Lanolin, your new best friend
What does a sheep shearer and a breastfeeding mother have in common? They both know what lanolin is. Lanolin is an oily substance extracted from sheep’s wool. It’s long been recommended to treat sore cracked nipples from breastfeeding.
Turns out Lanolin is the best natural lip balm one can use.
Is it better than using Papaw ointment or Vaseline?
Papaw ointment is an Australian cult product used for multitude of skin purposes (e.g. wounds and chaffing) as well as a lip balm. Many people think Papaw ointment is a natural product but basically its 4% papaya (active ingredient) and the rest is petroleum jelly and preservative. I have not been able to find any convincing scientific evidence that Papaw ointment is more than an expensive version of Vaseline. The claim that the enzymes from fermented papaw are highly concentrated and thus less is needed is unsubstantiated.
Vaseline or petroleum jelly is really not something I recommend for moisturisation and here is why:
- Petroleum jelly is classified as an occlusive, whereas Lanolin is classified as an emollient. Occlusives form a layer on the surface of the skin and moisturise by retarding the evaporation of water (Rawlings et al., 2004). This means that it can block pores and can lock in residue and bacteria. Emollients are oils and lipids that spread easily on the skin and provide partial occlusion resulting in hydration (Rawlings et al., 2004).
- The molecular structure of Lanolin closely resembles that of human skin lipids and has been shown to improve the rate of barrier repair (Mao-Qiang et al., 1995).
- Lanolin holds up to 400 times its weight in water, which means it will also deliver moisture back into your lips at the same time.
- Unlike lanolin, petroleum jelly cannot be metabolised.
- Lanolin is classified by the EWG as low hazard: https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/703386/LANOLIN/#.WrqaQxhh2Rs
- Petroleum is classified by the EWG as a moderate hazard: https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/704786/PETROLATUM/#.WtyPfBhh2Rs
So while both are considered safe. Lanolin is arguably more effective.
Make sure you use a pure 100% lanolin product. I use this product. Give it a try!