Background: The frictional characteristics of skin-object interactions are important when handling objects, in the assessment of perception and comfort of products and materials and in the origins and prevention of skin injuries. In this study, based on statistical methods, a quantitative model is developed that describes the friction behaviour of human skin as a function of the subject characteristics, contact conditions, the properties of the counter material as well as environmental conditions. Aims: Although the frictional behaviour of human skin is a multivariable problem, in literature the variables that are associated with skin friction have been studied using univariable methods. In this work, multivariable models for the static and dynamic coefficients of friction as well as for the hydration of the skin are presented. Materials & Methods: A total of 634 skin-friction measurements were performed using a recently developed tribometer. Using a statistical analysis, previously defined potential influential variables were linked to the static and dynamic coefficient of friction and to the hydration of the skin, resulting in three predictive quantitative models that descibe the friction behaviour and the hydration of human skin respectively. Results and Discussion: Increased dynamic coefficients of friction were obtained from older subjects, on the index finger, with materials with a higher surface energy at higher room temperatures, whereas lower dynamic coefficients of friction were obtained at lower skin temperatures, on the temple with rougher contact materials. The static coefficient of friction increased with higher skin hydration, increasing age, on the index finger, with materials with a higher surface energy and at higher ambient temperatures. The hydration of the skin was associated with the skin temperature, anatomical location, presence of hair on the skin and the relative air humidity. Conclusion: Predictive models have been derived for the static and dynamic coefficient of friction using a multivariable approach. These two coefficients of friction show a strong correlation. Consequently the two multivariable models resemble, with the static coefficient of friction being on average 18% lower than the dynamic coefficient of friction. The multivariable models in this study can be used to describe the data set that was the basis for this study. Care should be taken when generalising these results. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S.