a healing ointment for rough, dry, or cracked skin. Aquaphor is also used to help heal wounds and tattoos, as the moisture barrier protects the skin as it works to repair itself.

Other Uses

People with cracked heels may benefit from lanolin.
People with cracked heels may benefit from lanolin.

In addition to lotions, lanolin oil is often applied to wet hair to trap the moisture from products used in the shower. It is applied like a treatment after showering and is then washed off with a shampoo or vinegar rinse, as the thick waxy texture leaves an unpleasant residue on the surface of the hair. Lanolin oil is also recommended by the Mayo Clinic as a relief for cracked nipples due to breastfeeding. This type of lanolin must be 100% pure and unrefined, so as to prevent babies from ingesting toxic ingredients.

Who Should Avoid Lanolin 

Newborns typically have extremely sensitive skin.
Newborns typically have extremely sensitive skin.

Lanolin is hailed as a miracle moisturizer, but that doesn't mean that it is the right ingredient for everyone. People that have allergies to wool should avoid contact with products containing lanolin, as it is a wool by-product. Lanolin that has been mixed with other ingredients should never be ingested, as consuming large amounts can be poisonous. Caution may be necessary when giving lanolin-based lip balms to children. Additionally, people with acne-prone skin should not use lanolin products as a facial moisturizer since it has been known to clog skin and exacerbate breakouts.

Where To Buy Triple Lanolin Lotion

Triple Lanolin lotion is a specific brand of moisturizer that has been popular in the beauty community since the 1960s. Many manicurists favored the brand and continue to do so today. It is available in beauty supply stores, like Sally's Beauty, as well as sold through most major online retail platforms. A quick search on Amazon will yield results of various Triple Lanolin products, from their original line to some of the newer products the company has created. While many competitors have cropped up since Triple Lanolin first hit the market as an answer to people's skin care woes, it remains a top seller in the market and a beloved holy grail passed down from mother to daughter.

How To Make Homemade Lotion With Lanolin

If you don't want to buy a lotion that lists lanolin near the end of a long list of ingredients with names you can't pronounce, you may find the idea of making your own lanolin lotion more appealing. Luckily, it is not too difficult of a process and can be completely customized to meet your needs and preferences. You will first need to determine and purchase the other ingredients for your lotion. As an emollient, lanolin can trap moisture in the skin through the barrier it creates, but it can't physically deliver and bind moisture to the skin the way a humectant does. Therefore, the most nourishing lotion will contain ingredients that fall under both categories to maximize the amount of moisture being delivered and sealed into the body. Common humectants include aloe vera gel and honey. For a well-reviewed DIY lanolin lotion, you will need to stick to the following steps.

Ingredients

  • Three parts lanolin
  • Three parts water
  • Three parts beeswax
  • Five parts almond oil
  • Three parts witch hazel
  • Two parts borax

Process

You can use any measurements for the ingredients above as long as you follow the ratio listed. The assembly of the lotion begins by melting the beeswax, lanolin, and almond oil in a dish that has been placed in hot water, much like the way that you would temper chocolate. While that is fully melting, you will heat the remaining ingredients together on the stovetop until the mixture comes to a boil, at which point you will pour in the lanolin blend. After giving the entire cream a thorough stir, you can leave it to cool; once cooled, it will be ready to be placed into a jar or bottle of your choosing and can then be enjoyed immediately. Feel free to personalize your cream with natural scents or other humectants, but always make sure to do your research on how different ingredients might interact with one another.

Discussion Comments

turquoise

@ddljohn-- There is unscented lanolin body lotion out there. Natural lanolin has a color and scent to it. They can process the lanolin and remove the scent and color, but the end result is a more expensive lotion that is not very natural.

stoneMason

@ddljohn-- I think you need lanolin lotion with water in it.

I don't recommend lanolin hand lotions with many additives because they're no longer natural. Chemicals and drying ingredients like alcohol and fragrance are not going to help your dry skin. You can find natural lanolin lotion at stores which contain nothing but lanolin and water. The water makes the lotion easier to spread and skin absorbs it faster. This is the kind I use and I got it from a health food store. I highly recommend it. I used to have terribly dry, cracked skin in winter because I work outdoors. Sometimes, my hands were in such terrible shape that they would bleed. Lanolin has completely resolved this problem. Now I have hydrated, soft, healthy skin throughout winter.

ddljohn

100% pure lanolin is nice, but it's difficult to spread. I had to rub it into my hands for a long time and it still did not absorb entirely. It sort of just sat on my skin. I also can't say that I like the scent much. It smells like sheep to me. I think I'm just going to get regular hand lotion with lanolin next time. I know that pure lanolin is very beneficial, but I can't use this stuff.

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    • Lanolin lotion may be used to treat sunburns and windburns.
      By: Rostislav Sedlacek
      Lanolin lotion may be used to treat sunburns and windburns.
    • Moisturizing lotions that contain lanolin may benefit people who have sensitive skin.
      By: Africa Studio
      Moisturizing lotions that contain lanolin may benefit people who have sensitive skin.
    • Lanolin is derived by the sebaceous glands of sheep and other woolly animals.
      By: taraki
      Lanolin is derived by the sebaceous glands of sheep and other woolly animals.
    • Lanolin lotion may be used by nursing mothers.
      By: Dmitriy Melnikov
      Lanolin lotion may be used by nursing mothers.
    • Lanolin lotion may be used to treat diaper rash.
      By: Ilike
      Lanolin lotion may be used to treat diaper rash.
    • People with cracked heels may benefit from lanolin.
      By: librakv
      People with cracked heels may benefit from lanolin.
    • Newborns typically have extremely sensitive skin.
      By: cantor pannatto
      Newborns typically have extremely sensitive skin.