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CAS number 91053-41-7

EC number: 293-306-0

Acetylated Lanolin and its related ingredients moisturize the skin, hair and nails. These ingredients act as a lubricants on the skin surface, which gives the skin a soft, smooth appearance. Lanolin helps to form emulsions and blends well with nearly all other substances used in cosmetics and personal care products. Lanolin also possesses adhesive characteristics.


Acetylated Lanolin ; Ritacetyl ; Unilan AL ; Acetyl Ester of Lanolin ; Acelan SP Acetylated lanolin ; Acylan ; Chemically improved lanolin 61788-48-5 ; 8029-87-6 ; EINECS 262-979-2 ; Lanolin acetate ; Lanolin ; acetate Lanolin ; acetates ; Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol ; Uniwax ALA, Alac ; Mix: Acetylated Lanolin & Cetyl Alcohol ; EINECS 262-980-8 ; UNII-0SNN716810P ; Acetulan lanolin alcohol ; Einecs 262-980-8 ; lanolin alcohol acetate ; Acetylated Lanolin Alcohols ; Lanolin ;  alcohols ; acetates;Acetic acid, esters with lanolin alcohols ; wool yolk ; wool wax ; wool grease

Acetylated Lanolin is an ointment-like material isolated from wool that is sheared from sheep. Lanolin can be separated into Lanolin Oil, a liquid phase, and Lanolin Wax a solid phase. Heating Lanolin with water (hydrolysis) produces a mixture of organic acids (Lanolin Acid) and a mixture of organic alcohols (Lanolin Alcohol). Acetylated Lanolin, Hydrogenated Lanolin, and Hydroxylated Lanolin result when acetate, hydrogen and hydroxyl groups are added to Lanolin, respectively. Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol results when acetate is added to Lanolin Alcohol. Lanolin and its related ingredients are widely used in the formulation of cosmetics and personal care products. These ingredients can be found in baby products, skin care, shaving, manicuring, hair care, suntan and sunscreen products, as well as eye, lip and facial makeup.

Acetylated Lanolin and its related ingredients moisturize the skin, hair and nails. These ingredients act as a lubricants on the skin surface, which gives the skin a soft, smooth appearance. Lanolin helps to form emulsions and blends well with nearly all other substances used in cosmetics and personal care products. Lanolin also possesses adhesive characteristics.

Acetylated Lanolin is derived from the sheep sebaceous gland. The raw material isolated from sheep's wool is also called Adeps lanae, wool wax, wool fat or wool grease. Lanolin aids sheep in shedding water from their coats.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits Lanolin to be used in Over-the-Counter (OTC) drugs that protect the skin, and in OTC drugs that protect the anorectal area. Lanolin is also permitted to be used as an opthalmic emollient in OTC ophthalmic drug products. In food, FDA permits the use of Lanolin as an softener in chewing gum. Lanolin is also approved for use as an indirect food additive. For example, it may be used as a component of cellophane that comes in contact with food. The safety of Lanolin and lanolin-derived ingredients has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Lanolin, Lanolin Oil, Lanolin Wax, Lanolin Alcohol, Acetylated Lanolin, Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol, Hydrogenated Lanolin and Hydroxylated Lanolin were safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products. In 2003, the CIR Expert Panel considered available new data on Lanolin and the other Lanolin-derived ingredients and reaffirmed the above conclusion.

CIR Safety Review: The CIR Expert Panel noted that Lanolin and related ingredients, as a group, are used extensively in cosmetics and personal care products, as well as in many other consumer products, and there has been ample opportunity for a large proportion of the population to be exposed to some of these materials. Tests with Acetylated Lanolin, its related cosmetic ingredients, and with numerous cosmetics and personal care products containing these materials attest to the safety of these ingredients used in cosmetics and personal care products. The acute toxicity of these materials is low and tests for skin sensitization are negative.

