HOW TO USE THIS ONLINE MAGAZINE
by clicking the arrows at the side of the page.
by clicking anywhere on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level.
and move the page around when zoomed in by dragging the page.
and return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues
a PDF of this magazine.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
a page via email, Facebook, Twitter and more.
TO VIEW PREVIOUS EDITIONS
, click the
button at the bottom of the screen.
Beyond the Bale : September 2016
diameter (superfine) Merino wool garments were used in the MCRI study. “When comparing Merino with cotton, there are also other inherent differences in fibre properties: Merino’s greater ability to transfer moisture vapour and heat than the other major apparel fibres enable it to maintain a more stable microclimate between the skin and the garment.” These research findings about the beneficial impacts of Merino wool have been presented by Associate Professor Su at dermatology conferences in Brazil (International Society of Atopic Dermatitis), France (European Society of Pediatric Dermatology) and Australia (Australasian College of Dermatologists). A paper entitled ‘Determining the Effects of Superfine Sheep wool in Infantile Eczema’ has also been submitted for publication in a high impact peer-reviewed dermatological journal. The findings have already generated media interest. In Australia, the Nine Network broadcasted a very positive news report on the study’s findings. Featured in the news report were Rheannan Williams and her two-year-old daughter who suffers from eczema. “The eczema was red, painful and blistery,” Rheannan said. “But within two to three weeks of wearing wool it was unbelievable... her skin is clear... I would 100% recommend it, it’s amazing.” STUDY 2: CLINICAL TRIAL OF ADOLESCENTS AND ADULTS WITH ECZEMA (QIDERM, BRISBANE) A parallel study of adolescent and adult sufferers of eczema in Brisbane by the Queensland Institute of Dermatology (QIDerm) has confirmed the beneficial findings of wearing superfine Merino wool. Dr Lynda Spelman of QIDerm says all the trial participants showed substantially reduced symptoms with none of them displaying an allergic or irritant reaction. “We have seen substantial reductions in skin dryness, redness and itchiness and in the measured area of inflammation – and for a number of the patients, this is the first time a real solution to their condition has been presented,” Dr Spelman said. She says the results appear to relate partly to the unique moisture management properties of wool. “Wool is a hygroscopic fibre which has the ability to absorb up to 36% of its weight in water and create a thermal buffer between the skin and the external environment. The wool appears to be keeping the moisture content of the wearer’s delicate skin at the levels it should be, preventing it from becoming too dry and therefore reducing the risks of bacterial infection and the desire to scratch the itch. “Furthermore, superfine Merino is not able to pierce the epidermal layers, due to its small diameter, thus not initiating a localised, inflammatory response.” POSITIVE RESULTS FOR SUPERFINE MERINO WOOL The trials have been conducted using lightweight, 150 gram per square metre superfine Merino wool garments with a micron range finer than 18.6 microns. Program Manager of Fibre Advocacy and Eco Credentials with AWI, Angus Ireland, says the studies demonstrate a strong role for superfine Merino in fostering healthy skin and managing eczema. “The traditional advice to indiscriminately avoid wool against the skin, based on early commentaries that failed to distinguish between wool fibre types, can now be modified to include superfine Merino as a recommended next-to-skin clothing choice. “It’s interesting to note that, prior to the QIDerm study, most patients say they couldn’t tolerate wool and many believed they were allergic to wool. However, we didn’t have a single patient withdraw from the study due to any types of intolerance of these superfine wools. “The results from the dermatological research are extremely encouraging and Rheannan Williams, with her two-year old daughter, on Channel Nine news. Rheannan said she was delighted with the therapeutic effects of wearing Merino wool on her daughter’s eczema: “I would 100% recommend it, it’s amazing.” Associate Professor John Su on the Channel Nine news advocating the benefits of superfine Merino wool for skin health. QIDerm research leader Dr Lynda Spelman, Teagan Holland, Kurt Davidson and study facilitator Dr Eshini Perera examine the Merino apparel used in their initial studies. provide a significant opportunity for Merino wool. The findings are potentially not only profound for sufferers of this debilitating and potentially life-long condition, but also for the wool industry.” The fact that the Brisbane-based study was undertaken throughout the city’s hot and humid summer conditions, also shows that low-micron lightweight wool garments are suitable for all seasons. FROM R&D TO MARKETING A major focus of AWI’s ‘Fibre Advocacy’ investment program is validating and communicating the health and wellbeing benefits of wool products. “The major challenge in this area is that globally more than 3 in 10 consumers still nominate perceived itch as a barrier to buying wool products, with around 1 in 10 consumers claiming they are allergic to wool,” Angus said. “If these misconceptions about wool can be addressed then there is huge potential to ‘unlock’ demand growth for Merino wool because of the strong trend in consumer markets towards healthy and environmentally friendly products. “This is especially true for markets such as babywear, sleepwear and underwear as well as base layer activewear. These are relatively new markets for wool, containing products that are used every day and can command a high retail price per kilogram of fibre used – which is good news for Australian woolgrowers. “A risk management activity associated with this research is the development of a specification for garments that are suitable for eczema sufferers’ delicate skin, as use of inappropriate garments could quickly undermine this good news story. Low micron (18.5 micron or less), lightweight (150 gram per square meter) Merino garments were used in the studies but comfort is also affected by other fibre, fabric and garment characteristics which may need to be controlled. AWI is developing a Woolmark specification ‘Suitable for sensitive skin’ which will evolve into a swing tag to help ensure shoppers choose appropriate garments. “Ultimately, the AWI program aims to increase and maintain demand.” “Most importantly, our study indicates that wearing superfine Merino wool may actually help in the management of eczema in young children.” Associate Professor John Su OFF FARM 25
In the Shops - September 2016