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Scientific evaluation of fabric softener use on the friction of fabrics and on dry skin in real life is very limited. The coefficient of friction of fabrics was measured with a surface tester using model skin and cotton fabrics. The effects and safety of fabric softener-treated T-shirts on subjects with dry skin were evaluated in real-life conditions in the cold and arid environment. Twenty male volunteers with dry skin used T-shirts without softener for 1 week before day 0 and then wore softener-treated T-shirts for 14 days. Effects were evaluated by clinical grading, subjective symptoms, stratum corneum water content (SCWC) and transepidermal water loss (TEWL). A significant decrease in the coefficient of friction of fabrics was detected. A significant improvement in SCWC was observed on the torso, waist and shoulder, but no improvement was found on the inner forearm. There was a slight change in TEWL. The visual grading of dryness improved significantly at all sites, but no significant change was found in subjective symptoms. Our results suggest that fabric softener provides benefits to individuals with dry skin because of the decreased friction of the garments against the skin. It is possible that the softener treatment of fabrics contributes to the state of moisturization of the skin and may work in collaboration with the application of moisturizers. © 2011 The Authors. ICS © 2011 Society of Cosmetic Scientists and the Société Française de Cosmétologie.


T Fujimura, Y Takagi, I Sugano, Y Sano, N Yamaguchi, T Kitahara, Y Takema, R L Rizer. Real-life use of underwear treated with fabric softeners improves skin dryness by decreasing the friction of fabrics against the skin. International journal of cosmetic science. 2011 Dec;33(6):566-71

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PMID: 21668833

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