This winter has been hard on hands! Both my husband and I have cracked fingertips from dryness and cold.
I set out to make a salve that would really nourish the skin and create an emollient barrier to allow these ouchy places to heal. I began with lanolin. There is a reason sheep shearers have amazingly soft and supple skin on their hands; it comes from handling raw wool full of lanolin!
Second in line is shea butter for its emollient properties. Shea is a fabulous luxury oil that is so wonderful for the skin. Among its many attributes, shea butter contains allantoin, which is approved by the FDA as a barrier ingredient to temporarily prevent and protect chafed, chapped, cracked, or windburned skin. (I’m not making any claims here, simply stating what the FDA has approved.)
Jojoba and avocado oils contribute good things as well. Both oils are easily absorbed by the skin, and jojoba oil (actually a fatty ester) offers softening properties.
For its reputation as a healing agent, Comfrey Leaves Extract rounds out the formula. It is emollient, healing, anti-inflammatory, astringent, promotes tissue repair, and is moisturizing to the skin.
Beeswax will provide the needed stiffness to the salve; my husband will likely end up with a tin of the salve in his pocket.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this salve:
21% Shea Butter
12% Jojoba Oil
9% Avocado Oil
3% Comfrey Leaves Extract
100-gram Test Batch
43 grams Lanolin
1.29 oz Lanolin
Weigh lanolin, shea butter, jojoba oil, beeswax, and avocado oil into the microwave-safe container. You could also use a double boiler. Heat gently (30-second bursts in the microwave) until everything is melted, stirring often. The beeswax will be the last thing to melt; stirring helps make this happen.
After everything is melted, add the comfrey leaves extract and stir well.
Pour into shallow tins; the 3-ounce batch will fill 4 of our 0.75 ounce tins.
This is a fairly brittle salve, but it melts readily upon contact with the skin. My husband used it yesterday and said his most painful crack on his thumb already felt better and was not hurting. Hooray!
What would make this balm less brittle? Maybe take out some of the beeswax?
I also have a couple of family members who desperately need a balm similar to this, but they are allergic to lanolin. I know lanolin has very unique texture and qualities, so I would love some ideas to replace it! Thanks!
Hi LuAnn. You could decrease the beeswax a bit with a corresponding increase in the shea butter. As for a lanolin-free salve, here’s a blog that can give you some inspiration! https://blog.thesage.com/2018/09/17/oh-my-butter-an-exciting-challenge-for-soft-skin/ The formula calls for High Lycopene Oil, which we do not have in stock, but Sea Buckthorn Oil or Oat Oil would make great substitutions. Hope this helps.