Maybe You’re Not Allergic to Wool

Lots of people enjoy browsing our Wool Shed – looking, but not touching. They’ve spent a lifetime certain that they are allergic to wool.

In a very few cases that may be true.

The bravehearts will try carrying around a clump of washed, carded fleece – maybe even rub it on their arms or cheeks. Surprised by no reaction, they assure us of the horrors of the boy scout shorts that would raise rashes, or the old scratchy woollen sweater Grandma forced them to wear. Those memories and experiences are true, as is the conviction that they are allergic to wool.

They don’t necessarily indicate a wool allergy.

Most commercial wools are handled without respect for the long soft fibres. When a wool strand is broken, it will actually form tiny barbs on the broken ends, creating that “prickling” sensation. Commercial production aggravates that by adding sulphuric acid to strip any possible sediment – but it also strips all the soft natural lanolin, increasing the brittle and coarse texture. They also regularly add flame retardant and repellant, even though healthy wool is flame and moth and dust mite resistant. The commercial result is often a dry coarse scratchy irritating texture.

It is just possible you are allergic to the processing, and the residual chemicals in the article, not to the wool itself.

A very small percentage of the population have allergies to lanolin. These folks should avoid our products. For the rest of you, we recommend trying Topsy Farms wool products. Many of our customers, who have spent a lifetime convinced they are allergic to wool so avoiding it, now find themselves clad in sweaters knit from our yarn, or swathed in our wraps.