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Lanolin vs Lanolin Oil for TEWL?

The following moisturizers are ranked from best to least for preventing TWEL: Petrolatum, Lanolin, Mineral oil, Silicone derivatives, plant oils. 

Petrolatum is a great ingredient, but isn't renewable which is why I look towards the use of lanolin. It's available in a "solid" form and a oil form. Which of these is more effective at preventing TWEL? I haven't been able to find much information on the subject.

I was also wondering if penetration enhancers would have any effect on petrolatum being absorbed into the skin or is it simply too big to be absorbed even with penetration enhancers?

Thank you for taking the time to answer my inquiry!   


  • I haven't seen data on this but it would make sense that the solid form would reduce Trans Epidermal Water Loss better because it contains higher molecular weight compounds. 

    Since TEWL reduction is primarily the result of occlusion I don't know of any reason why penetration enhancers would make it work any better.  
  • I was just wondering about penetration enhancers in regards to the body actually absorbing ingredients like petrolatum, which is safe topically but I'm not sure about internally. 
  • Ah, I see. Petrolatum is used in so many ointments and medications that I really wouldn't expect that to be a problem. 
  • Cool, do you think I could create a simple petrolatum in water emulsion at home to make a lotion? Trying to apply vaseline alone is hard. I was thinking 2% petrolatum + 4% Cetearyl Alcohol + the water. 
  • Petrolatum is very hydrophobic and can be hard to emulsify. Plus you have to stabilize the emulsion, make sure it's preserved properly, etc. My advice would be to find an existing product with a high concentration of petrolatum. You can search ingredients on and similar sites. 

    I hope that helps!
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