Effects of various grit-containing cleansers on skin barrier function

Contact Dermatitis. 1999 Sep;41(3):136-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.1999.tb06104.x.


Products intended for individuals in contact with strongly adhering dirt often contain grit. Various clinical test methods have been developed for evaluating the potential of personal washing products to induce skin irritation. In the present study, differences in the irritant effects of washing products containing naturally-derived grit and synthetic grit were investigated in a forearm wash test. The forearms of 16 test subjects were washed in a total of 18 treatments (4 per day for 4 days, with 2 treatments on the 5th day). Treatment consisted of continuous washing for 2 min by a technician, who gently slid his fingertips with the lather up and down the forearm. Non-invasive instrumental measurements of skin barrier function were performed. Repetitive washing for 1 week lead to increased TEWL values, skin redness and decreased stratum corneum hydration. Results indicate differences in irritancy potential due to different types of grit, their surface and concentration. It is concluded that the repeated wash test seems to be adequate for rating personal washing products that contain grit.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Dermatitis, Contact* / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Contact* / physiopathology
  • Detergents / adverse effects
  • Forearm
  • Humans
  • Irritants*
  • Powders / adverse effects*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena
  • Skin Tests
  • Soaps / adverse effects*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Detergents
  • Irritants
  • Powders
  • Soaps