News Release

Breakthrough nano-particle technology provides fresh solution for smelly feet

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Say Communications

LUGANO, 30 October, 2020 - New research (1) presented at the 29th EADV Congress, EADV Virtual, shows that socks coated in zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs) can prevent bromodosis (foot odour) and pitted keratolysis (bacterial infection causing smelly feet), reducing the negative impact this embarrassing condition has on quality of life (2).

Developed by the Royal Thai Airforce, the ZnO-NP-coated socks were trialled in a real-life setting by researchers at Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University in Thailand. They found that the antibacterial efficacy of ZnO-NPs, along with its safety and compatibility with human skin, makes it the perfect compound to incorporate into textiles, including socks, to prevent unpleasant foot odour.

The double-blinded, randomised, controlled trial was conducted with 148 cadets at the Thai Naval Rating School. Bromodosis and pitted keratolysis are a common complaint in military personnel, with foot lesions, including pitted keratosis, occurring in over a third of naval cadets in Thailand (38.5%) (2).

The study demonstrated that those with the ZnO-NP-coated socks had significantly less foot malodour compared to baseline (p=0.009). This was compared to the uncoated-sock group who experienced more intense foot odour with a greater negative effect on their daily life (p=0.04). They also found that participants with the uncoated-socks were more likely to develop pitted keratolysis compared to those with the ZnO-NP-coated-socks (p=0.05).

The study is a result of the first-hand experience of lead author Dr Punyawee Ongsri, a naval officer and final year resident at the Department of Dermatology, Siriraj hospital, Mahidol University. He saw an issue with military personnel while working in the naval medical department. Dr Ongsri explains: "While completing an internship as a naval officer in the medical department, I saw a high number of foot infections in military personnel. I wanted to find a way to prevent and treat these fungal and bacterial infections and those conditions associated. Previous studies had demonstrated zinc oxide nanoparticles's antibacterial properties therefore my professor Dr. Bunyaratavej, Dr. Leeyaphan and our research team wanted to test the efficacy of this new technology in a real-life setting."

He continues, "Our results prove the efficacy of ZnO-NP-coated socks in preventing bromodosis and inhibiting the development of pitted keratolysis. These socks could provide a new primary prevention option for both military personnel and those susceptible to these embarrassing and unpleasant conditions. We are continuing our research with other textiles and hope to treat and prevent the growth of bacterial and fungal infections."


Notes to Editors

A reference to the 29th European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) Congress, EADV Virtual, or EADV Virtual 2020 must be included when communicating any information within this press release.


For further information or to arrange an expert interview, please contact or:

Lewis Picton - EADV Press Officer
+44 (0) 208 971 6419

Nina Vadjaraganian - EADV Press Officer
+44 (0) 208 971 6408

Sophie Graham - EADV Press Officer
+44 (0) 208 971 6413

About Pitted keratolysis

Pitted keratolysis is a common skin disease, caused by various gram-positive bacteria including Corynebacterium species, Kytococcus sedentarius, Dermatophilus congolensis and Actinomyces species (3). These bacteria 'eat' the keratin on the skin of the soles of the feet, creating small tunnels, giving a 'pitted' appearance and unpleasant 'cheesy' foot malodour (4). It is commonly found in young male adults, especially in soldiers, miners and athletes.

About Punyawee Ongsri

Was born in 1988. He graduated from Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn university. He has been serving in naval medical department, Royal Thai Navy since 2013 and currently as Lieutenant Commander. He has started his residency training in Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj hospital, Mahidol university and now in his final year.

About EADV:

Founded in 1987, EADV is the leading community to further the knowledge of health professionals and advocates in the field of dermatology and venereology. It is a non-profit organisation with over 7,000 members, across 113 different countries in the world, providing a valuable service for every type of dermato-venereologist professional. The EADV is committed to improving the quality of patient care, continuing medical education for all dermato-venereologists within Europe and beyond, and advocacy on behalf of the speciality and patients. To find. out more visit

About EADV Virtual:

This year's Congress is a first in EADV's history. EADV Virtual - New Frontiers in Dermatology and Venereology provides an exceptional opportunity for colleagues from around the world to explore the latest developments in science and patient care that are at the heart of the academy's mission. The user experience is immersive and simple to follow. To find out more visit



(2) Lt. Punyawee Ongsri, M.D. RTN*; Asst. Prof. Sumanas Bunyaratavej, M.D.†; Asst. Prof. Charussri Leeyaphan, Prevalence and Clinical Correlation of Super!cial Fungal Foot Infection in Thai Naval Rating Cadets, MILITARY MEDICINE, 183, 9/10:e633, 2018

(3) Derm Net New Zealand, Pitted Keratolyis. Available at:,Athletes Accessed October 2020

(4) Netdoctor, Bromodosis. Available at: Accessed October 2020

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.