Lanolin is known by many other names, including Adeps Lanae, wool fat, wool wax or wool grease. Lanolin is greasy and has a yellowish hue. This natural extract from wool-bearing animals like sheep has several uses. It functions as a skin lotion, wax for manufacturing water proof items and also serves as a raw material for different products, such as shoe polish. Lanolin Fatty Acids are generated as a by-product in the refining process of wool grease in order to produce pharmaceutical and cosmetic grade lanolin anhydrous or lanolin alcohol. Lanolin Fatty Acid is a product of the alkaline hydrolysis of Lanolin. The fatty acid is a complex mixture of straight chain acids, branched chain acids and hydroxy acids. It is in the form of a hard, waxy solid.
Lanolin Fatty Acid is exploited extensively in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. In fact, the oils enclosed in lanolin are very akin to the chemical structure of the oils produced by the human skin. In addition, lanolin forms a suspension when mixed with water and this blend is easily soaked up by the skin making it smooth as well as soft. At the same time, application of a blend of lanolin and water on the skin helps to prevent the skin from dehydrating and fissures. This particular aspect of lanolin elucidates the reason why sheep shearers have very smooth hands. Moreover, Lanolin Fatty Acid has been widely used in waterproofing preparations for leather, but has some major disadvantages. a) It softens leather very easily, leading to deformation of walking boots and loss of support to the wearer. b) It is susceptible to microbial attack, leading to rotting of stitching and leather.
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