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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.

Sarah x