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Dry skin is a condition characterized by impaired skin barrier function including atopic dermatitis and senile eczemas. Fabric softening chemicals (FSC) smoothens the surface of fabrics and thus decreases friction with the skin. Scientific evaluation of fabric softener on skin dryness is very limited. We evaluated the effectiveness and safety of FSC-treated T-shirts in subjects with dry skin. This is a randomized double-blind control study that included 40 male volunteers with apparent dry skin. Subjects were randomly divided into two groups: 20 men received 28 pieces of FSC-treated T-shirts wearing them for 4 weeks, and another 20 men received non-treated T-shirts. The effect of trial was evaluated by visual grading, subjective symptom, stratum corneum water content (SCWC), transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and dermoscopic skin surface analysis on days 0, 7, 14 and 28. A significant improvement of SCWC was observed in the skin of the shoulder (days 7-28) and lateral abdomen (day 14) wearing the treated T-shirts, but not in the non-treated T-shirts. In a stratified analysis of the low and high SCWC group, significant improvement was identified in the low SCWC groups but not in high SCWC groups. The visual grading of the shoulder improved significantly in the treated T-shirts group. No significant improvement was found in TEWL, dermoscopic analysis and subjective symptom in both groups. No remarkable side-effect was identified throughout this investigation. Addition of a fabric softener during clothes laundering is a potent preventive tool for dry skin. © 2010 Japanese Dermatological Association.


Kenichi Isoda, Yutaka Takagi, Takashi Kitahara, Yutaka Sano, Ikuo Sugano, Kumi Umeda-Togami, Koji Umeda, Keiichi Yamanaka, Tomomi Yamada, Hitoshi Mizutani. Treatment of cloth with a fabric softener ameliorates skin dryness. The Journal of dermatology. 2011 Jul;38(7):685-92

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PMID: 21729145

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