Firstly do you know exactly what it is that you are allergic to and what reaction you may have? This is probably harder to find out than you might think as people with sensitive skin can be affected by more than one thing and pinning down the culprit is made that much more difficult the more reactions you have. A normal allergic reaction can be anything from a mild rash to a nasty irritation that lasts for several days and even sores and blisters, so taking a little time to find out what causes your break out makes good sense.
Irritation to finishing treatments
Many people have some sort of reaction to any man-made fibres and this is usually due not to the actual fibres but to the solvents and chemicals used throughout the manufacturing process. Things like polyester and nylon that are used extensively throughout the fabric manufacturing industry are made from synthetic polymers and are often treated with acid and harsh chemicals during the finishing process.
Rayon and acetate are made from treated wood pulp or fibres and go through an astonishing array of different processes before a fabric can be deemed as usable. When you consider that a soft and pliable material has been manufactured from wood then it might give you some insight of just how intense the process is.
Some acrylic fibres are suspected of being carcinogenic and there are even some that are being investigated by official bodies. On top of this many fabrics are treated with stain resistant or stain proof finishes and others may have anti-static or wrinkle free labels. Many of these treatments are what is called a ‘finishing treatment’ and is therefore left on the surface of the fabric, this could be the cause of your sensitivity so you see it can be a very difficult subject to address.
An allergy to sheep's wool could also pose a problem for some people, although typically it's not the wool itself that's the problem it's the lanolin, oil in the sheep's fleece. Thankfully this type of skin sensitivity is quite rare. Okay, so now we have an idea of what to avoid we can start to look at some of the options that are open to us.
Options for allergy sufferers
As a general rule any natural fibre will be a good option for you. Look for throws that are made from cotton, silk, wool, without lanolin, or cashmere and make sure that the label says 100% otherwise you might find a mix of natural and man made fibres in your throw and your allergies may be aggravated. Unfortunately you will probably find that most of the throws that you can use are in the higher priced brackets. This is because the fibres are natural, but also because the better quality of the raw materials will mean that it requires less processing to the finished fabric so perhaps in the end it will be more durable and so cost effective.
You may find that you have a sensitivity to animal products like wool and even silk and if this should be the case than perhaps a good choice might be throws that are made from hemp or cotton, but again be wary of mixed fibres and finishing treatments as these are probably the danger areas for you.
When you choose your throw perhaps also bear in mind what you will use it for, choose fine wool or silk for a warm throw that you can use as a snuggle blanket on cool evenings and cotton or hemp for a cooler throw that perhaps will be more decorative. Whatever your final choice remember that your throw is a great addition to your home and if looked after properly with regular cleaning, following manufactures instructions of course, and good care it will give you many years of service and pleasure.
Related Throw Collections
Finished reading this buying guide? Here are a selection of categories you may find useful: