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Lanolin, also known as wool alcohols, is a substance obtained from sheep fleece that’s often used in cosmetic products. “While lanolin is a great skin moisturizer, it is also a common cause of allergic contact dermatitis,” explains dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. Some people have a reaction to lanolin, which can reveal itself with itching, swelling and redness on the skin. A test administered by your doctor can determine whether you have a contact allergy to lanolin. Zeichner recommends several brands that are lanolin-free that you can choose among if you do not tolerate this ingredient well.
The sensitive-skin formulation of Lubriderm Daily Moisture Dermatologist Developed Lotion has no dyes or fragrance and is enriched with vitamin B5. The water-based formula’s main softening ingredients are glycerin and mineral oil. For a more emollient effect, Zeichner suggests Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream. The water-based moisturizer works especially well for sensitive-skinned users with parched skin, as well as in the treatment of more problematic conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Another mineral oil and water-based product that skips lanolin on its ingredient list is U-Lactin Therapeutic Body Lotion. Use it up to three times a day, as well as after sun exposure to restore hydration to your dry skin.
The lightweight, vegan-friendly Vitamin E Lotion by Bio-Health is formulated with organic and wild-cultivated plant ingredients, and is free of additives. You can use the lotion alone day and night after cleansing, or follow with the line’s lanolin-free vitamin E facial cream for more intense moisture. Aside from being lanolin-free, Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Moisturizing Dew by DDF -- short for Doctor’s Dermatologic Formula -- is free of dyes, fragrance and oil. The formula contains a blend of aloe vera, beeswax, grapeseed and vitamins A, E and C to condition your skin without clogging your pores.
When wintertime leaves your hands chapped and tight, Lubrex Hand Cream by Allderm can come to your rescue with a soothing quench of moisture. Sunflower seed oil is the hydrating ingredient in the formula, and aside from lanolin, irritatants like propylene glycol and sodium lauryl sulfate are also axed from the list of additives.
All-Over Sensitive Skin
Zeichner says that while not a “lotion” Vaseline Petroleum Jelly is a product he prescribes for super-sensitive patients with an intolerance to lanolin. A blend of fine waxes, mineral oils and paraffin are whipped together to create a slick product that melts into your skin with the warmth of your body. Apply it to dry spots as needed for protection and moisture.