What is Lanolin?
Lanolin is a unique natural substance derived from the greasy coating on raw wool. It is an all-natural, highly effective substance which acts as a moisture barrier and lubricant. Its unique properties have been recognised for centuries, and have not, as yet, been possible for scientists to duplicate.
In Australia, the use of lanolin became less common from the late 1940s onwards, as the use of harsh toxic chemicals became the industry norm.
In the last few decades however, there has been a shift in people’s attitudes and the realisation that society cannot continue to degrade the environment through the use of petrochemical based products. Consequently, there has been a move towards using more environmentally sesitive alternatives.
Quick facts on lanolin:
Lanolin is secreted from a sheep’s sebaceous glands and acts as a waterproofer to protect the sheep’s wool from the elements
It is made up of a mixture of wax, fatty acids and alcohols
Crude lanolin constitutes approximately 5-25% of the weight of freshly shorn wool
The wool from one Merino sheep will produce about 250-300ml of recoverable wool grease (lanolin)
Lanolin is extracted from wool via a scouring process. This process involves washing the wool in hot water with a special wool scouring detergent to remove dirt, wool grease (crude lanolin), suint (sweat salts), and anything else stuck to the wool. The wool grease is continuously removed during this washing process by centrifugal separators, which concentrate the wool grease into a wax-like substance melting at approximately 38ºC.
To date, scientists have been unable to duplicate either the performance or composition of lanolin.