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

Bailey Lee; Erin Warshaw


Dermatitis. 2008;19(2):63-72. 

In This Article


Lanolin is a common component of consumer products. The potential benefits of this renewable resource deserve careful consideration. Whereas allergic contact dermatitis from lanolin and its derivatives was thought previously to be common, recent reports now show it to be less so. High-risk populations include those with chronic dermatitis, especially venous stasis dermatitis. Dermatologists should therefore reserve a higher suspicion for lanolin allergy in these patients, especially when they present with new onset or worsening of dermatitis while using lanolin-containing products. More research is needed to determine the antigenicity of different lanolin components and the safety of highly refined medical-grade lanolin for use in wool alcohol–sensitive patients as well as for primary prevention of sensitization to lanolin.

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