New U.S. study finds absorbent briefs with curly fiber lower skin pH and reduce the risk for Incontinence Associated Skin Damage

HARTMANN announced today the release of a landmark study supporting the use of absorbent products with curly fiber as a new strategy for combating Incontinence Associated Skin Damage (IASD).

Led by renowned incontinence researcher and University of Minnesota School of Nursing professor, Donna Bliss, the study found that absorbent briefs with curly fiber significantly lower/acidify skin pH, reducing the risk for IASD in older nursing home residents (75+ years).
Bliss presented the findings last week during a sold-out breakfast symposium at the 2016 WOCN Society and CAET Joint Conference in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Funded by a research grant from HARTMANN, the study published the following conclusions:

Absorbent briefs containing curly fiber significantly lower/acidify the pH of skin exposed to an alkaline solution with pH similar to urine/feces while standard briefs do not.
Absorbent briefs containing curly fiber have the potential to prevent IASD, reduce IASD severity and promote IASD healing in older nursing home residents.
Findings support the use of absorbent briefs with curly fiber as a new strategy for combating IASD and maintaining skin health during incontinence.
IASD represents a significant health challenge worldwide. Characterized by inflammation, persistent redness, pain, itching and skin loss, IASD causes considerable discomfort and is a well-recognized risk factor for the development of secondary infections and pressure ulcers.

The primary cause of IASD is chronic exposure to urine or stool, both of which raise skin pH to unhealthy levels (up to pH 8.0) and compromise the skin’s natural defenses. Elevated pH levels break down the skin’s protective acid mantle, opening the pathways for environmental contaminants and microbial infection. Absorbent products with curly fiber help protect the skin against IASD by instantly reducing pH to the skin-friendly range of pH 4.5 to 5.5.

“The Bliss study supports our own laboratory findings and clearly demonstrates the pH-buffering power of curly fiber,” said Dr. Hans Smola, Medical Director for HARTMANN. “When skin pH is reduced, the risk of IASD is also reduced.”

HARTMANN is the only U.S. manufacturer of absorbent products with curly fiber, including disposable briefs, disposable protective underwear (DPUs), liners and bladder pads. For more information or to request a free product sample, call 1-800-243-2294 or visit

HARTMANN is a leading provider of healthcare solutions in the areas of adult incontinence, wound care and compression therapy. As a forward-thinking company, HARTMANN partners with healthcare professionals across the continuum of care to develop and implement novel solutions designed to promote healing, increase operational efficiencies and improve quality of life.

The Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society™ (WOCN) is the premier nursing specialty organization dedicated to safe and effective wound, ostomy and continence care. The Canadian Association for Enterostomal Therapy (CAET) is a not-for-profit association working to promote high nursing standards for the care of wound, ostomy and continence patients.

‘Source: Donna Z. Bliss, PhD, RN, FAAN, FGSA; Peggy Bland, RN, HSD; Kjerstie Wiltzen, BA, BSN, CWCN; Alexandra Gannon; Anna Wilhelms; Michelle Mathiason, MSN; and Robert Turnbaugh, RN; University of Minnesota School of Nursing, Minneapolis, MN and Presbyterian Manor, Farmington, MO. Absorbent Briefs Containing Curly Fiber Lower (Acidify) Skin pH Reducing Risk for Incontinence Associated Skin Damage (IASD). Poster session presented at: WOCN Society and CAET Joint Conference; 2016 June 4 – 8; Montreal, Quebec, Canada.