Let’s all be honest: eczema can be embarrassing. The constant itching, blotchy skin, and extreme discomfort breed low self-confidence and increase stress levels. Which, in turn, only makes the situation worse. So you turn to medicines, lotions, and home remedies, all to no avail. But what about your clothing: is Merino wool good for eczema?
The short answer is yes.
But that’s not why you’re here, is it? You need hard evidence, scientific data, and proven success stories to help you out. And all those other remedies you’ve tried just haven’t seemed to work (even though you learned them from an article just like this one).
However, I’m not like all the other writers on the internet. I’m you. I suffer from eczema, mostly on my wrists and shins. And I am here to fully answer your question: is Merino wool good for eczema?
Disclaimer: To maintain genuineness and authenticity, Merino Wool Gear DOES NOT sponsor products. However, as an Amazon Associate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
My Personal Eczema Story
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t self-conscious about my skin. I was a pimply-faced teenager who looked worse than every before picture on those Proactiv commercials. Even before I hit puberty, I suffered from Impetigo: a volcano-like mass smack dab in the middle of my chin.
But, I never suffered from eczema until about two years ago.
At first, I just thought my skin was irritated from all the typing I was doing. Although soon, those tiny splotches on my wrists spread to my forearms. And then they started popping up on my shins. I’d wake up in the middle of the night to relieve the dreadful itch, but as you already know, it never actually helped.
Yet throughout this initial eczema phase, I didn’t think much of it. Sure it was uncomfortable, but it wasn’t that big of a deal to me. I’d use lotions to control the spread and try my best to resist the itch. That is, until one day, my uncle made a seemingly innocent comment: “what’s wrong with your wrist?”
It may not seem like much of a remark, but thus began the spiral of self-doubt. Other people were noticing what I’ve been trying to avoid. I started wearing long sleeves and long pants, even in the sweltering heat of summer. And as you may know, this only made my itching problems even worse.
Yet, when I wear my soft Merino wool clothing, some of the itchiness goes away. The skin irritation is kept to a minimum, and honestly, it’s just one less thing that weighs on my mind.
I’m not saying that your favorite Merino wool gear is going to cure your eczema, but I will say that it doesn’t make it worse. It gives you peace of mind to be your best while protecting your skin from the elements.
So, enough of my sob story. On to the hard evidence.
A (Sort Of) Scientific Guide To Eczema Relief
Full disclosure: I’m not a dermatologist.
But I’ll do my best to lay out the science behind proven eczema relief.
There are several different types of eczema, and I don’t have the time to analyze each one. I’d much instead just provide you some of the best ways to relieve it since its origins vary from person to person.
MUST. ITCH. NOW.
That’s your brain whenever your eczema acts up. And sure, scratching away may relieve the itch for a bit, but it only comes back stronger. But why is that?
Well, it turns out science has an answer for that. When you scratch to relieve that itchy feeling, you’re activating the pain receptors in your skin. These receptors overpower the itch signal in your brain. Thus, you only feel temporary relief.
But when that pain signal calms down, the “itch signal” comes back even more robust. So, no matter how good scratching away may feel, it’s not going to help your eczema.
The best method to reduce the spread of any dermatitis is to hunker down and mentally fight through that itchy feeling.
Pro Tip: Instead of relieving your itchiness through scratching, try temperature relief. Use a cold pack, or hot pack, to trick the signal in your brain that causes you to feel itchy.
Reduce Excess Irritation
Aside from itching, one of the best ways to relieve eczema is to eliminate excess irritation. This includes any rubbing, scratching, or accidental bumping.
It may sound simple, but it’s an aggravating sensation when one untimely movement causes your eczema to resurface. Especially when you thought you had it under control in the first place.
Many people choose to cover up their eczema with medicated bandages or gauze to lessen the chance of irritation. Still, it can be both cumbersome and expensive to do so. In my opinion, the best way to control excess rubbage is to wear clothing that protects your skin.
Now, I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but hint-hint, Merino wool is an excellent choice. But we’ll get into the specifics in a bit.
Rehydrate Your Skin
Lotions. Oils. Creams. Ointments. Baths. There is a surplus of medical information and home remedies about keeping those dry eczema blotches from cracking over. Yet, it seems that no matter which home remedy you swear by, the overwhelming goal is to keep your skin hydrated.
Certain natural compounds, like colloidal oatmeal, coconut oil, and calendula cream have been shown to soften skin, reduce irritation, and provide sensory relief. If your eczema is severe, you should go see your doctor about getting a topical steroid cream for ultimate ease.
Side Note: Other than Merino wool, the only thing I use to control my eczema spread is this Eczema honey. This honey cream is packed with colloidal oatmeal, which provides a cooling effect. It’s a bit on the expensive side, but so far, it’s the only ointment that genuinely brings me any relief.
Take Allergy Medication
If topical treatments don’t control the itch, you may have to turn to oral remedies. Now, I highly suggest you first go to the doctor before ingesting any medicine. Still, one success I’ve had is using antihistamines, like Benadryl or Claritin to control eczema’s itchiness.
Basically, these drugs help to control your brain’s response to itchiness. Although, they do not reduce eczema’s spread or regularity, according to Everyday Health. Moreover, many allergy medications have a drowsy effect. So, it may not be best to take during the day.
If it sounds like I’m just scratching the surface here (no pun intended), I actually am. I don’t want to get too deep into the science of antihistamines and eczema, as it’s really not my background. All I know is that when I take Benadryl before bed, I wake up less often in an itching frenzy.
If that were as simple as it sounds, right? Unfortunately, stress is one of the significant causes of eczema, as it’s the body’s physiological response to fight off unwanted thoughts. That may seem like a bit of a stretch, but there’s some science to prove it.
According to Healthline, when you are stressed, your body produces more cortisol. This stress hormone causes your skin to become more oily. Thus, triggering an outbreak. Also, scientific studies show that higher stress levels slow the bodies’ recovery from eczema, prolonging flare-ups. These two factors worsen eczema symptoms and cause you to fall into a vicious, itchy cycle.
Another way to imagine these stress levels is like a tank with a limited capacity. The more stress you pour into it, the more likely it is to overflow. And in this metaphor, your body is the “empty” valve. It’s doing everything it can to empty your stress tank, fighting off the excess burden. Eczema is a side effect of the emptying process.
Now, simply relaxing is not as easy as it sounds. But, to keep your stress levels low, it’s best to practice mindfulness, meditation, and breathing techniques.
So, Why Is Merino Wool Good For Eczema Relief?
I’ll be 100% genuine with you: Merino wool clothing is not the end-all, be-all in eczema relief. Sure, I like to think of it as a magical fabric with superpowers, but it’s not exactly the case.
However, Merino wool will help alleviate some of your eczema symptoms in both my personal and professional opinion. Let’s take a look at why this may be.
Merino Wool Does Not Itch
I’ve written about this one too often (and have gotten into too many Twitter battles with haters), but natural Merino wool should never itch. It’s much more refined than traditional wool, providing a silky smooth next-to-skin feel.
If you think your Merino wool clothing is the root cause of your itchiness, then you most likely have low-quality apparel. Any of the reputable name brands won’t cause you to itch. I won’t go into too much detail about the Merino companies that we recommend, but you can see a complete list here.
Merino Wool Is Soft and Non-Irritating
As we just said, Merino wool is not like your grandma’s wool sweater. It’s a high-performance fabric used by adventure athletes, digital nomads, backpackers, and even fashionistas. And the main reason is that it’s super soft.
Usually, the fiber diameter is between 15.5-20.5 microns, which is similar to cotton clothing. However, Merino wool has a natural crimp which allows for elasticity. Thus, the fabric moves WITH YOU, not against you.
Suppose you do have some sensitivity to Merino wool clothing. In that case, it’s most likely due to poor seam construction or a higher fiber diameter (19 microns +). The former can be fixed by doing a bit of research based on your apparel needs. At the same time, the latter can be solved by simply purchasing lower-diameter clothing.
Merino Wool Regulates Your Microclimate
We’ve talked about Merino wool being one of the warmest fabrics by weight, but it’s much more than that. Not only does it keep you toasty in the winter months, but it can keep you cool in the summer too.
And why is that? Well, it regulates your microclimate through moisture management.
Unlike synthetics, Merino wool is hydrophilic, meaning it is attracted to water. It absorbs humidity from the atmosphere and from your skin, thus creating a humidity-controlled environment that aids in reducing eczema symptoms.
The complete science can be a bit on the dull side, but you can read our full write-up about the science behind Merino wool if you’d like more technical evidence.
Merino Wool is Hypoallergenic
People think they are allergic to traditional wool because it feels scratchy. But in fact, wool fibers are composed of the same molecules as our hair – keratin. The scratchiness comes from the large fiber diameter. However, as we already mentioned, Merino wool is much more refined than traditional wool, and any supposed allergy is simply not true.
According to Woolmark, there is absolutely no scientific evidence that wool is a known allergen. Again, that would be like being allergic to your own hair – it’s just not possible.
The hypoallergenic properties of Merino wool are one of the main reasons it’s a go-to fabric for baby clothes. As newborns’ skin is sensitive and prone to rash, the silky smooth feeling of Merino provides them with a comfortable and protective barrier from this allergy-filled world.
Merino Wool Can Reduce Excess Stress (Kind of)
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Merino wool is the key to stress relief. If so, the whole world would be worshipping sheep.
But, I am here to tell you that it can help. Remember the “stress tank” we talked about previously? Well, since Merino wool is so comfortable and luxurious, it’s one less thing that offers an opportunity to give you stress.
Moreover, there are secondary stress relief benefits of Merino wool. Um, ever heard of the phrase look good, feel good? Well, you’ll not only be fashionable, but you will feel even better knowing that your skin is protected. The improved self-confidence may lead to better performance at work, improved relationships, etc.
Again, this isn’t always the case. However, I’ve seen my confidence soar while rocking Merino wool apparel. For lack of a better term, Merino wool makes my skin feel comfortable in my own skin.
Final Note About The Question: Is Merino Wool Good For Eczema?
Merino wool is not some magical cure-all for eczema, and any site that tells you otherwise is plain lying. But, it does help at reducing the negative symptoms that come with this pesky ailment.
Not only does the soft, luxurious feel of low-micron fibers reduce irritation, but the molecular composition itself is hypoallergenic. The excellent temperature regulation properties create microclimate conditions that reduce eczema symptoms. And finally, I wholeheartedly believe that wearing Merino wool puts me in a better state of mind and helps to reduce the liquid in my “stress tank.”
So, honestly, if I can’t convince you that Merino wool works well for eczema sufferers, well, I don’t know who you will believe!
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