The myth of lanolin allergy


  • Albert M. Kligman

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology, Rm. 226 CRB-415 Curie Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
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Address: A. M. Kligman University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Department of Dermatology Rm. 226 CRB-415 Curie Boulevard Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA


Lanolin has the reputation of being an important contact sensitizer. The market place abounds with products that are labeled “lanolin free”. In fact, lanolin is at most a weak contact allergen. The supposed hazards of sensitization to lanolin products are a resultant of faulty science and failure to appreciate the limitations of patch testing. Lanolin allergy is a myth created mainly by overzealous professional patch testers. No one has succeeded in sensitizing animals or humans to lanolin or wool wax alcohols. Most of the case reports are false positives, in association with the angry back syndrome.