Superfine Merino Wool Helps Eczema, Study Finds

We love 100% Macpac merino wool because it’s super soft, breathable, naturally temperature regulating and anti-odour… perfect for a range of adventures year-round.

Macpac | The Benefits of Merino

While wool is not traditionally thought of is being good for skin conditions, it turns out superfine merino is great for alleviating eczema symptoms.

Unlike regular wool, merino is made up of incredibly fine fibres that won’t feel scratchy on your skin. In fact, it’s so gentle on skin, that recent research has found that wearing superfine merino wool is not only generally tolerable for 150 Merino Wool Womens Baselayerseczema sufferers, but it may also help to alleviate symptoms – challenging mainstream belief that all wool is out of bounds for those with the itchy skin condition.

The research carried out on adults in Brisbane, and young children in Melbourne over several years was recently concluded, with both studies successfully demonstrating the beneficial effect of superfine merino wool.

Associate Professor John Su of Monash University and Murdoch Children’s Institute recruited 39 children under three years of age to the study.  These children had all been referred to the Dermatology Department at the Royal Children’s Hospital for mild to moderate eczema management. Over the course of six weeks, the children wore 100% cotton – but after switching to superfine merino garments, the severity of the children’s eczema greatly decreased.

In Brisbane, 29 adults each participated in a 12 week trial with no garment intervention for the first six weeks and a switch to superfine merino garments – predominantly Macpac 150 for the remainder of the programme, wearing it for a minimum of six hours per day. Like the Melbourne study, those who took part in the Brisbane trial were also shown to have not only tolerated superfine merino garments, but to have actually experienced a significant improvement in eczema symptoms. This is despite the majority of participants having reported wool intolerance prior to taking part in the study (Dr Lynda Spelman, Queensland Institute of Dermatology). These research trials greatly challenge beliefs in the medical community, as well as the studies performed as long ago as the 1950s where garments made from wool with a coarser fibre diameter were used.

150 Merino Wool Mens Baselayers“When comparing with cotton, there are inherent differences in fibre properties, [merino] wool’s greater ability to transfer moisture vapour and heat than other major apparel fibres enable it to maintain a more stable microclimate between the skin and garment,” said Associate Professor John Su.

Dr Lynda Spelman’s patients were very skeptical when it was explained to them that the research study involved wearing woolen garments. They were subsequently very pleased and surprised that the superfine wool garments were so comfortable.  Many of her patients have continued to wear them both summer and winter for two years after they formally completed the trial.

For garments similar to the Macpac merino 150 garments found to be beneficial in these studies, you can check out our range of superfine merino base layers here: mens merino thermals, womens merino thermals.

For more information contact Angus Ireland – Program Manager, Fibre Advocacy & Eco Credentials, Australian Wool Innovation Ltd – angus.ireland@wool.com

Information sourced from Australian College of Dermatologists and Queensland Institute of Dermatology