Skin Deep - Clinical & Cosmetic Dermatology Blog

Skin Deep is a blog for dermatologists and skin care professionals with focus on theoretical, cosmetic and aesthetic dermatology. This blog is associated with ‘Dermatologists Sans Borders’ one of the largest curated groups of skin care professionals on facebook. If you are looking for non-technical information, please visit

Clothing the itch

Atopic dermatitis is one of the most distressing itchy eczema that starts early in life and gradually improves with age except in an unlucky few. Though several pathogenic mechanisms like impairment of the skin-barrier function, increased oxidative cellular stress, and bacterial colonization are considered, the actual cause (or the combination of them) is largely unknown.
Textile Chemicals
Textile Chemicals (Photo credit: Clariant International Ltd.)

Medical Textiles is one of the most rapidly expanding sectors in the textile industry and this paper investigates the role of ZnO-functionalized textile fibers in the control of Atopic Dermatitis. [1] The concept seems to be interesting, but study unfortunately is far from convincing.

If you actually wanted to prove the usefulness of a fabric in a condition like AD with several undefined causative factors and an incontrovertible psychological component, what would you have done? An RCT with ZnO impregnated fabric and normal fabric with adequate power to prove the hypothesis would have been the most appropriate. But the authors preferred to do impressive in-vitro studies to prove the antioxidative capacity and antibacterial activity. They also showed that the textile is non-toxic to cultured cell lines (Did anyone expect ZnO to be toxic?). However the in-vivo component was limited to an uncontrolled pilot trial in a handful of patients!

I don’t think the evidence provided is hardly sufficient for us to get excited. And the disclosure states that the study is funded by the manufacturer!


1. Wiegand, Cornelia et al. "Skin-protective effects of a zinc oxide-functionalized textile and its relevance for atopic dermatitis." Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology 6 (2013): 115. [Full Text]

I give 2 peels for this study. peel rating
What is peel score?

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About Me

As a Dermatologist and Informatician my research mainly involves application of bioinformatics techniques and tools in dermatological conditions. However my research interests are varied and I have publications in areas ranging from artificial intelligence, sequence analysis, systems biology, ontology development, microarray analysis, immunology, computational biology and clinical dermatology. I am also interested in eHealth, Health Informatics and Health Policy.


Bell Raj Eapen
Hamilton, ON