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SUMMARY

Differences in the dynamic skin friction coefficients (μ) were investigated with respect to age, sex, and anatomical region. A total of 29 volunteers consisting of seven young females, seven old females, seven young males, and eight old males participated in the study. Measurements were obtained from II anatomical regions, namely, the forehead, upper arm, volar and dorsal forearm, postauricular, palm, abdomen, upper and lower back, thigh, and ankle. The friction data were compared with stratum corneum hydration and transepidermal water loss (TEWL). The dynamic friction coefficient did not vary significantly between age and sex groups but varied considerably among the anatomical regions of the body. The forehead and postauricular had the highest μ (0.34 ± 0.02) while the abdomen had the lowest (0.12 ± 0.01); the remaining regions had an average μ value of 0.21 ± 0.01. Similarly, no sex differences were observed for TEWL and stratum corneum hydration. Capacitance was only significantly lower on the palms of the elderly. Regional differences showed a higher state of hydration on the forehead and postauricular as well as the upper arm, upper and lower back when compared with the volar forearm. TEWL was generally lower in the elderly on all anatomical regions except the postauricular and palm. A significant correlation was established between μ and capacitance for most regions. Between μ and TEWL significant correlation was observed only on the palm and thigh. These findings suggest that frictional properties of skin are dependent on more than water content or non-apparent sweating and the role of sebum secretion is suggested as one possible factor.