The issue of microfibres in synthetic fabrics is becoming a bigger and bigger talking point in the public sphere. Soon enough, it will be common knowledge that wearing clothes made of natural yarns is better for the environment…
But did you know that choosing sheep’s wool and other natural fibres could be an effective way to get better skin?
Dr Alex Hodgson, textile R&D scientist at AgResearch, said: “We discovered that polyester tended to reduce the hydration of the wearers’ skin and also – especially for men – resulted in increased redness or inflammation of the skin. By comparison the skin covered with wool did not show any negative effects during the study. From this, we can see that wool promoted the maintenance of healthy skin whilst polyester had a drying effect with some inflammation.”
Studies by AgResearch commissioned by Australian Wool Innovation showed a connection between better dermatological health and wearing natural wool clothing when tested against polyester. A group of 8 women and 8 men aged 25 to 63 years were asked to wear merino shirts modified with a small patch of polyester on the upper back over a period of four weeks. Scientists regularly tested the volunteers’ skin in lab conditions for various measures of health, such as water loss, hydration, and inflammation.
“Ultimately this work is about providing guidance and reassurance for consumers. We know consumers now consider many factors before they buy goods. Just as people now know what different foods can do to their health, our aim is that people will also be able to make informed choices about what they wear, and what that might mean for the health of their skin.”
Though it’s common enough to hear about people swearing off wool due to allergies, or its debatable reputation for being coarse and itchy, we at WoolOvers are pleased to hear about people filling their wardrobes with natural knits to adopt a lifestyle that’s not just greener, but healthier too. Previous studies have already found that polyester underwear could be detrimental to fertility, and there’s no telling what this school of research could uncover in the future!
As we develop our understanding of how the clothes we wear affect our health, we expect to see more and more signs of greener, natural clothing entering the mainstream.
If you struggle with dryness or sensitivity, and want to get healthier skin, why not try ditching the synthetics for a while and telling us how it went below?