Lanolin Lanolin is the purified secretory product of the sheep sebaceous gland. The raw material is referred to as Adeps lanae, wool wax, wool fat or wool grease. Lanolin comprises 10 to 25% of the weight of sheared wool. Lanolin is a complex mixture of a large number of compounds. High molecular weight esters make up aproximately 87% of a typical Lanolin sample. The remainder of the mixture is comprised of 11% free compounds (aliphatic alcohols, sterols, fatty acids and hydrocarbons) and of 2% unidentified compounds. Since Lanolin is composed predominantly of high molecular weight esters, it is ciassified chemically as a wax arid not as a fat. The esters have not been characterized

Acetylated Lanolin is more hydrophobic than Lanolin since many of the hydrophilic hydroxyl groups in the latter substance have been esterified to acetate. Acetylated Lanolin, therefore, fails to form w/o emulsions, is soluble in cold mineral oil and has a slightly lower melting range (30 to 40°C) than Lanolin. Acetylated Lanolin forms a water resistant film when applied to the skin resulting in the reduction of transepidermal water loss.

Acetylated Lanolin is a material which repels water better than plain lanolin, and does not combine with other products readily. It is a very water resistant material which, when applied to the skin, reduces the water loss through the skin-s surface. It gives a velvety feel to baby products as well as skin, hair, and bath products. It is quite a safe product to use on the skin.

Store in sealed containers, preferably away from heat or light.


Extensive clinical experience indicates that there is a low incidence of sensitivity to these materials among exposed persons. This appears to be mainly due to the Lanolin Alcohols. There was no evidence of photosensitization. However, comedogenic effects, or the formation of pimples, from cosmetics and personal care products containing Lanolin and related materials have been reported.

Lanolin is a complex esterified mixture of high molecular weight esters of fatty acids with aliphatic and alicyclic alcohols and sterols. Hydrolysis yields a mixture of compounds; purification yields individual components which may then be further modified by alkoxylation, esterification, or amidation to form materials not found in natural lanolin. Lanolin can also be separated into components by temperature-dependent physical or mechanical methods. This yields a variety of materials, possessing different properties, which can then be subjected to further chemical processes. Lanolin and its derivatives include hard solids, pastes, and mobile liquids. They may be water-soluble or water insoluble. They may be mixtures (e.g., Lanolin Wax) or fairly pure compounds (e.g., Lanosterol). Lanolin is also an important commercial source of certain sterols, especially cholesterol. As the characteristics of Lanolin derivatives are variable, these materials find uses in all types of cosmetics and personal care products designed for skin, nail and hair care.

Lanolin undergoes acetylation when reacted with acetic anhydride. Ester bonds are formed between the acetate moieties and the hydroxyl groups of the Lanolin hydroxyesters as seen below.

Lanolin, also called wool yolk, wool wax, or wool grease, is a wax secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals. Lanolin used by humans comes from domestic sheep breeds that are raised specifically for their wool. Historically, many pharmacopoeias have referred to lanolin as wool fat (adeps lanae); however, as lanolin lacks glycerides (glycerol esters), it is not a true fat. Lanolin primarily consists of sterol esters instead. Lanolin's waterproofing property aids sheep in shedding water from their coats. Certain breeds of sheep produce large amounts of lanolin.

Lanolin's role in nature is to protect wool and skin from climate and the environment; it also plays a role in skin (integumental) hygiene. Lanolin and its derivatives are used in the protection, treatment and beautification of human skin.

A typical high-purity grade of lanolin is composed predominantly of long chain waxy esters (approximately 97% by weight) with the remainder being lanolin alcohols, lanolin acids and lanolin hydrocarbons.

An estimated 8,000 to 20,000 different types of lanolin esters are present in lanolin, resulting from combinations between the 200 or so different lanolin acids and the 100 or so different lanolin alcohols identified so far.

Lanolin’s complex composition of long-chain esters, hydroxyesters, diesters, lanolin alcohols, and lanolin acids means in addition to it being a valuable product in its own right, it is also the starting point for the production of a whole spectrum of lanolin derivatives, which possess wide-ranging chemical and physical properties. The main derivatisation routes include hydrolysis, fractional solvent crystallisation, esterification, hydrogenation, alkoxylation and quaternisation. Lanolin derivatives obtained from these processes are used widely in both high-value cosmetics and skin treatment products.

