Several visitors have come into our Wood Shed, hands firmly in pockets, saying “This is nice but I’m allergic to wool.”
They like the look, the smell, and even the cautiously-tested feel of the wool products. However, they have experienced rashes and discomfort in the past and are certain they are allergic to wool, all wool, anywhere any time.
A tentative customer might feel a tuft of raw fleece. They will give a surprised, positive response to the natural oil feeling. (Approximately 0.3% of the population has a true allergy to lanolin. They should avoid our wool products.)
The concerned visitor, most often a woman with sensitive skin, then might be willing to handle our washed and carded wool. It isn’t prickly. It is soft and retains some lanolin. The reaction is one of surprise, but still big caution. One lady tested it on her wrist and in her elbow, then tucked a piece into her bra. She reported rediscovering it awhile later, forgotten. She revised her conviction that she is allergic to wool.
Almost all ‘allergic to wool’ reactions are to commercially processed wool that has been treated with sulphuric acid and often an insecticide.
Virtually all commercial processing of wool uses sulphuric acid and other chemicals. That technique strips all the lanolin and vitality out of the wool fibre, leaving it dry and brittle. A broken wool fibre has two small barbs that prick. All wool fibres are composed of scales with pointed ends. If these are brittle, lacking their natural lanolin, they will be far more prickly, causing an ‘itchy’ reaction.
Topsy Farms wool is processed using only soap.
The absence of chemicals and our process of using only soap to wash leaves each wool fibre soft and vibrant and flexible. We preserve the integrity of the wool which leaves the yarn and the Queen blankets, Wraps, Lap Robes and Throws full of air and resilience.
Take a look. Give them a try.