SEEN is known for delivering gorgeous hair and healthy-looking skin without having to choose one over the other. One reason why our products are game-changing for those with sensitive skin is that our founder, Harvard-trained dermatologist Dr. Iris Rubin, decided that SEEN’s formulas would be free of many common allergens, as well as many emerging allergens that are on contact dermatitis specialists’ radars.
Every year, the American Contact Dermatitis Society names an “Allergen of the Year,” which is generally a common personal-care or industrial ingredient that has been associated with instances of sensitization in otherwise healthy skin. Although this is far from an accolade to celebrate, let’s get to know lanolin, 2023’s Allergen of the Year.
What is lanolin?
Derived from sheep’s wool (without harming the sheep themselves), lanolin is a waxy substance that can be compared to the sebum produced naturally by human skin. This is why you’ll find lanolin as a moisturizing ingredient in skincare and haircare products. Although there’s no evidence that lanolin is more moisturizing than synthetic waxes, lanolin is an attractive option for brands that formulate their products exclusively with naturally-derived ingredients.
It’s no secret that wool allergies are common—and if you have one, lanolin may cause similar symptoms such as a rash or itching where lanolin comes in contact with the skin. In those with more severe wool allergies, lanolin exposure can lead to shortness of breath and/or swelling of the throat, lips, eyes, or mouth. And even if you’re not allergic to lanolin, it can still cause skin irritation in some.
Why SEEN avoids lanolin
SEEN decided to skip lanolin long before it was named Allergen of the Year, simply because there was no place for this animal-derived ingredient in our vegan formulas. In addition, Dr. Rubin was aware of the skin allergies that lanolin can potentially cause, so she decided to formulate SEEN with other moisturizing ingredients that are safe for sensitive skin.
SEEN’s skin-friendly hydrating ingredients
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to replace lanolin with other moisturizing ingredients that are not known allergens or irritants. Instead, SEEN’s products are formulated with glycerin (found in Shampoo, Conditioner, Deeper Conditioner, Blow-Out Creme, Curly Creme, Restore Scalp Serum, Face Wash, and Body Wash), plant-derived squalane (featured in our Blow-Out Creme, Curly Creme, Magic Serum, Restore Scalp Serum, and Face Wash), and olive-derived ethylhexyl olivate (Magic Serum and Restore Scalp Serum) to provide the moisture the hair, scalp, and skin need without clogging pores. All SEEN formulas are also non-irritating and safe for sensitive skin.
Avoiding many common irritants and allergens is Dr. Rubin’s primary goal, and that includes lanolin. SEEN’s commitment to developing vegan formulas is just one more reason to avoid this wool-derived ingredient. We believe everyone deserves gorgeous hair and healthy-looking skin, whether they have sensitive skin or prefer their hair and skincare products to be free of animal-derived ingredients (or both).