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January 30, 2015 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Have Sensitive Skin? Try Alpaca Fibers

By Chelsea More Blogs by This Author

Sensitive skin can be a serious issue, affecting everything from the clothes you wear to the bedding you sleep on. If you struggle with easily irritated skin, then some types of fibers are better for you than others—but are alpaca fibers good for sensitive skin?

Warm and Dry

Alpaca are native to the high Andes Mountains, and their fibers help keep them warm.
Domesticated and raised for their wool, these animals were highly prized by the ancient Incas, and the fibers that they produce are a great choice for even the most sensitive of skin.

Alpaca fiber is naturally warm, as well as being water-resistant. This means that it wicks
away moisture and reduces the risk of dampness-related skin conditions such as rashes, blisters, yeast infections, and intertrigo. If you are prone to problems related to moist skin, alpaca fibers are a great choice.

Hypoallergenic

This waterproofing has another advantage: It means that alpaca do not need to produce lanolin. Lanolin, a waxy substance secreted by a sheep’s skin, is used to help keep sheep wool dry, but it is often very difficult to remove from the fibers after shearing. In addition, those who have a “wool allergy” can more accurately be said to have a “lanolin allergy,” as they are reacting poorly to the sheep’s secretions. Alpaca, on the other hand, already have waterproof fur and do not produce lanolin. Thus, their fibers are hypoallergenic and are almost always safe to wear for those with wool allergies.

Smooth and Soft

Many people who think they have sheep wool allergies are actually suffering from another problem—the texture. Due to the structure of the scales on individual hairs, sheep’s wool can be scratchy and rough, and many people who are not accustomed to wearing wool have a hard time adjusting to it. Alpaca fibers have differently shaped scales, however, meaning that they are softer, smoother, and more comfortable to wear.

Versatile

Even those without sensitive skin can benefit from wearing alpaca fiber.  Alpaca fiber contains many small air pockets within the individual fibers, which both increase warmth and decrease weight. Alpaca wool is very durable—it can last for several years--and it is even somewhat fire-resistant. Alpaca wool can be woven, felted, knitted, or crocheted, meaning the applications are almost endless; it can come in over 20 different natural colors and an endless range of hues when dyed. If you’ve struggled with irritating fabrics in the past, there’s no need to worry—alpaca fibers are excellent for sensitive skin.

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