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Lanolin: 365 Days in 2023's Allergen of the Year


Dermatology Times reviews updates and news surrounding this past year's allergen of the year.

HLPhoto/Adobe Stock
HLPhoto/Adobe Stock

Earlier this year, the American Contact Dermatitis Society named lanolin, a moisturizing wax extracted from sheep wool and commonly used in skin care, personal care, and industrial products, as the 2023 Allergen of the Year.

As the year of lanolin winds down, Dermatology Times is reviewing news, studies, and more related to the allergen.

Lanolin Named Allergen of the Year

The prevalence of lanolin contact allergy in dermatitis patients varies from 1.2% to 6.9%. Patients with statis dermatitis, leg ulcers, perianal/genital dermatitis and atopic dermatitis may be more at risk for a lanolin allergy.

Jonathan Silverberg, MD, PhD, MPHS, associate professor of dermatology at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC, spoke to Dermatology Times about lanolin's role in treating common skin conditions and what clinicians should know about lanolin allergies.

The Woolly Culprit: Lanolin Revealed as an Uncommon Cause of Dermatitis on Normal Skin

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) delves into the "lanolin paradox," where patients may test positive for lanolin but tolerate it on normal skin. The North American Contact Dermatitis Group has studied lanolin sensitivity, finding it common and linked to personal care products. The AAD also addresses the debate over lanolin concentration in patch testing and provides insights from dermatologist Bruce A. Brod on lanolin's composition, variability, and its role in allergic contact dermatitis.

Is lanolin an allergen?

Study authors, Blair Jenkins, MD, PhD, and Donald Belsito, MD, MBA, from Columbia University Irving Medical Center, discuss the controversy surrounding lanolin allergenicity and the challenges of appropriate patch testing for lanolin allergy. They identify specific populations, including those with certain dermatological conditions and age groups (such as stasis dermatitis, chronic leg ulcers, atopic dermatitis in children, and the elderly), where the concern for lanolin allergy may be higher. The article emphasizes the difficulty in detecting lanolin allergy through patch testing, as patients may tolerate lanolin on healthy skin but develop contact dermatitis when using lanolin-containing products on inflamed skin.

Safety Assessment of Lanolin-Derived Ingredients as Used in Cosmetics

Experts discuss the role of the Expert Panel for Cosmetic Ingredient Safety Members and Liaisons and whether should consider whether the safety assessment of lanolin-derived ingredients should be reopened.

The impact of refinement on the sensory properties of lanolin

The study investigates the sensory characteristics of lanolin-based and non-lanolin nipple care products, along with raw materials, using quantitative descriptive analysis by a trained sensory panel. The evaluation includes appearance, aroma, flavor, mouthfeel, rub-in, and after-feel attributes. Highly purified anhydrous lanolin was found to be the lightest in color, least sticky, least greasy, and most spreadable among the lanolin products. While all lanolin products met criteria for pleasant use in nipple creams, the study suggests that sensory attributes, such as color and texture, vary based on lanolin refinement processes and differ from non-lanolin alternatives.

Analyzing the Lanolin Cholesterol Market Trends 2023: Opportunities and Challenges

Experts present an 89-page report on the size, share, scope, growth and potential of the lanolin market.

Have predictions about 2024's Allergen of the Year? Have insights into lanolin as a contact allergen? Share with us by emailing our team at DTEditor@mmhgroup.com.

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