Historically wool has been blamed for being an itchy scratchy fibre that causes next-to-skin irritation, referred to as ‘Prickle’. This anecdotal understanding of wool has continued to influence a lot of consumer perception around wearing wool. This perception is bred on wool that is not designed to be worn against the skin.
Research has shown that fabric prickle is directly related to the thickness (diameter) of the fibre - not the fibre type . This means that thick, coarse fibres are stiff and unyielding when pressed into the skin - like those jumpers Grandma used to knit.
To further understand how soft, fine merino can affect skin health, Australian Wool Innovation and the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, trialled merino and cotton apparel on children suffering with mild to moderate eczema. The primary outcome was the change in the severity of Atopic Dermatitis – wearing merino resulted in a reduction in the average SCORAD of 2.5 at 3 weeks and 7.6 at 6 weeks when compared to the cotton.
Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is a chronic relapsing, pruritic skin condition usually presenting in early childhood. It affects around 30% of children – its prevalence varying with geographic location, but increasing in many countries. The itchiness, behavioural change and the effects of daily quality of life also contribute to the burden of this disease on both the sufferer and family. The impact of moderate and severe AD on families has been shown to exceed that of diabetes [2,3]
Wearing merino could offer beneficial next to skin health, wellness and comfort to our most precious and vulnerable family members.