Volume XX - Nr.2 - October 2005

Lanolin or Lanolide?

Lanolide main features:
  • constant and odourless composition;
  • free from pesticides, heavy metals and allergens;
  • not sensitive to oxidative processes;
  • white, stable and odourless emulsions;
  • complete dossier for safety assessment;
  • perfectly interchangeable with lanolin in the same application sectors.

Lanochemistry is a technological sector of primary and persistent cosmetic and dermopharmaceutical interest.

It is based on sheep wool fat and provides scores of lanolin derivatives after suitable purification, fractionating, extraction, hydrolysis, hydrogenation, ethoxylation, acetylation, propoxylation, etc., for a wide range of topical preparations.


Lanolin remains, however, of basic interest as a raw material. Unfortunately, this natural compound, according to the literature, is never inconvenience-free, has of late given rise to new problems because of its exposure to environmental pollution caused by the world wide spreading of pesticides, antivermins, fungicides and herbicides.

These are substances that sheep are daily in contact with and that cause permanent contamination of their wool and subsequently of the lanolin derived from it.

Ointments, lipogels and anhydrous lipidic sticks

Lanolide can be used in 5% to 50% in combination with conventional lipids used for these chemicophysical forms.

  • W/O EMliSIONS: Lanolide can be used together with primary emlisifiers as well as with the lipid constituent of emlisions having an external fat phase (dispersion medium). Average doses are ranging around 10%.
  • O/W EMliSIONS: Lanolide can be used as a contrast emlisifier and as a hydrophilic lipid constituent in emlisions having a watery dispersion medium at an average dose of about 5%.
  • SOAPS AND SOLID NON-SOAPS: Lanolide has a usefli application as superfatting agent in soaps and syndets. Optimum doses range between 1% and 2.5%.
  • POWDERS: 1%-2% Lanolide atomized in liquid state on pyrogenic silica may be admixed in talcum and other dusting powders having a lubricating, emollient and protectin action.
Reconstituted lanolin bases

The need for lanolin to be 100% free from chemical pollutants which would be harmful to the skin even in slight quantities, has led the lanolin industry itself to look for, design and produce alternative reconstituted lanolin bases.

The same properties must be as close as possible to the complex natural mixture but with no impurities and hence with no toxic, irritative or sensitizing effect. This research has led to a wide range of lanolin substitutes which, however, do not always have the same properties as the natural product.


Vevy Europe, thanks to its longstanding experience in basic and applied research on wool fats and their derivatives (for which it has been granting international know-how licenses since as far back as 1960) has been engaged in the development and large scale production in its own plants of a substance called Lanolide - Vevy codex 02.0911, since 1980.

As far as practical application purposes are concerned, Lanolide is identical and probably better than the best lanolin. Over the decades Lanolide has gained a strong foothold among most of the important European users.

What are the characteristics that the formulating engineer requires for lanolin? First of all the typical binding and water absorption capacity which derive from the peculiar “plasticizing” action of lanolin.

As compared with lanolin, Lanolide is not sensitive to oxidative processes. Lanolide is a compact, ivory colored mass, more thready than lanolin and, in particular, having only a very mild smell.

These features are of paramount importance for good quality and acceptability (even from an olfactory standpoint) of the finished product. A great deal of attention has been paid to safety and hence to the pharmacotoxicologic, dermopharmacologic and clinical testing of Lanolide.

Lanolin/Lanolide Interchangeability

As for hydrophilia, Lanolide is perfectly interchangeable with lanolin and can therefore be used in the same application sectors. The can be no doubt about the fact that Lanolide, besides solving the problem related to pesticides in lanolin, also eliminates the risk of skin sensitization often caused by lanolin and its derivatives, as exhaustively described in the reference literature.



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