Close Fitting to Optimum Degree
The silicone dressings are also popular for their good adhesive properties. The material is very soft and pliant and conforms with the irregular surface of the skin. This has the advantage of vastly increasing the area of contact between the silicone and skin – as well as boosting the adhesive forces. “Other adhesives such as polyacrylate and hydrogels are less flexible and are unable to conform to the surface of the skin as readily,” says Haentjens. This is why the materials need an adhesive that more strongly interacts with the skin to enhance the adhesiveness. The resultant wound dressings can lead to increased resistance and friction during movement.
Skin dressings made of silicone are very thin and conform to the surface of the skin smoothly, such that very little friction is generated. “I have emerged from training sessions and competitions free from any skin irritation or pain, thanks to ReSkin skin dressings,” says van Lierde.
The developers of ReSkin know what is important about their products. The company ReSkin was spun-off from Bioracer, a sports firm founded by Raymond Vanstraelen, an ex-professional cyclist. Bioracer specializes in the production of functional sportswear, is market leader in the Benelux countries and fits out various national cycling teams. It was Vanstraelen, too, who first addressed the problem of chafing in cycling. Together with scientists from the University of Ghent in Belgium, he spent years researching a solution before they finally identified silicone as the optimum material: not only is it easy to apply to the skin, but it can also be removed again atraumatically, i.e. without injury and with little pain.
Bioracer and the University of Ghent subsequently founded ReSkin as a joint venture in 2011 and set about finding a reliable silicone supplier. “WACKER is an acknowledged specialist in this material, and has a reputation for reliability and quality,” explains Haentjens. ReSkin is now market leader with its “Bike” line of products and has been asked about preventing chafing in other sports.
Triathlete Frederik van Lierder finally has made it to the top. In 2013, after spending a season preparing under ideal conditions with the aid of ReSkin dressings, he won the Hawaiian Ironman in eight hours, thereby becoming the king of the triathletes.