Lanolin Allergy: History, Epidemiology, Responsible Allergens, and Management

Bailey Lee; Erin Warshaw


Dermatitis. 2008;19(2):63-72. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Allergy to lanolin has been recognized by dermatologists for decades. This review summarizes the history, epidemiology, and allergenicity of lanolin and its derivatives. “The lanolin paradox” and the safety of pharmaceutical-grade lanolin products are also discussed.

DURING THE LAST SEVERAL DECADES, allergic contact dermatitis from lanolin and its derivatives has been debated. Questions regarding the prevalence, the precise antigen(s), and the detection of lanolin allergy have all been posed.[1,2] In spite of a global research effort, many of these questions remain unanswered. The goal of this review is to summarize the existing literature on allergic contact dermatitis from lanolin. Differing viewpoints on the epidemiology, allergenic components, proper detection, and sources of exposure to lanolin from historical, present, and future perspectives are discussed.


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