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Is Alpaca Wool Hypoallergenic?

What Is Alpaca Wool?

Is alpaca wool hypoallergenic? - its an important question if you are have allergy issues. Before learning that, lets learn about Alpaca wool. Alpaca wool refers to the natural fiber obtained from the fleece of alpacas, which are domesticated camelid animals native to the Andes Mountains of South America. It is a soft and luxurious material known for its warmth, durability, and hypoallergenic properties. Alpaca wool is highly prized for its fine texture and is commonly used in the production of various garments and textiles, including sweaters, scarves, hats, and blankets. It is considered a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to other types of wool.

Is Baby Alpaca Wool Itchy?

No, baby alpaca wool is not typically itchy. In fact, it is known for its exceptional softness and luxurious feel. The term "baby alpaca" refers to the first shearing of an alpaca, which produces the finest and softest fibers. Baby alpaca wool is highly prized for its gentle touch and is often considered even softer than regular alpaca wool. It is a popular choice for those with sensitive skin or those who find other types of wool uncomfortable or itchy.

Why Do The Common And Traditional Wools Cause Skin Irritation?

Common and traditional wools, such as sheep's wool, can sometimes cause skin irritation due to several factors:

I. Coarse Fibers

Sheep's wool contains coarser fibers compared to other types of wool. These fibers can be rough and may cause friction against sensitive skin, leading to itching and irritation.

II. Lanolin and Other Substances

Sheep's wool naturally contains lanolin, a waxy substance produced by sheep to protect their fleece. Lanolin can cause allergic reactions or sensitivity in some individuals, resulting in skin irritation. 

III. Chemical Treatments

The processing of sheep's wool often involves various chemical treatments, such as washing, dyeing, and finishing. These chemicals can remain in the fibers and may trigger allergic reactions or irritate sensitive skin.

IV. Prickle Factor

Certain woolen fabrics can have a higher "prickle factor" due to the presence of shorter and thicker fibers. These fibers can feel prickly or scratchy against the skin, causing discomfort and irritation.

It's important to note that not everyone experiences skin irritation with traditional wools, and some individuals may be more sensitive than others. However, for those with wool sensitivities or skin conditions, exploring alternative wool types like alpaca, cashmere, or merino wool may be a more comfortable option as they are generally softer and less likely to cause irritation. 

Is Alpaca Wool Hypoallergenic?

Yes it is. Alpaca wool or fleece is a great alternative for those that have allergies to other animal woolens such as sheep’s wool.

High grade and pure alpaca fleece is soft on the skin and to the touch, as it holds very little to no lanolin, a natural grease that animal woolens have which dust and microscopic allergens can adhere to and are often the catalyst that produces allergies associated with wool. Symptoms can include skin irritations like itchiness and redness around more sensitive areas of the skin like the wrists and neckline.

The natural lack of lanolin in alpaca fleece or the little it may have which can be mostly washed out in the refining process to spin the fleece into yarn or fabric, means alpaca fiber is hypoallergenic for most people. This is even more evident in higher grades alpaca, like royal alpaca and baby alpaca.

alpaca heeard

To be clear baby alpaca is not sheering the young ‘cria’ alpacas rather it refers to the grading quality of the fineness in the adult fiber. Baby alpaca fiber is the softest part of an adult alpaca, not the age of the animal, and is sheared from the neck, chest area and the back of an adult alpaca.

Alicia Peru Pia Alpaca Sweater

Alpaca is gaining more positive notoriety as the fashion and design worlds herald it as one of the world’s most natural and exclusive fibers. From which all kinds of garments, from Alpaca sweaters to Alpaca coats to extremely fine and light products like shawls can be made.

alpaca and silk woman's shawl

 Most recently, we at Alicia Peru began producing more soft home textiles like throws and blankets in the finest grades of baby alpaca – our current best seller is our Eyelash Throw now available in over 12 color shades. In its natural state alpaca fleece comes in over 20 natural shades from ivory to black with numerous shades of beige, camel and gray in between.

Alpaca is softer and stronger than sheep's wool and currently less well known, but just as premium as its competitor, cashmere. Discover for yourself the luxury of alpaca fiber, considered the gold of the Andes by the pre-Colombian Inca culture.

Can I Wear Alpaca Wool with A Wool Sensitivity?

While alpaca wool is generally considered hypoallergenic and less likely to cause skin irritation compared to traditional sheep's wool, it's important to note that individuals with a specific wool sensitivity may still react to alpaca wool. Sensitivities and allergies can vary from person to person, and what works for one individual may not work for another.

That being said, many people with wool sensitivities find alpaca wool to be more tolerable due to its softer and finer fibers. Alpaca wool is known for its luxurious feel and is often considered less irritating to the skin. However, it's always a good idea to take precautions when trying a new material:

Patch Test: Before wearing a garment made of alpaca wool, conduct a patch test by placing a small piece of the fabric against your skin, preferably on a sensitive area like the inner forearm. Monitor the area for any signs of irritation or allergic reactions for a period of time, usually 24 to 48 hours. 

Choose High-Quality Alpaca Wool

Opt for high-quality alpaca wool from reputable sources. Lower-quality fibers or blends may still have a potential to cause irritation due to coarse or processed fibers. 

Layer and Test Comfort

If you decide to wear alpaca wool, consider layering it over a thin, breathable fabric to minimize direct contact with your skin. This can help gauge your comfort level and potential reactions. 

Consult with a Dermatologist

If you have a known wool sensitivity or a history of skin allergies, it's advisable to consult with a dermatologist who can provide personalized advice and guidance based on your specific condition.

Ultimately, individual experiences may vary, so it's important to listen to your body and make decisions based on your own comfort and well-being.

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