Table of Contents
ISRN Dermatology
Volume 2011, Article ID 369603, 8 pages
Research Article

Antimicrobial Active Clothes Display No Adverse Effects on the Ecological Balance of the Healthy Human Skin Microflora

Institute for Hygiene and Biotechnology, Hohenstein Institutes, Schloss Hohenstein, 74357 Boennigheim, Germany

Received 13 January 2011; Accepted 27 February 2011

Academic Editors: Y. Ohya, C. Ferrándiz, and A. Zalewska

Copyright © 2011 Dirk Hoefer and Timo R. Hammer. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The progressive public use of antimicrobial clothes has raised issues concerning skin health. A placebo-controlled side-to-side study was run with antimicrobial clothes versus fabrics of similar structure but minus the antimicrobial activity, to evaluate possible adverse effects on the healthy skin microflora. Sixty volunteers were enrolled. Each participant received a set of form-fitting T-shirts constructed in 2 halves: an antibacterial half, displaying activities of 3–5 log-step reductions due to silver-finishes or silver-loaded fibres and a nonantibacterial control side. The microflora of the scapular skin was analyzed weekly for opportunistic and pathogenic microorganisms over six weeks. The antibacterial halves did not disturb the microflora in number or composition, whereas a silver-containing deodorant displayed a short-term disturbance. Furthermore, parameters of skin morphology and function (TEWL, pH, moisture) did not show any significant shifts. In summary, antimicrobial clothes did not show adverse effects on the ecological balance of the healthy skin microflora.