Some individuals end up with reddened lumps upon exposure to wool. It is important to note that in most cases, a reaction to wool is not due to an allergic reaction. Instead, direct exposure of the skin to the material often triggers irritation due to the slightly rough texture of some wool-based clothing or the presence of chemicals in the fabric. The type of garment and grade of wool also affects the potential of triggering the allergy-like symptoms.
Close look on wool
Wool is a natural fabric that is shaved from sheep and some species of goats. The material is spun into finer strands by machines or human hands to make it suitable for textiles and clothing.
Wool that is sold in stores are available in different grades. The fine grades such as the ultra-fine merino have thinner, softer fabrics and less likely to trigger reactions. The low-grade variants such as carpet wool have scratchy, course fibers that can aggravate the skin. The cheap, wool-based clothes might include chemicals that might trigger allergies.
Contact dermatitis arises if a fabric or substance triggers an allergic reaction on the skin which ranges from a minor rash to blistering.
Wool might trigger contact dermatitis in some individuals. It might arise in sensitive parts of the skin such as the wrists or underarms. In some instances, the skin condition is not an allergic reaction but simply skin irritation.
If an individual has an existing skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, he/she is likely to react to the natural variants. Those that have a scratchy texture can irritate the skin condition and trigger a flare-up the same as an allergic reaction.
Some individuals suffer from breathing issues if wearing wool-based clothing. If the individual has asthma or has trouble breathing if exposed to animal hair or fibers, he/she might start wheezing if the clothing is used.