Do you have a Lanolin allergy?
Get to know Lanolin, 2023’s Allergen of the Year
Every year, the American Contact Dermatitis Society names an allergen of the year to highlight in the hope of bringing awareness and relief to Americans with allergies. 2023’s allergen is: Lanolin. Read on to learn what Dr. Om, who specializes in general dermatology, in addition to skin cancer and Mohs surgery, has to say about this substance, how it can present in allergic individuals and what you can do about it!
“Lanolin is a natural wax-like substance derived from sheep’s wool, and used in many household products, such as Aquaphor and other skincare products. While it is generally well-tolerated by most individuals, lanolin allergies can occur,” says Dr. Om. This hypersensitivity is a form of contact dermatitis that occurs when the skin directly encounters the allergenic substance and the immune system reacts adversely to it. Symptoms of lanolin allergy may include: skin redness, itching, inflammation, hives, or blistering of the affected area.
While anyone can develop a lanolin allergy, certain patient populations may be more susceptible to it. Dr. Om shares that “people with pre-existing allergic conditions like atopic dermatitis (eczema), chronic dermatitis, venous insufficiency, and leg ulcers are especially prone.”
Dr. Om’s Top Tips:
- If you’ve been diagnosed with (or suspect you might have) a lanolin allergy, it is important to read product labels carefully: look for lanolin or related terms such as “wool wax,” “lanolin oil,” or “lanolate” on ingredient lists.
- Before using a new skincare or cosmetic product, perform a patch test by applying a small amount of the product to a small area of your skin. Monitor the area for any signs of an allergic reaction, such as redness, itching, or rash.
- Seek lanolin-free alternatives: There are many lanolin-free products available on the market, including moisturizers, lip balms, and cosmetics. Look for products specifically labeled as “lanolin-free” or suitable for individuals with allergies.
It’s worth noting that lanolin allergies are relatively uncommon, and many people can safely use products containing lanolin without any adverse reactions. However, if you have a known lanolin allergy, it’s essential to take precautions to avoid potential exposure and seek appropriate medical advice if needed.