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Lanolin Allergy? Say It Ain't So!

I'm always reading about how this or that person has a sensitivity to lanolin, but I rarely see specifics as to what the symptoms are.

I suspect that I may have a lanolin allergy, but I'm hoping I'm actually just poor at lathering. I bought a tube of Musgo Real a month or so ago, and though I love the scent, I feel like it doesn't provide a slick enough lather for me. As soon as I pass over a spot with my razor, there's no residual slickness; it becomes dry and sticky almost immediately. Maybe it's my imagination, but I've also noticed that the lather seems to dry out fairly quickly on my skin.

The other day I bought a puck of MWF, hoping for a fantastic shave, but experienced similar results as I did with Musgo. I tend to have dry skin, so I always use some sort of AS, but after applying MWF to my face and simply rinsing it off and patting dry, my face got a bit tight after a few minutes. Maybe my lathering technique needs work, but I can generate great lather with Tabac, TOBS, Proraso, AOS, etc. I know people have difficulty lathering MWF, but I think I lathered it pretty well (thick).

Does this sound like an lanolin sensitivity? I experience no burning, itching, reddening, or anything of that sort. If anything, it seems like either my face or the soap is sucking up all of the slickness.
 
sounds like not enough water. Lanolin based creams are the slickest of slick for me. my current faves: Godrej lime and menthol
 
I've used my MR twice, and gotten fierce irritation both times. It seems like razor burn, but I get nothing comparable with any other of several creams I rotate through day to day.

I came to the conclusion that something in there doesn't agree with me, and I figure lanolin is a reasonable suspect.
 
I don't think that most people have an allergy to lanolin. I think that lanolin can cause acne break outs.

Seems to trigger my acne, but then again certain other products that don't contain lanolin can also cause my face to break out. It is a problem that people with sensitive skin have to deal with.

Allergies usually cause a rash of some sort I believe.
 
Lanolin allergy is something that comes up a lot in this forum and in my opinion it is way too over-diagnosed. If you look at the scientific literature, getting a true lanolin allergy is about as likely as getting hit by lightning (between 1 and 10 people per million in the general population).

Some people's skin may burn from the wool wax alcohols in lanolin, but its an irritant reaction, not an allergy. Its no different from the burning one gets with aftershave - the only exception being aftershave alcohol evaporates far more quickly compared to wool alcohols. True contact allergies cause severe itching and small weeping blisters, not burning.
 
I have a reaction to lanolin, it gives me cycstic like painful bumps where every I put it, I can't even use A&D first aid ointment on a cut because it will make it worse...+1 on more water
 
Thanks for the feedback! It's possible that I just haven't been using enough water. I'll make sure to give MWF another try the next time I shave.
 
I have a reaction to lanolin, it gives me cycstic like painful bumps where every I put it, I can't even use A&D first aid ointment on a cut because it will make it worse...+1 on more water

Heavy ointments don't neccessarily need to contain lanolin in order to severely aggrevate cystic acne. If you are prone to cystic acne, you should be avoiding oil containing products on your skin as much as possible.
 
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Sue

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If you would like to test lanolin for allergic reaction, you would need to do a 24 hour skin patch test.

Dab a very small fingertip of lanolin on your clean, dry, inner elbow after your shower.

Rub it in well. Do not touch or disturb for 24 hours checking the spot periodically. If nothing appears after 24 hours, you can pretty safely rule it out.

If redness, bumps, itching or anything odd appears, wash it off immediately.

You can also do this with any product that you feel is causing you an issue.

If you'd like a small amount of pure lanolin for testing, send me a PM with your full name and shipping address. (I do not keep/share personal info).

You can also do the same 24 hour test with a dab of MWF.

I really don't think dryness is an allergic reaction but I may be way off base...:blink:
(I don't have any cool letters after my name).

Sue
 
I had the same reaction to Musgo. Not enough glide and tacky residue - and I mixed it nice and wet, far wetter than any cream or soap I've used.

