17.1.13

Why I do not use Lanolin


The trouble with my opinions is they are so different from the majority of beauty bloggers. They blog about skincare or makeup and I generically comment "that's a pretty coloured lipstick or that cleanser sounds amazing". Secretly I'm thinking does that lipstick contain lead?, is that red colour from carmine? What hidden nasties are in the ingredient list? It's a difference of opinion which lands me in some heated debates. People feel that since they are not dropping down dead from using a face cream what's the harm. The truth is we do not know the long term effects certain ingredients have on our bodies.

I have a strong opinion about lanolin and like everything in life people do not always agree with me. You may remember I mentioned receiving Burt's Bee lip balms at Christmas. I was disappointed to discover they contained lanolin. In case you don't know lanolin "is a yellow waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals"Wikipedia.You may be wondering why I avoid lanolin, after all it is a natural ingredient. I shall explain.

From a non meat eater view point, extracting lanolin is not harmful to animals but it is a by product of the meat industry. I understand that not everyone feels this way and I have no intention of telling the whole world they must become Vegan. It's a lifestyle choice but just know that I'm supporting the Veggies on this one.

My second reason for not using Lanolin is I am allergic to it and wool. You can tell me until you are blue in the face that allergies are a myth (yes people do make that claim) but I'm living proof they exist. Bottom line is lanolin is a known skin irritant for some people. If you ask me "should I use lanolin?" my answer remains the same. You need to patch test as there is a chance you may experience an allergic reaction.

In the 1960's lanolin gained a bad reputation as there was a rise in people reporting allergic reactions to it. This also coincides with an increase in pesticides used by farmers on crops and livestock. Lanolin is an ingredient that could be contaminated with pesticides and other unknown chemicals. Which leads on to the claim it could be a carcinogen. I'm not a farmer but as far as I'm concerned pesticides are common place so this risk still exists. This also generated concerns for the use of lanolin in nipple balms. Could it affect a baby who ingests via breast feeding? As with everything in life opinion is divided. Google is a great resource and lanolin nipple balms are widely debated in the online community.

Finally, lets discuss the blunt fact that lanolin is what I like to call "sheep grease". It's natures waterproofing so why do I need to waterproof my lips or nipples? It sounds ignorant but I just don't get it. There are so many wonderful plant alternatives which do not coat the skin in this way. Does it remind you of anything? Yes, you got it, sounds similar to how mineral oils behave on the skin. Skin needs to "breathe". I know it's not a good phrase to use but I want my skin to have contact with the air/environment and that is not going to happen if you grease it up like a Christmas Turkey.

So there you go folks, in a nut shell this is how I feel. If you have an opinion to share on lanolin (or Shaun the Sheep) then leave a comment below. If you would like a natural balm recommendation there are plenty on this blog. Simply use the search box in the side bar.


37 comments:

  1. The fact that description contains the word 'secreted' is enough to put me off haha! Since I found out what it actually was I've not liked the idea of it. I don't actively avoid it but if I was unsure about whether to buy something and it contained that, then I wouldn't buy it xx

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    1. I agree with you where it comes from makes me feel a little queasy.

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    2. Yeah, that is proper gross! I had no idea where exactly on a sheep lanolin came from until I read this, I guess I thought they got it off the wool or something? Never really thought about it too much. Thanks Sarah!

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    3. I know a lot of people think are unsure of Lanolin origins, some people do believe it's fat which of course it is not. More like sheep sweat!

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  2. oh wow, I had no idea. I'm so rubbish with ingredients :( probably need to start researching more!!! glad I found your blog, I just followed on gfc :)

    www.aztecmess.com

    xxx

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    1. Thank you very much for following. If you have an ingredient question I'm always here to try and help :)

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  3. This is such a good post. I once gave a girl a really lovely, natural cream and it bought her out in hives. The cream had been used with great success for many people suffering from eczema and is extremely mild. I wanted to discover what was causing her to react, as I did not want to give her the same reaction again! Turned out that it was corn. The girl was aware that she could not eat sweetcorn, but had never used skincare with a high enough concentration of corn in it to cause a reaction before. Human individuality means that what works well for one may not work at all, or could even make things worse for another. I have come across articles by people who doubt the existence of allergies. I generally try to respect the opinions of others, but anyone who doubts the existence of allergies is just a fool. I don't care who they are or what qualifications they have (being a medical professional almost makes it worse, as they should know better.) Anyone who lives with the misery of allergies has a right to slap the fool that questions their existence!

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    1. Reacting from foods via personal care products is very interesting (something I have also blogged about). You are spot on we are all different what works for my eczema doesn't necessarily help someone else. At end of day differing opinions are what makes the world interesting.

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  4. I enjoyed your blog about this topic. There are probably many cheap ingredients that find there way into cosmetics, lotions and beauty products that are not always good for your skin. They may smell wonderful and have the luxury look but sometimes the hype, pr and press creates the illusion this this is the next must have product and everyone should be using it. This is a subject that I could go on and on about but for today will leave it at this...and we are all entitled to our own opinion...stick to your guns x

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    1. Glad you enjoyed reading. I agree with what you have said here about PR hype etc, celebrity endorsement is another one that gets annoying.

