Lanolin Basics


Lanolin terminology


The waxy raw material is also known as:

  • wool wax
  • wool grease
  • wool fat
  • adeps lanae.

Generally, the term 'lanolin' refers to wool wax in its refined form. In the pharmaceutical industry, however, 'lanolin' traditionally describes a water-in-oil (w/o) emulsion with a water content of approximately 30% by weight.


In order to avoid confusion, we refer to the refined, waterless substance as 'lanolin anhydrous'.


Centuries of use


Over the course of history, humans have valued sheep as a source of food, milk and clothing. They have been domesticated for 11,000 years, making sheep the oldest domestic animals, second only to the dog.


Throughout this long association, humans have found a use for almost every product supplied by sheep. This includes the waxy material that coats sheep's fleeces and has amazing moisturising properties: lanolin.


Today, there are around 1.1 billion sheep on Earth. In New Zealand, they outnumber humans by an enormous margin, with 3.9 million people to 45 million sheep.