I'd have to put that down to the lanolin. And it's the only product I've used that was uncomfortable/irritating while on my face (fine after washing off). Given I've not used a product with lanolin before or since, I'm putting that down to the lanlolin too.

There's a difference between sensitivity and allergy, as alluded to by RazorPete, and any immunologist can tell you the same. I work with one, and she works in a children's hospital. Some kids are sensitive to particular foods (i.e nuts or dairy), but most grow out of it. This is often misdiagnosed by GPs and naturopaths from poor test procedures, as 'Allergy'. If they're truly allergic, they're far less likely to grow out of it, and the effects can be far more obvious/severe/dangerous.

Same goes for adults and topical products. Sensitive = mild reaction, Allergic is usually far more severe.
 
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When I use lanolin containing products such as washing liquids for wool or MWF bath soap I get a severe and very uncomfortable itch. There is no direct redness but it just itches like mad. I have not allergy tested all the ingredients in these tow products but since they both have lanolin and give similar itchiness, that is enough for me to put lanolin down as a prime suspect.
 
If you would like to test lanolin for allergic reaction, you would need to do a 24 hour skin patch test.

Dab a very small fingertip of lanolin on your clean, dry, inner elbow after your shower.

Rub it in well. Do not touch or disturb for 24 hours checking the spot periodically. If nothing appears after 24 hours, you can pretty safely rule it out.

If redness, bumps, itching or anything odd appears, wash it off immediately.

You can also do this with any product that you feel is causing you an issue.

If you'd like a small amount of pure lanolin for testing, send me a PM with your full name and shipping address. (I do not keep/share personal info).

You can also do the same 24 hour test with a dab of MWF.

I really don't think dryness is an allergic reaction but I may be way off base...:blink:
(I don't have any cool letters after my name).

Sue

Hey Sue,

Patch testing is a good suggestion and is the best way to diagnose a contact allergy. One thing that should be mentioned is that, since contact dermatitis is a delayed hypersensitivity reaction, it often can take longer than 24 hours to actually see the results of a skin test. We usually consider three days to be the optimal time to look at the results of a patch test. However, this is using covered patches on the back in a controlled standard testing procedure.

A more convenient way to diagnose a contact allergy without going to the dermatologist is to do a 'use test'. This consists of applying the substance in question daily to a small area of the inner forearm for one week. If you see a dermatitis reaction, which would be extreme itching and spotty small 1-2 mm papules or small blisters, this is diagnostic.

However you must be careful to distinguish a dermatitis reaction from an irritant reaction, which shows a more uniform redness without the spotty blistering type of reaction. Also an irritant reaction is less itchy than allergic and instead usually has a more burning irritated sensation associated with it.

When you are doing a patch test, or a use test as above, you have to be careful not to apply substances which are known irritants, otherwise the irritant reaction could mask any allergic response you are trying to elicit. Soap would be a good example of a known irritant, which, left on the skin for any length of time would create this type of irritant reaction. Your suggestion of using pure lanolin, or lanolin contained in the petrolatum based product 'Aquaphor' would be better to use for a patch or 'use' based allergy test.

I'll just say again, if you look at the two references I listed above, they show that while irritant reactions from lanolin are common, getting a true lanolin allergy is as likely as getting hit by lightning.

I learned many of these things from my mentor Frances Storrs, one of the leaders in contact dermatitis field, when I was a dermatology resident a number of years ago, and have been interested in contact dermatitis ever since.

I hope this is helpful.

Pete
 
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I think that I may have a lanolin allergy when it comes to wool. I tried to find lanolin in wool alcohol form but couldn't. The only thing I could find that had lanolin in it was some kind of nipple cream for when women breastfeed. Can I use this to do a patch test to see if I am allergic to lanolin (what is found in wool)? Or do I need to find something else to do the test with?
 
Thanks for the feedback! It's possible that I just haven't been using enough water. I'll make sure to give MWF another try the next time I shave.

MWF does like plenty of water, when you think you've gotten it right try adding a bit more. The lather should look glossy and have the consistency of yogurt. MWF gives me the best lather of any soap I've tried, including Tabac.
 
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