Lanolin, also called Adeps Lanae, wool wax, wool fat, anhydrous wool fat or wool grease, is a greasy yellow substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals such as sheep. Chemically akin to wax, it can be used as a skin ointment or water-proofing wax, and is also sometimes used as a raw material in the manufacture of such products as shoe polish. Lanolin's ability to act as a waterproofing wax aids sheep in shedding water from their coats. Certain breeds of sheep (Beltex) produce large amounts of lanolin, and the extraction can be performed by squeezing the wool between rollers. Most or all of the lanolin is removed from wool when it is processed into textiles, such as yarn or felt.

Chemical makeup

Lanolin is chiefly a mixture of cholesterol and the esters of several fatty acids. Crude (non-medical) grades of lanolin also contain wool alcohols, which are an allergen for some people. Recent studies also indicate that antibiotics are present in the lanolin. The extract is insoluble in water, but forms an emulsion. At one point, the name Lanolin was trademarked as the generic term for a preparation of sheep fat and water.cite court
litigants=Jaffe v. Evans & Sons, Ltd.
court=Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York
date=March 21, 1902


Lanolin is used commercially in many products ranging from rust-preventative coatings to cosmetics to lubricants. Some sailors use lanolin to create a slippery surface on their propellers and stern gear to which barnacles cannot adhere. The water-repellent properties make it valuable as a lubricant grease where corrosion would otherwise be a problem, particularly on stainless steel, which becomes more vulnerable to corrosion when starved of oxygen.

Medical grade lanolin is used as a cream to soothe skin, as it is hypoallergenic and bacteriostatic. In this form it is used by some breastfeeding mothers on sore and cracked nipples. This grade of lanolin can also be used to treat chapped lips, diaper rash, dry skin, itchy skin, rough feet, minor cuts, minor burns and skin abrasions. Many varieties of shaving cream contain lanolin. As an ointment base, it is readily absorbed through skin, facilitating absorption of the medicinal chemicals it carries. Some folk medicine traditions use lanolin in the nose, in small amounts, to treat head colds.

Lanolin is often used by baseball players to soften and break in their gloves (shaving cream that contains lanolin is popularly used for this).

The name given to the product 'Oil of Olay' is derived from the word "lanolin," a key ingredient, which was chosen by the inventor, Graham Wulff.cite web | url = | title = History of Olay | publisher = Procter & Gamble]

Using cosmetic products which contain impure lanolin can result in an allergic reaction in some people.

Lanolin is often used as a raw material for producing vitamin D3.

Anhydrous lanolin is also used as a lubricant for brass instrument tuning slides.


Crude lanolin constitutes approximately 5-25% of the weight of freshly shorn wool. The wool from one Merino sheep will produce about 250-300 ml of recoverable wool grease. Lanolin is extracted from wool via a scouring process. This process involves washing the wool in hot water with a special wool scouring detergent to remove dirt, wool grease (crude lanolin), suint (sweat salts), and anything else stuck to the wool. The wool grease is continuously removed during this washing process by centrifugal separators, which concentrate the wool grease into a wax-like substance melting at approximately 38°C (100°F).



* [ Lanolene - Lanolin Coatings, Waxes, Protectants and Lubricants (]
* [] Lanotec - Lanolin based alternatives to petro-chemical products
* [ Lansinoh - Lanolin ointment for Breastfeeding Mothers (]

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  • lanolin — fatty matter extracted from sheep s wool, 1885, from Ger. Lanolin, coined by German physician Mathias Eugenius Oscar Liebreich (1838 1908) from L. lana wool (see WOOL (Cf. wool)) + oleum oil, fat (see OIL (Cf. oil) (n.)) + chemical suffix IN (Cf …   Etymology dictionary

  • Lanolin — Lan o*lin (l[a^]n [ o]*l[i^]n), n. [L. lana wool + oleum oil.] (Physiol. Chem.) A peculiar fatlike body, made up of cholesterin and certain fatty acids, found in feathers, hair, wool, and keratin tissues generally. [1913 Webster] Note: Under the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Lanolīn — Lanolīn, aus Schafwollfett dargestellte fettähnliche Substanz, besteht aus Fettsäureestern des Cholesterins, Isocholesterins und Cerylalkohols sowie aus freien Cholesterinen. Das käufliche L. enthält überdies 25 Proz. Wasser. Man gewinnt das L.… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Lanolin — Lanolin, s. Fettschweiß …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Lanolin — Lanolīn, Wollfett (Lanolīnum, Adeps lanae), aus dem Wollfett (Wollschweiß) durch Zentrifugieren und Waschen mit Wasser und Alkalien gewonnene gelbliche Masse, Ester verschiedener Fettsäuren mit Cholesterin, 1885 durch Liebreich als… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • lanòlīn — m 〈G lanolína〉 kem. masna tvar koja se dobiva pranjem ovčje vune (sjerine), a zatim se različitim postupcima pročišćava i kondenzira; uporaba u parfumerijskoj industriji i industriji sapuna ✧ {{001f}}lat …   Veliki rječnik hrvatskoga jezika

  • lanolin — ► NOUN ▪ a fatty substance found naturally on sheep s wool and used as a base for ointments. ORIGIN from Latin lana wool + oleum oil …   English terms dictionary

  • lanolin — [lan′olin΄, lan′olēn΄lan′ə lin΄] n. [< L lana, WOOL + oleum, oil + IN1] a fatty substance obtained from sheep wool and used as a base for ointments, cosmetics, etc.: also lanoline [lan′olin΄, lan′olēn΄] …   English World dictionary

  • Lanolin — Wollwachs (auch häufig als Lanolin bezeichnet, Wollfett, lat. Lanolinum, Adeps lanae, frz. Lanoline) ist das Sekret aus den Talgdrüsen von Schafen, das bei der Wäsche von Schafswolle zurückgewonnen wird. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Lanolin 2 Gewinnung 3 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • lanolin — lanolated /lan l ay tid/, adj. /lan l in/, n. a fatty substance, extracted from wool, used in ointments, cosmetics, waterproof coatings, etc. Also, lanoline /lan l in, l een /. Also called wool fat. [1880 85; < L lan(a) WOOL + OL2 + IN2] * * * ▪… …   Universalium

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