The skin provides a physical barrier to microbes and harsh environmental factors. Moisture balance is critical for maintaining barrier integrity. Prolonged contact with bodily fluids can lead to maceration, barrier disruption, mechanical abrasion, and tears, often causing significant pain and morbidity. Skin protectants reduce contact with fluids and soothe irritation while promoting healing and barrier restoration.
The study aimed to compare the barrier properties of two skin care products, a silicone-rich cream product* and a surfactant-based solution$. Test sites were marked on an excised, ventral porcine skin flap and randomly divided into treatment groups. Fifteen minutes after application, the excess product was removed; the cream* was removed with gentle wiping, the liquid$ was removed with gentle wiping or wicking. A foam pad containing methylene blue dye was then compressed on the surface for 15 seconds, digital images were taken, and the optical density (OD) of each test site was determined using densitometry.
Using this strategy, products that create a moisture barrier decrease dye penetration into the skin and have a higher OD; those that degrade the normal skin barrier have opposite characteristics. The mean OD was 47.00, 73.44, 38.67, and 39.16 calibrated OD units, for untreated control, cream*, liquid$(wick), and liquid$(wipe), respectively. Pairwise comparisons with Bonferroni correction following non-parametric Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA show a significant difference in OD of cream-treated* and control (Wilcoxon Z= -4.1569, DSCF =5.8788, p=0.0002) and liquid$ product (Wilcoxon Z= 4.1569, DSCF =5.8788, p=0.0002; both removal methods).
While the OD of the cream-treated* skin was more than 1.5 times the control (t18.873=8.05, p<0.0001), the surfactant-based liquid$-treated skin had an OD more than 16% lower than control (twick, 14.94=-5.91, p<0.0001; twipe, 21.59=-4.07, p=0.00013). These findings demonstrate that, regardless of removal method, of the two products tested, only the silicone-based cream* created a protective moisture barrier on the skin surface.