Success with Wool on Skin

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Product Wellness Working Group: Success with Wool on Skin

Following the publication of two wool and skin health studies in high-ranking medical journals, IWTO’s Product Wellness Working Group (PWWG) has been working to communicate the results.

In July/August, Monocle, the global affairs and lifestyle magazine, featured Merino wool in a three-page  article funded by AWI. A version of that article can be viewed at The piece features case studies from three brands along with the results of the studies.

Further communications targeted at midwives, pediatricians, and dermatologists, will be timed to coincide with release of a video and fact sheet about the skin health benefits of wool. .

A medical specification for wool base layers

Superfine Merino wool base layers were first shown to be therapeutic for the skin in two Australian trials. A further study of wool and eczema is currently underway in the US, in order to verify the positive Australian findings in a different environment. However for people with sensitive skin, such as eczema sufferers, it’s critical to use the ‘right’ wool, necessitating development of a medical specification for wool base layers.

The Wool ComfortMeter reading has been found to be a key component of this specification and at the IWTO Congress in May, this IWTO Draft Test Method (IWTO-66) was promoted to full test method status.

A further trial is now planned to validate the medical specification for sensitive skin. In the meantime, the specification presented in the technical paper delivered at Harrogate can be used. Write to IWTO for more information,

Breathability, flammability, and odour-resistance

A number of other research projects are also in the pipeline of the working group. A potential test to assess wool’s breathability has been developed; at the moment, there is no test method which measures how wool “breathes” in dynamic circumstances, such as running for a bus. Another study looked at flammability standards in order to assess barriers to the use of wool base layers by emergency services providers. Having found no major barriers, a further project is being considered with the aim of increasing wool’s reach into this market.

Finally, a trial is underway to determine how much wool is needed in a blend to provide the natural odour-resistance for which wool is famous. Completion is expected in late 2017, with results to follow.

More information on these and other projects, visit

The Product Wellness Working Group, chaired by Angus Ireland (Australian Wool Innovation, Australia), meets regularly throughout the year. Visit for details.

About IWTO’s Product Wellness Working Group

The Product Wellness Working Groupprovides a strategic forum for industry thought, planning and the establishment of strategies to build and validate the health and wellness credentials of wool textiles and fibre. Wool’s effect on sleep, healing properties on skin, sound reduction and toxic chemical reduction in interiors are all areas where wool can positively influence health and wellness.

The PWWG is made possible through funding from the American Wool Council/American Sheep Industry, Australian Wool Innovation, Camara Mercantil de Productos del Pais (Uruguay), Cape Wools South Africa, Secretariado Uruguayo de la Lana (SUL) and Südwolle Group. All IWTO members are welcome to participate in this and other working groups. To get involved, contact IWTO at

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