Hydrolysis of lanolin yields lanolin alcohols and lanolin acids. Lanolin alcohols are a rich source of cholesterol (an important skin lipid) and are powerful water-in-oil emulsifiers; they have been used extensively in skincare products for over 100 years. Notably, approximately 40% of the acids derived from lanolin are alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). The use of AHAs in skin care products has attracted a great deal of attention in recent years.

Lanolin attracted attention owing to a misunderstanding concerning its sensitising potential. A study carried out at New York University Hospital in the early 1950s had shown about 1% of patients with dermatological disorders were allergic to the lanolin being used at that time. By one estimate, this simple misunderstanding of failing to differentiate between the general healthy population and patients with dermatological disorders exaggerates the sensitising potential of lanolin by 5,000–6,000 times.


The European Cosmetics Directive, introduced in July 1976, contained a stipulation that cosmetics which contained lanolin should be labelled to that effect. This ruling was challenged immediately, and in the early 1980s, it was overturned and removed from the directive. Despite only being in force for a short period of time, this ruling did harm both to the lanolin industry and to the reputation of lanolin in general. The Cosmetics Directive ruling only applied to the presence of lanolin in cosmetic products; it did not apply to the many hundreds of its different uses in dermatological products designed for the treatment of compromised skin conditions.


Modern analytical methods have revealed lanolin possesses a number of important chemical and physical similarities to human stratum corneum lipids; the lipids which help regulate the rate of water loss across the epidermis and govern the hydration state of the skin.

Cryogenic scanning electron microscopy has shown that lanolin, like human stratum corneum lipids, consists of a mass of liquid crystalline material. Cross-polarised light microscopy has shown the multilamellar vesicles formed by lanolin are identical to those formed by human stratum corneum lipids. The incorporation of bound water into the stratum corneum involves the formation of multilamellar vesicles.

Skin bioengineering studies have shown the durational effect of the emollient (skin smoothing) action produced by lanolin is very significant and lasts for many hours. Lanolin applied to the skin at 2 mg/cm2 has been shown to reduce roughness by about 35% after one hour and 50% after two hours, with the overall effect lasting for considerably more than eight hours. Lanolin is also known to form semiocclusive (breathable) films on the skin. When applied daily at around 4 mg/cm2 for five consecutive days, the positive moisturising effects of lanolin were detectable until 72 hours after final application. Lanolin may achieve some of its moisturising effects by forming a secondary moisture reservoir within the skin.

The barrier repair properties of lanolin have been reported to be superior to those produced by both petrolatum and glycerol. In a small clinical study conducted on volunteer subjects with terribly dry (xerotic) hands, lanolin was shown to be superior to petrolatum in reducing the signs and symptoms of dryness and scaling, cracks and abrasions, and pain and itch. In another study, a high purity grade of lanolin was found to be significantly superior to petrolatum in assisting the healing of superficial wounds.

Lanolin and its many derivatives are used extensively in both the personal care (e.g., high value cosmetics, facial cosmetics, lip products) and health care sectors such as topical liniments. Lanolin is also found in lubricants, rust-preventive coatings, shoe polish, and other commercial products.

Lanolin is a relatively common allergen and is often misunderstood as a wool allergy. However, allergy to a lanolin-containing product is difficult to pinpoint and often other products containing lanolin may be fine for use. Patch testing can be done if a lanolin allergy is suspected. It is frequently used in protective baby skin treatment and for sore nipples from breastfeeding.

Lanolin is used commercially in many industrial products ranging from rustproof coatings to lubricants. Some sailors use lanolin to create slippery surfaces on their propellers and stern gear to which barnacles cannot adhere. Commercial products (e.g. Lanocote) containing up to 85% lanolin are used to prevent corrosion in marine fasteners, especially when two different metals are in contact with each other and saltwater. The water-repellent properties make it valuable in many applications as a lubricant grease where corrosion would otherwise be a problem.

