Support Your Skin: The Truth about Wool Allergies

Support Your Skin: The Truth about Wool Allergies - Prickly Thistle

The skin is our biggest organ and so should be treated with care. It is a vessel designed to protect us, yet it is far more sensitive than some think.

We hear a lot from our customers that they love us but can’t wear Prickly products due to having a wool allergy.

We totally understand the validity of these concerns. The last thing we'd ever do is put our sales ahead of the well-being of people. That’s why we’re committed to educating as best we can about wool and it’s properties – you can read more about that here and here – so today let’s talk some much needed truth about... wool allergies.

A group of experts in the fields of allergy, immunology and dermatology conducted an in-depth study – appropriately titled ‘Debunking the Myth of Wool Allergy’ – which has revealed the genuine reasons behind fabric-related skin irritation.

The reality is that wool is NOT an allergen. The real culprit is the presence of coarse fibres sticking out of the cloth which scratch the skin, which is NOT specific to the type of fibre they are. The same irritation can be caused by various fibres because it is their consistency and placement that make the difference. On the flip side then, soft and superfine fibres ‘bend’, which means they work with the skin and avoid the scratchy issue of irritation.

To go one step further, now organisations such as The Woolmark Company are even advocating for merino wool (which has these superfine and soft fibres) as beneficial for eczema sufferers when worn directly on the skin.

Some of the reasons for this are that merino wool clothing items outperform every other material when it comes to breath-ability. They also absorb and release way more moisture, so when worn against our skin they regulate humidity and temperature – basically replicating the natural functions our skin has evolved to perform. That is why they are referred to as a natural second skin.

It’s very difficult for consumers with sensitivities to shop for their skin’s well-being when a lot of items can seem ‘wool-like’ yet aren’t. This is because synthetic manufacturers have gotten really good at imitating it’s qualities... and moreover you’ll find a lot of ‘wool-blend’ garments these days that are mixed with synthetics like acrylic - which is terrible for the skin.

So, to summarise, your allergy to wool is more likely a sensitivity to rough fibres, and the answer is to go for 100% natural wool, which Prickly always is. We will NEVER stray from this.

Love Clare and the team


1 comment

  • Heather

    Very interesting Clare. There is a company here in the USA advocating for women to wear the same wool dress for 100 days. I had the worry about whether a person with sensitive skin could wear it 100 days in a row. I thought perhaps they had similar values to PT, so I looked into it and read the small print. After digging deeper I learned their wool dresses are not 100% wool. They are mixed with other fibers like Nylon, Tencel, Linen, Spandex etc. It’s not exactly sneaky, but its not completely transparent either. Unless you specifically look at the details of each dress, you wouldn’t know that it isn’t 100% wool.

    I guess what I want to say is thank you for being so transparent. I wish there were more people in the world that strived so much to be ethical and above reproach. Good on you, PT!

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