Lanolin is a natural moisturizer and has many uses in skin care, including protection from the elements and treatment of skin problems. Lanolin and its derivatives are used in the protection, treatment and beautification of human skin.
In some cases, the lanolin is used as a replacement for animal fats that were previously used in skin care products. For decades people have been using lanolin on their lips to soften and protect them from environmental elements.
But does it work on diaper rash or does it helps prevent diaper rash? And should you use it? This is part of our series on natural home remedies for diaper rash.
What is Lanolin?
Lanolin is a yellow wax like substance that comes from sheep wool and be found in anything related to sheep farming. It comes from the fleece of many types of sheep, but mainly it’s extracted from merino sheep
Wool wax or wool grease is a natural product that is produced by the sebaceous glands of sheep. It is a waxy substance that is similar to animal fats and has been used in medicine for centuries.
Lanolin is primarily composed of sterol esters, which make it waterproof. It is the principal ingredient in many kinds of lotions and creams, including some baby products. Certain breeds of sheep produce large amounts of lanolin.
How is Lanolin Produced?
This product is made with manufacturing processes that reduce certain allergens in the lanolin. Lanolin is extracted from sheep’s wool. The process is performed after the sheep is sheared so the extraction of lanolin causes no harm to the sheep.
Lanolin is a protective barrier for sheep’s wool that is produced naturally. It’s become a popular ingredient in moisturizers, hair care products, and soaps, and is often used as a natural skin care remedy for people who are breastfeeding.
How Lanolin Works
Lanolin is a moisturizing agent that can slow water loss from the skin.
Lanolin, an ingredient found in wool fat and sheepskin lotion has been shown to reduce water loss from the skin by up 30%. The skin contains a natural moisturizing factor that forms a protective layer on the surface of the skin. This moisture prevents water loss from deep in the skin where it can cause dryness, scaling and itching for people with xerosis or dermatitis.
Lanolin is capable of restoring moisture to these areas providing relief from associated discomfort, like diaper rash.
Benefits of Using Lanolin
There is some evidence that lanolin is helpful in relieving sore nipples in breastfeeding women. A study in Brazil found that the application of lanolin to nipples significantly improved nipple pain and physical trauma in breastfeeding women. Lanolin is an occlusive moisturizer that makes sense to include in skincare products. Lanolin is an effective skin protectant with emollient, protective and occlusive properties.
Ointments with lanolin are highly recommended for the treatment of skin diseases that cause severe itching or scaling, including dermatitis, ichthyosis, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (eczema). The continuous application of lanolin-containing ointment over a period of 1 to 2 weeks can relieve symptoms and accelerate recovery from eczema.
Lanolin is also effective in protecting the delicate skin on your face from dryness, windburn and chapping, making it ideal for use under makeup or as a night cream. It’s also used on radiation therapy skin burns to help people recovering from radiation treatment.
How is Lanolin Used in Skin Care?
Lanolin has been used for decades to treat and prevent diaper rash. It’s also a popular remedy for windburn, sunburns and dry skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. If you’ve ever used the classic type of yellow baby lotion then you have probably used a lanolin-based product or an aloe vera based product (aloe vera is also great on diaper rases).
Is Lanolin Safe for Use on Children?
Lanolin is considered safe to use on children, but there are certain precautions you should take. Lanolin is very effective in moisturizing dry itchy skin which makes it an ideal ingredient for infants with atopic dermatitis, also called eczema.
Lanolin-based creams are considered safe for children over the age of 2 months. If you have concerns, ask your child’s pediatrician if it is appropriate to use lanolin products on your child’s skin.
Can Lanolin be Used for Diaper Rash?
To answer that question, we must first discuss diaper rash and what causes it. Diaper rash is caused by the combination of bacteria, urine, feces, moisture and lack of air circulation against your baby’s skin. There are several different types of diaper rash, so its worth assessing what is causing your babies diaper rash.
Since lanolin itself doesn’t have any anti fungal properties, it must be combined with other ingredients to fight yeast diaper rash. It’s often combined with zinc oxide, which creates a barrier on your baby’s skin to prevent irritation from the wetness and fecal matter that causes diaper rash.
While most commercial lotions contain chemicals that can cause more harm than good in the long run, pure lanolin can be used as an effective diaper rash treatment because it’s hypoallergenic and completely free of additives, fragrances and dyes.
When Should I Use Lanolin?
Since lanolin is such a natural product, you should use it whenever you feel the need. If your baby has red irritated skin, you can apply it to his or her diaper area. You can use it the same way you use other diaper rash creams, put it on after changing wet diapers and leave as a barrier. Remember to always change soiled diapers promptly.
One of the best uses for lanolin is as an application before bedtime to moisturize your babies skin while he sleeps.
How to Use Lanolin on Diaper Rash
When you’re dealing with a diaper rash, it’s best to stick with pure lanolin. If you have a baby who is in the early stages of diaper rash, you can apply a small amount to the affected area after each diaper change and let it soak in for about 5 minutes before putting another diaper on your baby.
If your baby is in the later stages of diaper rash, you can apply a thin layer to your baby’s skin before putting on a diaper. Let the lanolin sit for about 5 minutes and then cover it up with a clean diaper. If your child has very irritated skin, consider leaving the diaper off for 30 minutes to an hour while you put some lanolin on the skin.
Lanolin Diaper Rash Ointment Recipe
You can use pure lanolin to make your own diaper rash cream, but it’s important to note that the final product will not be 100% pure. However, if you’re using organic shear butter or cocoa butter, you should have a soothing and moisturizing cream that is free of chemicals found in commercial brands.
Combine 1 tablespoon of lanolin, 1 tablespoon of cocoa butter and 2 tablespoons of shea butter in a small bowl or glass jar. Put the lid on the jar and shake it until all three ingredients are mixed together. If the mixture is a bit too solid you can add some coconut oil to loosen up. Shea butter is great for diaper rashes and coconut oil it also great for diaper rashes.
Apply a thin layer to your baby’s skin after each diaper change and let sit for at least 5 minutes before putting another diaper on. This is an ideal solution for any baby with sensitive skin. You can add essential oils to help with diaper dermatitis.
You can also mix it with zinc oxide which is also used for diaper rashes. Zinc oxide powder, another natural substance can be mixed into the above recipe and these will help with diaper rashes or other skin irritation. Zinc oxide is often the active ingredient in many diaper rash creams.
Are There Any Risks with Using Lanolin?
Lanolin is considered to be a safe product for use on your child’s skin, but it can cause some mild side effects. It’s great for healing cracked skin and is one of the more natural over the counter medicines available. Its been recommended for breast feeding mothers for their broken skin and cracked nipples, they just need to wipe it off before feeding.
Some people are allergic to lanolin, so if you notice that your baby’s skin becomes red or irritated after applying lotion containing lanolin then discontinue use. If you see any allergic reactions then stop and let your healthcare provider know and seek medical advice. Like cod liver oil and other organic herbs, you should always seek advice from your health care providers before using or if any adverse reactions.
Can Lanolin Be Used With Cloth Diapers?
No, you should not use lanolin with a cloth diaper because it can cause the diaper to repel moisture and lead to leaks and floods in your baby’s clothing. It’s best to stick with using a paper liner as a barrier when using pure lanolin if your baby will be wearing a cloth diaper.
Take Away On Using Lanolin for diaper rash
If you want to use natural products on your baby’s skin then using a pea sized amount of lanolin topical can work wonders. Remember to always change wet and dirty diapers frequently and give your baby plenty of diaper free time.