Lanolin

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Lanolin on professional marathon swimmers in the Traversee internationale du lac Memphremagog, photo courtesy of Dr. Jim Miller
Lanolin on Ray Gandy, photo courtesy of Debra Gagnon
noun - Lanolin is a greasy, fatty substance, insoluble in water, that is extracted from wool-bearing animals (e.g., sheep) used to coat and lubricate the skin of open water swimmers, especially at friction points (e.g., underarms, inside thighs, chin and neck) of marathon swimmers and channel swimmers.

Contents

Use in Open Water Swimming

Lanolin effectively prevents chafing for open water swimmers and can help reduce the immediate impact of cold water, although over time it gradually coagulates and comes off the skin of swimmers and is not considered a heat-retaining agent.

Lanolin is occasionally mixed with petroleum jelly (e.g., Vaseline) and other anti-chafing skin lubrication products by marathon swimmers and channel swimmers.

Source

Lanolin is a natural, waterproof emollient (wax) derived from the glands of domesticated sheep. Lanolin's waterproofing property aids sheep in shedding water from their coats. Certain breeds of sheep produce large amounts of lanolin, and the extraction can be performed by squeezing the sheep's harvested wool between rollers.

Role

Lanolin's role in nature is to protect wool and skin against the ravages of climate and the environment. Lanolin and its many derivatives are used extensively in products designed for the protection, treatment and beautification of human skin. It is mostly used as a moisturizer for cosmetics and skin and hair care products. Lanolin can soothe burns as well as irritated or dry skin and helps retain moisture. Lanolin can be added to soap and bath and body products for a rich, creamy lather.

The coach spread a thin layer of lanolin under the swimmer’s shoulders.

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