Lanolin is a natural byproduct that results from the processing of animal wool, typically that of domestic sheep. Lanolin is secreted by the sebaceous glands of sheep and is a thick, greasy, yellow substance in its unrefined state. When this raw material is processed to remove its impurities, the resulting substance is called anhydrous lanolin.
Anhydrous lanolin is similar to wax and has a wide variety of applications in many different industries. At the same time, it also is structurally similar to the lipids that are found in our skin cells, which is why it is so often used as an ingredient in skin care products.
So what exactly are the uses and benefits of anhydrous lanolin? Here’s what you should know when it comes to the use of anhydrous lanolin in skincare.
Anhydrous Lanolin As a Skin Moisturiser
The most common application of anhydrous lanolin, as a moisturiser, is to treat or prevent dry, rough, scaly, or itchy skin. It can also be used to treat minor skin irritations, such as nappy rash.
How Anhydrous Lanolin Helps Protect Dry Skin
Dry skin is a condition that results from a loss of water in the upper layer of the skin. When an anhydrous lanolin product is applied to the skin, it forms an oily layer on the top of the skin that forces the water in the skin to become trapped inside.
For dry skin applications, anhydrous lanolin is highly effective. However, for people who are prone to breakouts or who are allergic to lanolin, products containing anhydrous lanolin should be avoided.
Anhydrous lanolin also serves as a particularly good additive for hair conditioners, especially in hair conditioners that are made for people with curly hair. Extra curly hair tends to be thick, which is difficult for regular conditioners to penetrate. As a product that is thicker and heavier than most other hair conditioner additives, anhydrous lanolin can add softness while locking in moisture for curly hair.