Cotton's Clinically Proven Benefits for Sensitive Skin

Everyone wants their clothes and personal care products to be comfortable and safe against their skin. Especially when it comes to the diapers our babies wear. For the millions of people with sensitive skin, choosing non-irritating fibers is even more critical. That’s why Cotton Incorporated set out to clinically evaluate and determine if cotton—either natural or purified—causes a reaction on any type of skin.

Spoiler alert: Out of 200 participants, and 400 tests, there were an incredible zero irritation responses!

Read on to see what we did and the key takeaways!

What we did:

To evaluate the safety of cotton on sensitive skin, an HRIPT test was conducted on a group of over 200 participants.

What is an HRIPT? The Human Repeat Insult Patch Test is an industry standard method used to test a product’s irritation and allergy potential. It is designed to induce contact dermatitis in a small area. Through clinical trials, this test can help determine any potential irritation or sensitization issues.

All participants underwent patch tests for both purified cotton (scoured & whitened) and natural cotton (containing natural oils and wax). Approximately 50% of participants had self-reported sensitive skin. The testing process lasted 7 weeks and consisted of 4 weekly induction phases, a 2-week recovery phase, and a one-week challenge phase. In the induction phase, the participants’ skin was graded for irritations 24 hours after removing the patch of cotton. In the challenge phase, the evaluation was conducted 15–20 minutes after the patch was removed.

What we found:

When the results were analyzed, both natural and purified forms of cotton passed the sensitivity test with flying colors. In both the induction and challenge phases, there was no irritation response to the cotton fiber patch test on any of the over 200 participants. Both types of cotton were found to be completely nonirritating even to those with sensitive skin, now proving clinically that natural and purified cotton are hypoallergenic and safe. The results were reviewed and approved by a dermatologist.

What does this mean for you?

For centuries, cotton has been known to be soft and safe, and now it is also clinically proven to be safe, even on the most sensitive skin. From clothing to baby care, cotton’s hypoallergenic and non-irritating properties enhance the products we turn to most. So if you’re looking for a fiber you can feel comfortable trusting, reach for cotton.

Cotton in its natural form
Cotton in its natural form
Cotton in its natural form

Cotton in its natural form

Cotton in its natural form

Cotton in its natural form

About Cotton, Incorporated:

Cotton Incorporated is the research and promotion company for upland cotton. Funded by U.S. cotton growers and importers of upland cotton-containing products, the not-for-profit organization’s mission is to increase the demand for and profitability of cotton. As a resource for the cotton industry, Cotton Incorporated conducts or oversees 500 research and educational projects in an average year. Research areas range from the development of agricultural and textile innovations to analyses of commodity and market data.

To learn more about the hypoallergenic nature of cotton, view our brochure or visit


Source: Cotton Incorporated 2019 clinical trials on Determination of the Irritating and Sensitizing Propensities of Mechanically Cleaned and Purified Cotton on Human Skin

About the author

Matias is the marketing assistant for nonwovens marketing at Cotton Incorporated. His favorite subjects to focus on include sustainability and personal health. Besides marketing, Matias is an audio producer and musician in North Carolina.

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