SYDNEY, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Superfine Australian wool can reduce symptoms of eczema, researchers have found.
The study, published by the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) on Tuesday, was the first of its kind globally to challenge the notion that wool is a possible allergen and irritant for eczema patients.
A total of 39 children aged between four weeks and three years old were involved in the trail over a 12-week period where they wore garments made from superfine Merino wool for six weeks before switching to cotton.
Researchers observed that children who switched to wool after wearing cotton the severity of their eczema decreased significantly while the eczema of those who went from wool to cotton worsened considerably.
Woolen clothing has traditionally been considered an irritant that should be avoided by eczema patients despite little evidence to support the claim.
John Su, the study's lead author, said the results would "challenge current practices" when advising on eczema patients wearing wool.
"When comparing with cotton, there are inherent differences in fibre properties, (Merino) wool's greater ability to transfer moisture vapor and heat than other major apparel fibres enable it to maintain a more stable microclimate between the skin and garment," Su said in a media release on Tuesday.
Most of the parents of the children involved in the trial said they enjoyed wearing and also reported less itching and skin clamminess.
Ellyda Stone said her son, Ayden, was one of the participants who enjoyed wearing the wool.
"We noticed that merino wool garments tended to allow for better absorption of moisture, and that this protected Ayden's skin from dryness and improved his eczema," Stone said.