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Microclimate management: The critical link to skin integrity


As a clinician, have you ever had the experience of rolling a patient on to their side only to find their back is warm and sweaty without any indication of sweating elsewhere? Here is some insight into why this may have happened.

Skin is one of the key players in maintaining our body’s core temperature and homeostasis. Since the patient’s body temperature is generally higher than room temperature, they will lose some of their heat to the environment via radiation, conduction and convection. If the support surface the patient is lying on is unable to dissipate the heat build-up at the skin/support surface interface, the skin temperature will rise.1 This situation is further complicated in patients with limited mobility or inability to reposition themselves. Repositioning would allow some heat to escape into the ambient air decreasing the heat build-up at the surface interface.

As the skin temperature rises, the body will elicit a sweat response in an attempt to cool down.2 We now have a patient that is hot and sweaty which can potentially increase the patient’s risk for pressure injury development. If the moisture at the surface interface does not evaporate, it can weaken the tensile strength of the stratum corneum and increase the pH of the skin, as well as increase the coefficient of friction.2 This increase in moisture at the surface interface is detrimental to skin health and has the potential of increasing the amount of friction and shear the patient will endure during head of bed elevation, bed mobility or repositioning.

A solution to the build-up of heat and moisture (microclimate) at the interface is to ensure that the support surface has the capacity to dissipate heat as well as moisture at the skin/surface interface. This is an important concept to understand especially for patients exhibiting limited mobility or medical conditions directly resulting in a rise in body temperature or skin moisture.

Microclimate management is critical to skin integrity. Arjo offers a range of Skin IQ microclimate management (MCM) solutions for managing skin temperature and controlling excessive moisture. Our family of Skin IQ products are designed with unique, patented Negative Airflow Technology that specifically addresses a patient’s microclimate at the skin/surface interface, including:

  • Skin IQ MCM: A single patient use coverlet
  • Skin IQ 365: A multiple patient use coverlet capable of being disinfected between patients via either laundry or wipe down
  • Skin IQ 1000: A single patient use coverlet for patients weighing up to 1000 lbs

Discover how Arjo’s Skin IQ microclimate management solutions can be critical in the prevention and management of pressure injuries.


  1. Lachenbruch C. (2005). Skin cooling surfaces: estimating the importance of limiting skin temperature. Ostomy/wound management, 51(2), 70–79.
  2. Kottner J, Black J, Call E, Gefen, A, Santamaria N. Microclimate: A critical review on the context of pressure ulcer prevention. Clinical Biomechanics 2018, Issue 59, Page 62-70.