Lanolin, also called wool wax, wool grease or wool fat, is an oily substance which is made of extract from the wool of animals like sheep. This extract is refined and purified to form lanolin cream. It is an excellent emollient and is a common ingredient of skin creams, lotions and ointments. It is a good moisturizing agent, but there are instances of lanolin allergy in some people.
This allergy is caused due to the application of certain creams whose main component is lanolin. It is believed that the main cause of the allergy are certain impurities which remain in the cream, even after refining of the extract. It is known that the most of the people who are allergic to this substance, already suffers from other skin conditions like eczema.
If you are allergic to wool then it's most likely that you would be allergic to any cream, ointment, etc., made of lanolin. Many a time, it is found that the symptoms of this allergy appear very early in life or during the teenage years, but it remains undetected for a very long time. So, if you get rashes on your body which does not go away even after applying moisturizers, you may be allergic to this chemical.
Appearance of rash on the skin is one of the most common symptoms of this allergy. Lips and other parts of the face may swell because of it. In some cases, people allergic to it may experience nasal congestion if they are exposed to wool fibers. In such individuals body parts where the creams containing this chemical is applied, would become itchy and rashes would appear.
Rashes due to Lanolin
Rashes are bumps on the skin and it changes the way the skin feels and looks. They may be localized to a single area or may spread throughout the body. You may also observe scaly patches and red itchy bumps. Since rashes would appear due to the use of lanolin creams, avoiding use of this cream is the best option available. Moreover, if you minimize exposure to this substance, the rashes would go away. Some of the medicines which are used for such allergies include topical steroids.
This allergy comes under the category of contact dermatitis, as it is caused due to contact with substances that give rashes. These may also look like the rashes caused by atopic dermatitis. However, there is a difference between the two; rashes due to lanolin allergy can be found only in the areas where it is applied, whereas atopic dermatitis can affect any area of the body.
If you get a chronic rash which not only itches a lot, but also stings and burns, then it is recommended that you get a test done for this allergy. You must go for the test, if rash goes on to form small, clear fluid containing blisters which may swell or ooze. Another pointer is that the rashes caused due to lanolin are found mostly on the face and hands. Cosmetics like creams and lotions are mostly applied on the face and hands as such, these areas are most prone to the contents of the cosmetics, for instance lanolin.
If you get rashes on your body that itches a lot, becomes red and does not go away after some time, be aware, it may be due to your skin reacting to lanolin. It's always best to consult a dermatologist before starting any medication to treat this allergy. It is best to take care and read the contents of the cream or lotion before purchasing it.