Merino wool can itch for a variety of reasons, depending on the situation. And we will explain these factors in this blog.
For many applications that are next to the skin, merino wool is a great performance fabric. However, because we frequently associate it with conventional wool, a lot of people mistakenly think that it will irritate your skin. It’s essential to look at the reasons and factors behind the itchiness of wool and answer the question: is merino wool itchy?
Merino wool is not so itchy. The comfort largely depends on the raw wool used and, to a lesser extent, manufacturing methods. In other words, improper construction can make even clothing made of superfine Merino itchy. Let’s now discuss the reasons why Merino wool doesn’t itch.
Is Merino Wool Itchy?
The short answer is: no, Merino wool shouldn’t be itchy. This is due to Merino wool’s unique fibers, which differ from those of regular wool.
Wool contains fibers that can be scratchy on the skin. Additionally, because they fray more readily when they are shorter, itching results from this as well. Merino fibers, on the other hand, are thinner, which makes them softer and more flexible against the skin. Due to their flexibility, they also don’t fray as much.
Characteristics of Merino Wool That Make It Non-itchy
Merino wool ranks among the most comfortable materials for clothing because of its composition. Compression socks, base layers, and thermal underwear can all be made from its fine fibers, which can occasionally even be as small as 17.5 microns in diameter (in the case of ultrafine Merino).
Another added benefit of wearing Merino garments if you have sensitive skin, especially compared to traditional wool clothing, is that they are hypoallergenic. Keratin, the same protein found in our hair and skin, makes up merino wool.
It should be extremely unlikely that you would experience an allergic reaction to it because of how similar it is to our own skin’s makeup. An allergic reaction would typically begin with itching.
The speed with which Merino wool dries and lets air move between the outside and your skin is another quality of the material. Even when you perspire, merino fibers keep you comfortable because they can absorb up to 30% of their weight in moisture while remaining dry to the touch.
In contrast to regular wool, which becomes heavy when wet, synthetic wool maintains the lightness of your clothing by releasing moisture into the air.
All this means that you have less of a chance for bacteria to form in between your clothes and your skin (as they thrive in humid conditions) and that you’re therefore less likely to feel itchy and uncomfortable because of sweat.
This is why base layers made of Merino wool are so comfortable to wear while running and hiking, even for several days.
Why Does My Merino Wool Clothing Still Feel Itchy?
Imagine that you recently bought new Merino wool clothing, and even after wearing it, your skin is still irritated. There might be a few factors at work in that situation.
You Have Low-quality Merino Wool
As Merino is a much sought-after fabric, many companies online will use this as a marketing term when their clothing is not actually Merino. Before buying any Merino clothing, especially online, it is essential to conduct the proper research.
Make sure to check out other user reviews and research the business that is actually selling the clothing. A price is frequently too good to be true if it seems too low.
Your Clothing Has Poor Seam Construction
The fit and seam construction, in addition to the Merino wool fabric itself, can affect how itchy an item of clothing is. If the fit is too tight (or too loose) for your body, the seams and threads may chafe and cause discomfort, and the drape may not be uniform.
Doing your homework before buying Merino wool clothing is the best way to avoid these non-fabric itchiness problems. Look for keywords in the product description like “flatlock seams” and “anti-chafing” to gauge your potential purchase’s comfort.
There is no common sizing chart used by all clothing manufacturers, so always refer to the sizing charts.
You Are Experiencing Pilling Issues
Pilling occurs when loose threads in the fabric congregate together, forming little balls of fuzz on your clothing. These not online make your clothing look overly used but can sometimes be irritating to your skin.
It is important to keep in mind that with wool, pilling is frequently normal. When these shorter fibers are removed from the fabric, it increases the strength of your clothing. The weak points are essentially being repaired.
You can safely remove the loose threads from the structure of the clothing by washing your Merino wool occasionally with coarse fabrics, such as denim, to address pilling issues.
You May Have An Underlying Medical Condition
The best treatment for itchy skin is not merino wool. In comparison to other fabrics, it may reduce irritation and soothe eczema symptoms, but it has no medicinal properties. Changing the fabric of your clothing alone won’t always solve the problem of itchy skin.
Consider wearing premium Merino and still needing to scratch all day. If so, it might be time to seek medical attention for your itching issues.
Why is Regular Wool Itchy?
You’ll be puzzling over why some wools itch while others don’t. After all, the fundamentals are the same throughout. The composition of wool and the causes of itching are the two parts of the answer.
Firstly, the fibers that go into regular wool are thicker than the ones produced by Merino sheep. We use microns to measure how fine fabric is; while the thickness of regular wool fibers varies depending on the breed of sheep, it is typically greater than 25 microns.
Additionally, the wool gets coarser as the sheep age. This is why lamb’s wool is thinner and finer. Merino sheep’s wool fibers’ diameter is 15-25 microns, or even finer still. Human hair typically ranges in diameter from 60 to 120 microns, so you can get an idea of what that means.
As a result, it is incredibly light, supple, adaptable, and itchy-free. When the fabric rubs against your skin, it will not only not fray as easily as regular wool, but it will also bend and adjust to the body’s movements to keep you comfortable.
We should also discuss the causes of itching. The skin is our body’s first line of defense against outside threats like animals and scrapes and scratches from various obstacles.
This is the reason why it will itch to let us know when there is an irritant nearby. As a result, things to which we are allergic, insects or particular clothing fibers can make us itch.
Therefore, you shouldn’t get itchy if you wear supple, malleable clothing made of high-quality materials that don’t irritate your skin—unless you have an allergy, of course.
How to Keep Your Merino Soft?
You’ll want to maintain it in top condition wear after wear once you’ve invested in your soft and luxurious icebreaker. Simply adhere to a few care guidelines.
Merino is naturally soft, so using additional softeners will reduce the performance of the garment. Machine-wash it on a regular cold wash cycle with a normal detergent, dry it flat in the shade, and fold it away for the following use.
Conclusion: Merino Wool is Not So Itchy
Merino wool is a soft and luxurious fabric that should not cause you any itching or irritation. Merino wool has very low-diameter fibers compared to normal wool, so it feels smooth and soft against the skin. Taking care of your Merino wool properly can also keep it last longer.
Make sure to look for pilling, get in touch with the manufacturer, or perhaps even see a doctor about a skin condition if you are scratching a lot.
What Should I Do If I Still Find Merino Wool Itchy?
If you prefer not to have wool next to your skin, some recommend wearing a silk baselayer with merino on top for insulation. If you come across Capilene, a fabric made of polyester from Patagonia, that’s a good alternative as well.
Is Merino Wool Soft Or Scratchy?
Unlike other wools and synthetic materials, merino wool doesn’t itch at all – it is the softest of all wool.
Is Merino Wool OK for Sensitive Skin?
Merino in particular is celebrated for its beneficial properties for sensitive skin and babywear compared to other wool types. Additionally, there is evidence to support the claim that luxurious Merino bedding and sleepwear can promote sounder sleep.
Is Merino Wool Uncomfortable?
The surface of merino wool fibers is smaller and smoother. Since they are softer than more coarse wool types, they bend when they come into contact with your skin. Small air chambers are also formed inside the wool’s crimped structure. This is what makes Merino wool soft and comfortable instead of itchy.