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PEG 75 Lanolin

* An emollient and surfactant derived from Lanolin

* Please read TIA’s article on What Is It: PEGs


PEG 75 Lanolin is a PEG that helps to form emulsions by reducing the surface tension of the substances to be emulsified. It also acts as a lubricant on the skin’s surface, giving the skin a soft and smooth appearance (Source). Sometimes PEG 75 Lanolin is seen as a surfactant ingredient as well. PEG Lanolin ingredients are prepared from whole lanolin, a product of sheep sebaceous glands, which is obtained from sheered wool.

Despite the many fears regarding PEGs (including PEG 75 Lanolin), they are seen as an ingredient in a large number of products because of their diverse properties. In a study published in the Toxicology journal in 2005, entitled "Safety assessment on polyethylene glycols (PEGs) and their derivatives as used in cosmetic products," it was concluded that: "Taking into consideration all available information from related compounds, as well as the mode and mechanism of action, no safety concern with regard to these endpoints could be identified. Based on the available data it is therefore concluded that PEGs of a wide molecular weight range (200 to over 10,000), their ethers (laureths. ceteths, ceteareths, steareths, and oleths), and fatty acid esters (laurates, dilaurates, stearates, distearates) are safe for use in cosmetics."

PEG 75 Lanolin is not considered to be an irritant or sensitizer, and is CIR and FDA approved for use, but not on broken skin. "PEG Lanolins at 10-100% caused mild or negligible skin irritation and were reported to be nonsensitizing. PEG Lanolins were reported to be nonirritating and nonsensitizing in patients at concentrations from 10-60%," according to Because PEG 75 Lanolin has a higher molecular weight, it is not absorbed by the skin.

Safety Measures/Side Effects:

The Cosmetics Database has found PEG 75 Lanolin to be a moderate hazard depending on usage, because of contamination and toxicity concerns.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Toxicology, PEGs can contain harmful impurities, including: Ethylene Oxide, known to increase the incidences of uterine and breast cancers and of leukemia and brain cancer, according to experimental results reported by the National Toxicology Program; 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen; PAHs, known to increase the risk of breast cancer; lead; iron; and arsenic (Source).

Products and formulas containing PEGs should not be used on broken or irritated skin. Although PEGs are considered safe for use topically on healthy skin, studies showed that patients suffering from severe burns were treated with PEG-based antimicrobial cream; this treatment resulted in kidney toxicity. "The PEG content of the antimicrobial cream was determined to be the causative agent. However, no evidence of systemic toxicity occurred in studies with intact skin. Because of the observation of kidney effects in burn patients, the CIR Expert Panel qualified their conclusion on the safety of the PEG ingredients to state that cosmetic formulations containing these ingredients should not be used on damaged skin" (

Recommended Products w/ PEG 75 Lanolin:

Alterna TEN Hair Spray

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