Interpersonal differences in the friction response of skin relate to FTIR measures for skin lipids and hydration

M. Klaassen, E.G. De Vries, M.A. Masen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


Understanding the mechanical response of skin to contact is of importance when developing products that interact with the skin. The shear forces that arise due to friction in the interface are a key aspect of skin interactions, because shear is known to contribute to discomfort and tissue injury. However, the frictional response of skin shows large variations between people. It has been hypothesised that these variations relate to differences between people in the physiological properties of their skin, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. In order to gain new insights into these interpersonal differences in friction behaviour, in vivo FTIR measurements and in vivo friction measurements were performed on the same patch of skin. Quantitative analysis of the various peaks in the FTIR spectra provided information on the moisture content of the stratum corneum and the amount and mechanical properties of the lipids on the skin. The lipid viscosity, as characterised by the width of the 2920 cm−1 peak, correlates with the friction, whilst, interestingly, no relationship was found between the quantity of lipids on the skin surface and the coefficient of friction. Additionally, and as expected, a fairly strong correlation was obtained between the moisture content, as characterised by the height of the Amide I peak and the coefficient of friction. The presented results show that spectroscopy techniques can be used in as a non-invasive method to identify people who may show elevated levels of friction and thus are at increased risk of developing shear induced tissue injury.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110883
JournalColloids and surfaces B: Biointerfaces
Early online date19 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Friction
  • FTIR
  • Hydration
  • In Vivo Skin
  • Moisture
  • Shear
  • Skin Lipids
  • Tribology
  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • 22/2 OA procedure


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