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Wool allergy and eczema

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As I've mentioned before on this blog, my skin took a turn for the worse a few years ago, and now I find that fabrics my skin used to be fine with leave me itchy, in particular, wool.

The story of a hat and scarf

A while back I bought a thick grey wool bobbly hat and scarf from H&M to keep me cosy and warm. I used to wear the scarf wrapped quite close around my face, but soon noticed that the skin all around my lower face started to get red, rough and sore. Sadly the lovely scarf had to go - I hope whoever bought it on Ebay likes it!

I've worn woolly jumpers and stuff as a kid and never had any trouble, but your skin does change, and mine has definitely got more fussy!

As well as my eczema getting worse, I have also suffered with an itchy scalp and seborrhoeic dermatitis/ cradle cap, for which I have tried all kinds of shampoos until settling on the Jason shampoo I know use all the time. However, maybe the wool hat was a partial cause too. I always found the hat ok to wear for short periods, as I have lots of hair as a barrier between my hat and my scalp. But I've been wearing the hat again recently in this cold weather and as well as eczema patches around my hair line/ sides of my face I have had a really itchy scalp.

But... this has also coincided with my trying out a new shampoo and conditioner! Ah, one of the most frustrating things about having atopic eczema is trying to determine what the triggers are when there are so many possible influencing factors.

So for now I have gone back to my regular shampoo and stopped wearing the hat until my skin calms down again.



















Me and the hat in question

Why can wool trigger eczema?

It may seem strange that wool can irritate sensitive skin as it is a natural fibre; indeed cotton and silk are often recommended for sensitive skin in favour of less breathable synthetic fabrics.

However wool contains lanolin, a natural wax derived from sheep hair, which can cause an allergic reaction. I do also wonder whether the scratchiness of wool plays a part,  just like with dreadlocks.

It is a shame because when the weather is freezing, nothing keeps you warm quite as well as wool. But for me it's not worth it any more. I have bought myself a 100% acrylic bobble hat and I got some lovely leather gloves for Christmas. Now whenever I shop I check the fabric label to make sure there is no wool in there.

Do you find that wool triggers your eczema?

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