This most natural of moisturisers has been helping humankind for the last 8,000 years, with records showing the ancient Egyptians were the first ones wise to its powers as an effective skin moisturiser.
Okay, so my little sheep-based business in the rainy Yorkshire Dales may seem a long way from the grandeur of the pyramids and timeless beauty of Cleopatra – but the amazing wonders of lanolin are something me and the pharaohs are in total agreement on.
So what exactly is lanolin?
In essence, lanolin is wax is produced by the woolly coats of sheep. For them, it acts as a super-charged water repellent, helping keep their coats dry, fluffy and heat retaining, even in the most torrential downpour. And believe me, around these parts, those sheep take a soaking or two.
The sheep shearer’s friend
Interestingly, some of the people who first felt the benefits of lanolin were those who sheared sheep. To this day, those rough tough sheep shearers will have the softest hands of anyone you meet, despite working in cold windy outdoor conditions. Constantly gripping the sheep’s fleece as they work, the hands of the sheep shearer instantly reap the benefits of raw lanolin, keeping their hands silky smooth.
Natural, gentle and oh-so versatile
As someone who’s keen on keeping things as natural and additive-free as possible, lanolin balm seemed a natural addition to the Little Beau Sheep range. I was already a devotee and use it as:
- Lip balm to guard against painful chapping in the winter months
- Cuticle cream to avoid painful splitting and peeling (not a great look, I think you’ll agree)
- A way to avoid irritation caused by lovely but cheap earrings – a dab a on the clip can work wonders
- Foot protection against blisters when wearing lovely but uncomfortable party shoes.
Don’t just take my word for it
|Hmmm, looking at that list may say more about me than lanolin.
However, going on the feedback from my Little Beau Sheep flock,
I’m not the only one who’s discovering their own applications for
this sheepy emollient – as you can see alongside. Other uses that
have come my way include an effective way to stopinsect bites from
itching. (This could be due to natural antiseptic properties in lanolin:
scientific ed). It can even keep babies’ bottoms smelling fresh and
rash free thanks to its ammonia busting powers.From nipples to funny bones
nd talking of babies, breast-feeding mums have found it’s a really
soothing way to treat sore nipples. At the other end of the scale, my
dear old dad swears by it as an effective remedy for dry elbows.
Any more for any more? If you have a use for lanolin that you want
share drop me a line and I’ll put it out on the Little Beau Sheep
|Top 6 unusual uses
• Cracked or chapped dogs’ paws
• Soothing shaving nicks and cuts
• A calming balm for super curly hair
• Treating sunburn or skin peeling
• Easing ouchy cracked heels
• Relief for teenage spots
Now for the science bit…
So all of this got me thinking: what’s the science behind lanolin? Well, it turns out that lanolin is the closest thing to our own skin’s protective barrier. Which is why it can be so readily absorbed while still allowing skin to breathe.
Bear with me while I don my white lab coat for a second or two and look serious. Ahem: by applying lanolin to the skin as a balm, the moisture is distributed into the ‘intercellular space of the stratum corneum’. (That’s the outermost skin layer to you and me.) This moisture is then locked in thanks to a natural barrier created on your skin. Effectively, this repairs the barrier function of our outer skin layers when they have become dehydrated or worn.
Who’d have thought sheep could be so darned clever?
To get a daily dash of lanolin on your mitts, Little Beau Sheep Hand Wash and Lotion are always worth keeping by the basin. That way whenever you scrub up, your hands aren’t left feeling dry and dehydrated – just soft and lovely instead.
It works on clothes too
Lanolin is great for outer layers too. Little Beau Sheep’s Woolly Wash refreshes natural fibres thanks to its organic lanolin content,
which leaves woollies fluffy and fresh smelling. Dryer balls also have a similar softening effect on your laundry, helping clothes get softer as
they get dryer. Especially good on little ones’ nappies, I can tell you from first-hand experience 🙂
Take a look and see for yourself
You can put a pot of lanolin balm through its paces using the Little Beau Sheep website. At this time of year, it makes a thoughtful stocking filler too. Small enough to keep in a bag or desk drawer, it’s a power packed little pot when it comes to keeping chapped bits at bay.
Your skin and lanolin
Whilst lanolin has been found to be soothing and relieving for skin complaints such as eczema and psoriasis, you may also have heard about potential allergic reactions. To be honest, the jury’s out on this one as experts really are undecided about lanolin allergies. Suffice to say, if you do experience a reaction to lanolin – such as a rash or swelling – then stop using it right away. If symptoms persist or you feel unwell, contact your doctor immediately. Personally, I haven’t had the slightest problem nor has anyone I know – but responsible bod that I am I felt it only right to point out the possibility. No matter how remote. So there. I’ve done it.
Until next time, take care of yourselves and stay cosy.