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Lanolin (Dry skin)

Lanolin works for dry skin and psoriasis by forming an impermeable film over the skin that limits water loss across the skin surface. Lanolin is the only animal-based fat that is regularly used in emollients, and is extracted from sheep’s wool. A new form of high purity medical grade lanolin called Medilan has been developed due to reported contact irritation from normal lanolin, especially for people living with eczema.

What does the science say?

Level of evidence: B

Like other occlusives, lanolin works by forming a water impermeable film on the skin and thereby limits water loss across the skin surface. In one study, pure lanolin applied twice daily for four weeks was shown effective in treating moderate to severe foot dryness1.

Another mechanism through which lanolin achieves its moisturizing action may be, that it spontaneously forms emulsions with water between the cells of the skin’s outer layers, thereby creating an additional reservoir of water2.

The concentration of an ingredient is important for its efficacy, and therefore products containing the same ingredient may not necessarily have the same effect as in the studies mentioned above. Updated: July. 2017

Updated: July 2017


1Cutis. 2003

2E. W. Clark , I. Steel, 1993


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