7-Dehydrocholesterol from lanolin is used as a raw material for producing vitamin D3 by irradiation with ultraviolet light.

Baseball players often use it to soften and break in their baseball gloves (shaving cream with lanolin is popularly used for this).

Anhydrous liquid lanolin, combined with parabens, has been used in trials as artificial tears to treat dry eye. Anhydrous lanolin is also used as a lubricant for brass instrument tuning slides. Lanolin can also be restored to woollen garments to make them water and dirt repellent, such as for cloth diaper covers.

Lanolin is also used in lip balm products such as Carmex. For some people, it can irritate the lips. Lanolin is sometimes used by people on continuous positive airway pressure therapy to reduce irritation with masks, particular nasal pillow masks that can often create sore spots in the nostrils. Lanolin is a popular additive to moustache wax, particularly 'extra-firm' varieties.

Lanolin is used as a primary lubricating component in aerosol-based brass lubricants in the ammunition reloading process. Mixed warm 1:12 with highly concentrated ethanol (usually 99%), the ethanol acts as a carrier which evaporates quickly after application, leaving a fine film of lanolin behind to prevent brass seizing in resizing dies. Lanolin, when mixed with ingredients such as neatsfoot oil, beeswax and glycerol, is used in various leather treatments, for example in some saddle soaps and in leather care products.

Crude lanolin constitutes about 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 by 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 centrifuge separators, which concentrate it into a waxlike substance melting at approximately 38 °C (100 °F).

Lanolin is a waxy substance naturally produced as a protective barrier for sheep's wool. It's become a popular ingredient in moisturizers, hair care products, and soaps and is widely promoted as a natural skin care remedy for people who are breastfeeding. Learn about the potential risks, safety, efficacy of lanolin and lanolin-based products

The sebaceous glands of sheep secrete lanolin, which keeps their wool soft, moisturized, and guarded against the outside elements. Lanolin has similar properties to the sebum that's secreted by our skin.

To extract lanolin for commercial use, raw wool is either treated with a soap solution or kneaded in hot water. A centrifuge then isolates the lanolin. Further processing includes bleaching, deodorizing, and drying.

In the United States, there are over 50 unique types of sheep. There are new breeds introduced all the time from a pool of over 1,000 different species available worldwide. Certain sheep are raised solely for their wool. Others are grown for their meat or dairy, while many types serve multiple purposes.

The wool of different breeds varies by length and texture. There are fine wool sheep, long wool sheep, medium wool sheep, hair sheep, and specialty types.

Fine wool sheep produce the most lanolin. Although the fleece of fine wool sheep is generally shorter, it has high market value because it's not as itchy. For instance, Merino wool is a popular product from fine wool breeds. Its high lanolin content keeps the texture of Merino wool soft and fluffy.

The industrial processing of raw lanolin transforms it into a product called Lansinoh.

 Lansinoh is virtually free of pesticides, detergents, and natural alcohols. As opposed to raw lanolin, Lansinoh has less allergic potential, making it more appealing for widespread use.

Lanolin is known as an occlusive moisturizer. This means lanolin works by reducing water loss from the skin, similar to petroleum. While petroleum can block in 98% of the water from our skin, lanolin prevents evaporation by 20% to 30%.

Lanolin is effective but not as heavy as petroleum. After purification, it's mixed with other types of moisturizers, along with fragrances and dyes, etc. for commercial use.

Doctors often recommend lanolin to people who are breastfeeding to ease nipple pain. La Leche League International also endorses this use. Study results are mixed. Some researchers report that the benefits of lanolin extend beyond other standard treatments (such as using expressed breast milk).

Others indicate that lanolin has minimal impact on soreness after breastfeeding.5 Nonetheless, people given lanolin by their doctors report greater satisfaction with their overall postpartum care.

Several infant care products also contain lanolin, like baby oil and diaper rash cream. Beyond its relevance on the maternity ward, a variety of over-the-counter products use lanolin as well, such as:

Eye creams, Hemorrhoid medication, Lip balm, Lotion for dry skin, Makeup and makeup removers, Medicated shampoos, Mustache wax, Shaving cream.

