Itchy and unpleasant, eczema or atopic dermatitis is an uncomfortable condition occurring predominantly on the face, neck and hands but can be present in other areas like the back of the knees and the inside of the elbows. In affected areas, the thickened or scaly skin can be inflamed and painful. Giving in to the overwhelming desire to scratch simply exacerbates the irritation leading to weepy lesions prone to infection.
Thought to be an aggressive immune response to irritants, eczema frequently affects children and babies. While adults will also suffer with this condition, symptoms often improve or even disappear with age. Wool has long been included in the list of common allergens and eczema triggers. Other triggers include stress, harsh chemicals, stiff scratchy fibres and fluctuations in body temperature or moisture levels.
Far from being a trigger, evidence indicates that wool may actually provide relief from the itch and irritation of eczema. Wool is highly breathable. It is super absorbent and able to hold moisture without leaving the fabric feeling damp. Wool also allows any excess moisture to evaporate into the atmosphere. These qualities combine to keep the skin cool and maintain a constant moisture level at the skins surface. This wicking ability means wearing wool next to the skin helps regulate body temperature. The skin remains cool, dry and comfortable in hot, cold, humid or dry environments which helps to prevent irritation or inflammation