Researchers at the Hohenstein Institute, a Germany-based textile research and testing laboratory,
have completed a field study financed by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology through
the Federation of Industrial Research Associations on the effect of antibacterial apparel on skin
flora and microclimate.
The study involved 60 healthy volunteers who wore special T-shirts — treated on one side with
an antibacterial treatment, with no such treatment on the other side — for at least eight hours
each day for four weeks. Researchers studied the effect of an antibacterial spinning additive as
well as an antibacterial finishing treatment, both containing silver. Antibacterial activity in the
samples was tested in the laboratory using test bacteria before the survey began.
Each week during the survey, researchers investigated various parameters for the skin flora
and microclimate and had test sites on skin dermatologically assessed. At the beginning of the
trial, and during and after a series of tests, researchers identified the types of skin bacteria on
each of the volunteers’ natural skin flora. They also studied three aspects of the skin’s
microclimate: vapor loss through the skin, skin moisture levels and the pH value.
Upon completion of the study, researchers determined that antibacterial apparel provides the
intended protection against bacteria that may enter via perspiration, but it does not affect skin
flora or the microclimate of healthy skin; therefore, antibacterial apparel textiles may be
classified as safe.
March 8, 2011