Lanolin differs slightly from human sebum because it does not contain any triglycerides. On a molecular level, lanolin alcohols and acids make up the majority of lanolin. These compounds combine to form various structures known as esters, diesters, and high-molecular-weight hydroxyesters.

When an alcohol and an acid bond together, esters are produced. This reaction is a condensation reaction, meaning water is lost during the process.

"Wool fat" is a term often used to describe lanolin. However, a more accurate descriptor is "wool wax." Waxes and fats are similar but not quite the same. Both will leave a grease spot on when placed on paper and are dissolvable by the same solvents.

The physical properties of waxes, like lanolin, are ideal for lubricating, polishing, and waterproofing. Similar to beeswax, lanolin is malleable but also hardens at room temperature. That's why "firm" mustache creams frequently contain lanolin.

Although not all research results agree, some studies have demonstrated lanolin's benefits for breastfeeding. A study based in Brazil placed 180 women in two test groups. One group used highly purified anhydrous (HPA) lanolin, while the second group was instructed to apply expressed breastmilk (another common remedy for nipple soreness).

Over a seven-day treatment period, the lanolin group reported significant improvements in pain and physical trauma when compared to the expressed breastmilk group.

As an occlusive moisturizer, it makes sense to include lanolin in the formulation of skin care products and creams. There is no hard evidence to suggest that lanolin is better than petroleum-based or synthetic waxes; however, many people like the fact that lanolin is a natural substance.

While many people swear by the moisturizing benefits of lanolin, others experience negative reactions or find it ineffective. If you notice irritation from lanolin-based products, you're better off avoiding them and trying alternatives, like beeswax or petroleum products.

Experimenting with different treatments will help you discover the best substances for your skin type. If you're unsure about whether lanolin is safe for you to try, ask a dermatologist or pharmacist. When using new products, it's always best to start with a small area of application to see how your body will react.

Lanolin is a greasy yellow substance made from secretions (sebum) from the skin glands of sheep to condition their wool. It is a natural, animal-derived product harvested from shorn wool. Unrefined lanolin has been used for thousands of years by various cultures, and refined lanolin has been used for more than a hundred of years in ointments.

Lanolin is a long-chain waxy ester that contains cholesterol, but with a different composition than human sebum. There are two common forms: lanolin and lanolin alcohol. The latter, the one that’s more commonly used in skin care, adds a molecule to provide a smoother skin feel. Because of its high fat content, lanolin is occlusive, meaning it prevents the evaporation of water from the skin (transepidermal water loss). This keeps skin moisturized and helps the skin heal.

Lanolin is generally considered safe for intact skin. However, ointments and occlusive products are designed to be used on healing skin, not normal and intact skin. This is the trouble with lanolin. Despite being a common ingredient in a number of products marketed to help heal eczema, burns, scrapes, raw nipples and post-procedure skin, the incidence of lanolin allergy is rapidly increasing. For example, a recent study of more than 1,000 children with eczema found that 66% of them reacted to lanolin alcohol . Another study looking at allergic reactions in patients with chronic wounds found 11% reacted to lanolin .  Lanolin is not what our skin needs when it is trying to heal!

The rapidly rising incidence of lanolin allergy is thought to be related to increased exposure to lanolin. This is not surprising given how ubiquitous it has become in skin care products. The public and health care professionals need to be educated about the increasing allergy to lanolin as many pediatricians, dermatologists and plastic surgeons continue to recommend lanolin-containing products.

There are many other ingredients that can replace lanolin to prevent transepidermal water loss. The cheapest options are petroleum jelly (Vaseline), mineral oil and paraffin. All are hypoallergenic but made from the hydrocarbons of fossil fuels (which also have bad reps).

If you want a more natural option, try something with beeswax, or plant-based ingredients like vegetable waxes and hydrogenated plant oils, which is a key ingredient in restore healing balm Made from 100% plant-based ingredients, this soothing balm soothes and protects skin and alleviates eczema symptoms, dryness, chapped lips, burns, scrapes and more.

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