Wool Allergy – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and More

Allergy to wool material and clothing is a very common condition. Some people find wool clothing their favorite while some may feel the itch just looking at it.

If you are one of them and feel wool allergy after wearing woolen clothing this article is for you. Keep reading to learn.

Wool Allergy

Wool is derived from sheep and is especially used as a clothing material. Lanolin is a natural oil present in wool, and it is the main cause of allergies in most people.

According to the study of the 1930s, wool was considered an allergen. However, some experts still consider that wool is not an allergen. According to them, rather than wool, the specific component of lanolin may cause an allergic reaction.  

If you have an allergic reaction to lanolin in wool, you may also be allergic to other products containing lanolin.

Wool Allergy Symptoms

The symptoms of wool allergy may appear immediately or in a while after contact with wool. They may range from mild irritation to severe nasal problems. The common symptoms include:

  • Irritation on the skin, rashes, and hives
  • Irritation or itching in the eyes
  • Cough
  • Runny nose and watery eyes
  • Sneezing

Wool Sensitivity

Real wool allergy is very rare therefore, most people are sensitive to wool. It can be difficult to understand whether you are allergic or sensitive to wool. People who have sensitive skin show irritation when in contact with wool.

Before getting your treatment, it is important to know whether you have sensitivity or allergy.

Woman wearing a wool scarf itching her neck due to wool allergy

Complications of wool allergy

There are many serious complications associated with all allergies. They include:

  • Asthma
  • Ear infections and lung infections
  • Sinusitis
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Sudden fall in blood pressure
  • Difficult breathing

An allergy patient requires immediate medical attention during these complications.

Causes of wool allergy

Allergy to wool is likely to happen by Lanolin which is a natural oil present in sheep hair. It is a complex substance and has moisturizing properties and due to its properties, it is often added to cosmetics.

Allergy to lanolin is a very rare occurrence. According to a 2001 study, of more than 24,000 people with a high risk of allergies, only 1.4% reacted to lanolin.   


If your body reacts to wool consistently you need to contact your allergist. The allergist will confirm whether you are allergic to wool or not.

If you are suspected of allergy your allergist will perform a skin prick test to diagnose wool allergy. He will record your medical history to diagnose the allergy symptoms.

He may conduct a variety of tests to diagnose your allergy, the test includes blood tests or skin prick tests.

Wool allergy and Children

Children are most likely prone to skin irritations because their skin is more sensitive. They may become victims of contact dermatitis from fibers or other chemicals in their clothing.

In contact dermatitis, the skin can appear dry, red, blistered, and cracked. It appears on the skin right where the irritating material touches it.

When to see the doctor?

It is important to see the doctor immediately, whenever you suspected you have an allergic reaction. It is important to see the doctor at the initial stage because allergies can become more severe over time.


If you think you have an allergic reaction to wool, you should avoid using or wearing wool clothes. Moreover, wearing a thick underlayer to keep your skin from touching the wool can be beneficial.

As wool allergy is caused by lanolin, you need to avoid cosmetic products such as moisturizers that contain lanolin.  

If you have an allergic reaction your doctor can prescribe antihistamine medications such as Benadryl. You should keep in mind to not give any medicines to babies without a doctor’s prescription.


Wool is a natural fiber derived from sheep and useful for clothing and warm garments. Allergic reaction to wool is very rare, however, people with sensitive skin react to its coarse fiber.

Do not hesitate to contact your doctor if you feel any irritation after wearing wool clothes. If you have any questions about wool allergy, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team is always available for your help and guidance. Thanks for reading, Stay Healthy!