Lanolin is an ointment like material isolated from sheep wool. Actually, it is produced by the sebaceous gland of the sheep. Lanolin can be seperated into a liquid oil or a solid wax form. If heated, a mixture of organic lanolin acids and lanolin alcohols can be produced.
These lanolin derivatives are frequently found in skincare products as they impart a smooth soft feel to the skin and act as conditioning agents in hair products. They are lubricants. In addition, lanolin helps the water and oil phases of skincare products to blend. So they also act as emulsifiers.
Although testing shows lanolin and its derivatives to be safe, and sensitization to be low, allergic reactions to lanolin derivatives are still possible. Also, there is some evidence that lanolin derivatives, such as acetylated lanolin alcohols, may clog pores and may exacerbate acne-like conditions in people who are prediposed.