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Keywords:

  • wool wax alcohols;
  • lanolin allergy;
  • contact sensitization to lanolin;
  • patch testing technique;
  • false-positive reactions

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.