Definition of lanolin in US English:



  • A fatty substance found naturally on sheep's wool. It is extracted as a yellowish viscous mixture of esters and used as a base for ointments.

    • ‘He makes a marvellous, naturally scented cream from an old English recipe using only natural products - lanolin, bees wax, almond oil and aloe vera that he grows himself.’
    • ‘Lip balm containing beeswax, lanolin, coconut oil or other natural moisturizers is an alternative.’
    • ‘And it will include research into additional medical uses for sheep products such as lanolin and keratin.’
    • ‘I do not use paraffin, Vaseline, lanolin or petroleum based by-products in my range because these ingredients are barrier products in my view.’
    • ‘For example, creams that contain lanolin - a wax derivative of sheep's wool - can cause allergic reactions and are comedogenic (tending to aggravate or cause acne).’
    • ‘There are currently two main commercial routes to obtain cholesterol: extracting it from the spinal cords of cattle; and from lanolin, the natural grease found on wool.’
    • ‘Vitamin D3 from sheep's wool, lanolin, is acceptable as halal.’
    • ‘We sometimes suggest a product containing lanolin, beeswax or coconut oil to moisturize the lips and discourage licking.’
    • ‘A natural, undyed wool cover can be re-waterproofed with lanolin every few weeks, or as needed.’
    • ‘The oil component of ointments is typically petrolatum; creams tend to contain lanolin.’
    • ‘Moisturizers contain humectants, such as glycerin, methyl glucose esters, lanolin, or mineral oil, that replace oils in the skin and promote its effectiveness as a moisture barrier.’
    • ‘When the season's over, their wool, meat, and lanolin can be sold for profit.’
    • ‘I'd remind them how he'd come in from the shearing shed for morning tea, smelling of oil and lanolin, teasing and annoying my grandmother as he ate his Sao's.’
    • ‘Although wool can be damaged by moths, it contains lanolin, a naturally occurring oil that protects it from these insects.’
    • ‘Lipids (eg, petroleum, lanolin, mineral oil) block moisture from leaving the skin by using occlusive or semiocclusive materials to form a barrier for the skin to better restore itself.’
    • ‘Two weeks after application of lanolin, only 24% of fruit treated with lanolin alone remained attached.’
    • ‘They contained no artificial colours, drying alcohol, synthetic fragrances, oily lanolin or mineral oil - all staple ingredients in many leading brands.’
    • ‘The young émigré began by packaging and peddling lanolin - sheep oil - disguising the odor with extracts of lavender, pine bark, and water lilies.’
    • ‘These creams usually contain lanolin, wheat germ and cocoa butter.’
    • ‘Common allergens include topical antibiotics, lanolin in topical moisturizers, chemicals in dressings, preservatives, and fragrances.’


Late 19th century: coined in German from Latin lana ‘wool’ + oleum ‘oil’ + -in.