Evaluating lubricant performance to reduce COVID-19 PPE-related skin injury

Marc A. Masen, Aaron Chung, Joanna U. Dawczyk, Zach Dunning, Lydia Edwards, Christopher Guyott, Thomas A. G. Hall, Rachel C. Januszewski, Shaoli Jiang, Rikeen D. Jobanputra, Kabelan J. Karunaseelan, Nikolaos Kalogeropoulos (+17 others)
2020 PLoS ONE  
Healthcare workers around the world are experiencing skin injury due to the extended use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic. These injuries are the result of high shear stresses acting on the skin, caused by friction with the PPE. This study aims to provide a practical lubricating solution for frontline medical staff working a 4+ hours shift wearing PPE. A literature review into skin friction and skin lubrication was conducted to identify products and substances
more » ... ucts and substances that can reduce friction. We evaluated the lubricating performance of commercially available products in vivo using a custom-built tribometer. Most lubricants provide a strong initial friction reduction, but only few products provide lubrication that lasts for four hours. The response of skin to friction is a complex interplay between the lubricating properties and durability of the film deposited on the surface and the response of skin to the lubricating substance, which include epidermal absorption, occlusion, and water retention. Talcum powder, a petrolatum-lanolin mixture, and a coconut oil-cocoa butter-beeswax mixture showed excellent long-lasting low friction. Moisturising the skin results in excessive friction, and the use of products that are aimed at 'moisturising without leaving a non-greasy feel' should be prevented. Most investigated dressings also demonstrate excellent performance.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0239363 pmid:32970710 fatcat:wqwdd5mxkffuhbf7wyqvlrv5ka