Medical studies reveal superfine Merino wool is therapeutic for the skin
October 27, 2017
In positive news for eczema sufferers, recently published research funded by The Woolmark Company has demonstrated that wearing superfine Merino wool next to the skin is therapeutic for those suffering from the chronic skin condition. This adds to a growing number of research findings supporting the health and wellbeing benefits of wool products.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, now affects 20% to 30% of children; its prevalence amongst adults and children varies geographically and is increasing in many countries, with sufferers having dysfunctional skin that dries out and can lead to cracked skin, bacterial infection, redness, scratching and itching.
However, dermatology trials have shown that adult and infant eczema sufferers have reduced symptoms when wearing superfine Merino wool garments next to the skin.
When worn next to skin, superfine Merino wool works as a dynamic buffer, helping maintain a more stable humidity and temperature in the micro-climate between the fabric and the skin. Wool garments are the most breathable of the common apparel types, absorbing and releasing twice as much moisture vapour as cotton and thirty times as much as polyester. It appears superfine Merino wool acts like a second skin for these people whose ‘first’ skin is too dry.
The theory that wool’s unique moisture management could benefit eczema sufferers was put to the test in a twelve-week clinical trial, which confirmed the beneficial findings of wearing superfine Merino wool garments with a mean fibre diameter less than or equal to 17.5 micron.
A study of approximately 40 babies and young children under 3 years old, at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) in Melbourne, showed significant advantages of superfine Merino wool base-layers rather than cotton in improving the symptoms of eczema.
Published in the British Journal of Dermatology in July, the study challenges generalisations that wool is to be avoided by children with eczema. The study concluded that traditional management guidelines classing all wool-based clothing as irritants should be modified to include superfine Merino wool as a recommended clothing choice in childhood atopic dermatitis.
Read more about the therapeutic benefits of superfine Merino wool at: https://www.woolmark.com/globalassets/woolmark/resources/fact-sheets/benefits/wool-is-good-for-skin.pdf/ .