Investigation of the influence of textiles and surface treatments on blistering using a novel simulant

C Guerra, C J Schwartz
Skin Research and Technology 2012, 18 (1): 94-100

BACKGROUND: Friction blisters occur when shear loading causes the separation of dermal layers. Consequences range from minor pain to life-threatening infection. Past research in blister formation has focused on in vivo experiments, which complicate a mechanics-based study of the phenomenon.

METHODS: A Synthetic Skin Simulant Platform (3SP) approach was developed to investigate the effect of textile fabrics (t-shirt knit and denim cottons) and surface treatments (dry and wet lubricants) on blister formation. 3SP samples consist of bonded elastomeric layers that are surrogates for various dermal layers. These layers display frictional and mechanical properties similar to their anatomical analogues. Blistering was assessed by the measurement of deboned area between layers.

RESULTS: Denim caused greater blistering than did the t-shirt knit cotton, and both lubricants significantly reduced blister area and surface damage. A triglyceride-based lubricant had a more pronounced effect on blister reduction than corn starch. The triglyceride lubricant used with t-shirt knit cotton resulted in no blisters being formed.

CONCLUSION: The performance of the 3SP approach follows previously reported frictional behavior of skin in vivo. The results of textile and surface treatment performance suggest that future 3SP iterations can be focused on specific anatomical sites based on application type.

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