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DOES ALL WOOL ITCH?

What makes some wool itchy while some are soft?
December 30, 2020
By OLIVER CHARLES
@oliver.charles.clothing
It's an age-old question, but in reality very few people are actually "allergic" to wool fibers, which are essentially the same as human hairs.

That said, people are allergic to what comes on wool, such as lanolin. Lanolin is a fiber protectant that wool-bearing animals naturally and evolutionarily produce.

Lanolin and wool treatment chemicals are regularly washed out of wool before finalizing a garment.

Therefore one of the most important factors impacting sensitivity is the fiber fineness.

Thinner diameter fiber is softer. While a human hair has a average diameter of 75 microns (µm), the wool we use in our sweaters is ultra-fine at 17.5µm.

The finest wools in the world can even get as low as 11μm for example qiviut fiber can be as fine as 13μm.

If you have sensitivity to wool, it absolutely could be an allergy to excess lanolin on the wool fiber. To be sure, check the fineness of the fiber in the clothing you'd wear. Most brands list this information on their product page. You can find ours here.

Wools that are generally considered "soft" have a fineness <20µm. Although, at the end of the day, you know best, so try new materials at different levels of fineness and decide what you like wearing most.

how do khullu and merino compare?

 KHULLUMERINOCASHMERECAMELQIVIUT
FIBER FINENESS μm **14-1916-2014-1916-2013-18
**The above ranges represent an average of most clothing made from these wools.

All of the wool-bearing animals above grow many different types of fibers with many different degrees of fineness.

For instance, the guard hair that these animals grow on the outer layer of their coat is far coarser than the soft down fibers that insulate. In some cases guard hair is used for rope and canvas.
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