Lanolin: FSA Eligibility
What is lanolin?
Lanolin is an amber-colored, fatty substance that is extracted from the wool of sheep before it is washed, and the substance is a wax secreted by the sebaceous glands of sheep. Lanolin is known for its natural waterproofing qualities, and wool-producing animals produce this substance to protect the wool and underlying skin from the ravages of the outdoor environment. As such, this natural substance has been adapted for use by humans and is used extensively in topical products that specialize in the protection and support of skin, especially in sensitive areas. Lanolin's unique emollient properties makes it ideal for skin and beauty products, as it has the ability to soften skin and also acts as a humectant, which means that lanolin has the ability to absorb moisture from the air (WebMD).
What is the medical use for lanolin?
Lanolin has myriad uses in the skin and beauty industry, but it has also been adapted for medical use as well. The most common adaptation of lanolin comes in the form of lanolin cream, which is most often used by nursing mothers to sooth dry, cracked skin around the nipples as a result of a breastfeeding regimen. These creams are carefully formulated to remove any allergenic components that could cause skin irritation, as well as any other environmental impurities (Everyday Health).
Lanolin cream has the additional benefit for mothers in that it does not have to be washed off before nursing, so it is safe for both the mother and child. Over time, lanolin use can help to dramatically reduce pain and discomfort that comes with the start of a breastfeeding regimen, and can contribute to the reduction of skin cracking and irritation and improve the overall comfort of mothers who are nursing (Drugs.com).