Free Shipping to US and Canada*

Do You Have a Wool Allergy? (A Look at the Medical Evidence)


Every so often we encounter someone who tells us they love our blankets, but they can't have one because they're allergic to wool. This makes everyone sad for a moment...

Slightly Frowning Face on Apple iOS 13.3

But you know what? 

Evidence is scant that wool is an allergen.

It's hard to tell someone this in person, so we thought we'd go looking at the evidence. 

reference books on shelf

Wool As a Skin Allergen

In a research article from 2017 published in Medical Journals Limited, nine authors examined articles from the last 100 years in Medline and Google Scholar (1). The researchers looked for evidence that wool causes cutaneous reactions, both immune-mediated (atopic dermatitis exacerbation, contact urticaria, allergic contact dermatitis) and non-immune-mediated (irritant contact dermatitis, itch).

Their conclusion?

Current evidence does not suggest that wool is a skin allergen.

Time to celebrate!

sparkling wine with bow

So What Makes Me Itchy?

"Prickle", the sensation to itch when your skin is in contact with specific fibers, is primarily caused by individual sensitivity, and the diameter of the fiber, measured in microns. Merino wool, which is the finest wool available, is typically 18-24 microns. Once the average diameter of fiber in a fabric exceeds 22 microns, one may begin to experience prickle, depending on your sensitivity. 100% Merino wool shirts can range from 16.1 to 17.5 microns. The finer the micron, the more expensive the wool.

For a look at the measurement of other natural fibers, check out this blog post

Sources

(1) Zallman, Michaela, et al. “Debunking the Myth of Wool Allergy:  Reviewing the Evidence for Immune and Non-immune Cutaneous Reactions.” Acta Dermato-Venereologica, Vol 97, Nov. 2017, https://www.medicaljournals.se/acta/content/abstract/10.2340/00015555-2655

 


Leave a comment


Please note, comments must be approved before they are published