In patients with atopic dermatitis (AD), recommendations for the use of functional textiles should be based on a combination of in vitro analyses of the products in their original state after they have been laundered, according to a study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.
Researchers sought to examine the physical and functional properties of 11 commercially available functional textiles, including their antimicrobial activity in vitro, as a function of multiple cycles of laundering.
All of the materials evaluated were weighed and inspected under scanning electron microscopy both prior to and after laundering for fiber morphology and silver coating.
The bioburden of newly purchased textiles was evaluated by calculating bacterial colony-forming units (CFUs). The deliverable antimicrobial efficacy of each of the specimens was assessed in vitro both before and after 30, 70, 100, 150, and 200 laundering cycles.
High variability in textile weight was demonstrated. Damaged silver coating of varying degree was detected under scanning electron microscopy in most of the materials following the laundering process.
Products that were made of silk demonstrated smoother and tighter fabric morphology compared with products made of cotton. The bacterial load of unwashed material ranged from <1 CFU to 35 CFUs per a 50 x 50-mm specimen.
After they were laundered, most silver-containing products lost their antimicrobial activity very quickly. Even in their original state, silk and cotton retrieved products demonstrated no deliverable antimicrobial effects.
The investigators concluded that elastic, lightweight fabrics are comfortable for everyday use in patents with AD. Functional textiles that rapidly lose their deliverable antimicrobial activity in vitro are not advisable for the AD population. Silver-coated textiles appear to be the most promising adjunct therapy for patients with AD, even if only some of them provide sustained, deliverable antimicrobial activity for the skin of these patients.