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  5. Fantastic, keep speaking your mind! I hadn't even thought about lanolin until I had little one. I expect the purpose of lanolin in nipple cream is to water proof your nipples to prevent the enevitable cracking that can occur when breast feeding. I know first hand how painful that can be but I agree that not letting your skin breathe only causes more problems. I also agree that we should be extremely careful what our babies ingest.
    I am lucky that I live the kind of life where no make up or hair products is not a crime. On the rare occasions i need to buy products yyour experiences an opinions come in very handy :)

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    1. Thanks for the lovely comment Emma x

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  6. I much prefer reading blogs like yours and mine i.e those that promote cruelty-free, natural products and are perhaps a little different to others. I feel so many bloggers all write the same old thing about big name brands etc, maybe even some feel they have to follow the trends so they 'fit in'. I think that a lot of people are still oblivious to the hidden nasties lurking in their beauty products, and even if they are fine at the moment, you are right, who knows what a build up of ingredients could do to the body? xx

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    1. I must admit the reason I started my blog was I wanted to stand out from the crowd and I knew of so many amazing brands that don't get the credit they deserve. Having allergies means I've always felt a little different and out of place, although these days there is more awareness. It's always nice to connect with like minded people x

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  7. I am pretty sure lanoline has led me to glogged pores in the past

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    1. I find this very interesting that you feel this way, it doesn't surprise me.

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  8. I can only agree.
    I am also allergic to lanolin and I am disappointed to find them in some brands. I am even more disappointed when they do not write it in the ingredientslist on their website. :-(

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    1. My biggest complaint is websites not listing ingredients, it's so important when you have allergies

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  9. I have to agree with you on this, I have seen countless posts and you tube videos with people raving about lanolin based lipbalms and it makes me feel a bit ick! I didn't realise that the Burts bees balms had it in too, I have used those before. Carmine is also one that is hard to avoid if you use natural color cosmetics, I am strict about avoiding it in food. I feel like it should be easier to be natural but it involves a lot of choices and research. I like to read other peoples reviews and thoughts but allways make up my own mind about things.

    http://anagoesgreenbeautyorganic.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. I'm not sure if all of Burts lip balms contain it, I was given the tinted ones, the chubby looking ones in a cardboard tube. I blogged a picture on a a Christmas present post. Yes, going natural really does take some research as much as I hate doing that I do enjoy learning about ingredients.

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  10. Oh no! I thought my lanolin lip balm was my holy grail! I want to hydrate my lips not waterproof them! I love how informative your posts are you really know your stuff! Do you have any lip balms you would reccommend?

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. My personal favourite lip balms are Crazy Rumors and Badger Balm. My favourite website for vegan & natural balms is http://www.cutecosmetics.co.uk/lip-balms-9-c.asp
      Also if you don't want to wait around for deliveries Balm Balm & Figs n Rouge are available at Boots :)
      You should find with a natural balm you don't need to reapply all day long because it works at fixing your dry skin.

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  11. Great post Sarah. I always check skincare/makeup ingredients for lanolin; the beauty therapist i see for facials advised to me avoid it as it can clog pores xx

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    1. Glad you have enjoyed reading. You are the second person to mention blocking pores, it makes perfect sense if you are "waterproofing" then you are masking the skin :)

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  12. I love that you speak your mind Sarah, one of the many reasons I love your blog. I believe someone can be allergic to anything and it really annoys me when brands say things are hypo-allergenic as you can't guarantee someone will not react to something.
    It is kind of disgusting when you think about where lanolin comes from. I probably own loads of products with it in but will avoid thinking about as I love my make up too much. Yes i know head in the sand is bad. xx

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    1. Thanks for the lovely comment Alice. You are probably are more likely to find this in lip balms, foot and hand creams, although I may be wrong as I'm not using make up I'm a little unsure

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  13. Brilliant post, really appreciate your insight... scrutinizing the ingredients in products is becoming increasingly important to me and I'm so glad we have people like you to help steer us along the way.

    I'm shocked that some people don't believe in allergies - they clearly have no idea how they can affect so many lives. It terrifies me to think what could happen to my little boy should he ingest the wrong foods by accident (nuts, chickpeas or lentils).

    Nic x

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    1. Someone sent me a document from a Dermatologist who believes allergies are a myth. I admit I haven't read it because it just makes me so angry the thought that someone thinks like this. I am very fortunate not to have life threatening allergies so I can only imagine the pressure that brings to you as a Mother.

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  14. What?how could someone say that allergies are a myth? Not all people have the same allergies,i've never heard of wool allergy like what you have,but I do believe it exists.I don't have skin allergies,but my nose does.Sometimes dermatologists are wrong..

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    1. Wool allergy isn't uncommon, it's an irritating fibre on skin.

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    2. Oh,I see.How about silk?are you allergic to it?

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  15. This is such an interesting post, especially with the 60s history part that you mentioned as I've been researching a lot into the usage of pesticides recently for a Uni essay and some of the links between pesticides and allergies are frightening to say the very least.

    Would you mind if I linked this post into a review I'm doing of Dr Lipp's Nipple Balm? It is a positive review as I personally don't have any issues with using products that contain lanolin, but I would like to even up the playing field and offer a different perspective that people could read about. Let me know what you think either way, I won't be offended if you say no! xx

    Evelyn @ We Were Raised By Wolves

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    1. If you didn't see my tweets then I'm happy to link back to this post. Glad you found this of interest :)

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  16. Such a shame that a product that can cause such severe reactions is included in products aimed at people with sensitive skin / eczema :(

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    1. Totally agree, get's me very annoyed when people promote eczema products containing this ingredient and paraffin

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  17. I didn't knnow that lanolin has gained a bad rep since that many years, as I thought it was kindof a new ingredients. I mean it was really popular last year and so. I have bought the Lanolips balm, I haven'T tried it yet, but since it's bought I'll use it.

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    1. Lanolin has been around for as long as we have had sheep :) it's been used for centuries, nothing new about it.

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