British Society of Cutaneous Allergy (BCSA)


What are the aims of this patient information leaflet?

This leaflet has been written to help you understand more about your contact allergy. It tells you what a contact allergy is, what causes this allergy and what you can do about it.

What is contact allergy?

Dermatitis, also known as eczema, describes a type of inflammation of the skin. Contact dermatitis or contact eczema is a term used when this inflammation is caused by direct or indirect skin contact with something in your environment. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when your immune system causes allergy to a very specific chemical or substance that has been in contact with the skin.

What causes your specific allergy?

Your patch tests indicate that you have a contact allergy to lanolin.

What is lanolin?

Lanolin is a wax which comes from sheep’s wool. It is also known as wool alcohol, wool wax alcohol, lanolin wax, lanolin oil and acetylated lanolin.

What are some products that contain lanolin?

  • Moisturisers, barrier and nappy creams
  • Steroid creams and ointments
  • Hand, face creams, camouflage creams and lipsticks
  • Soaps and bath additives
  • Shoe and furniture polishes.

Lanolin-containing steroid and treatment creams

  • Fucidin ointment
  • Synalar C & Synalar N ointments
  • Synalar & Synalar 1 in 4 ointments
  • Ultralanum plain ointment
  • Metosyn cream
  • Aureocort
  • Lyclear dermal cream
  • Calamine oily lotion
  • Dermatonics heel balm
  • Drapolene.

Lanolin-containing moisturisers and bath additives

  • Eucerin intensive
  • E45 cream and lotion
  • ]Hydrous ointment
  • Zerocream
  • Oilatum Plus bath additive
  • Zerolatum plus bath
  • Oilatum emollient bath additive & Junior bath additive
  • Dermalo bath emollients
  • Sudocrem.

At work look for lanolin in

  • printing inks and cutting oils
  • protective greases
  • sealing materials for metals.

Remember, always check the label, these lists can never be complete and ingredients change.

How can I manage my allergy?

This means that you should avoid putting products containing lanolin onto your skin in the future.

Amerchol is a similar chemical which also should be avoided.

Self-care (what can I do?)

Always check the ingredient listing on the product, package or package insert as these lists can never be complete and ingredients change. This is particularly important for any products purchased outside the EU where some allergens may not be banned.

Created: 2016