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Skin Issues with Disposable Gloves

There are many industries where you are required to wear disposable gloves on a regular basis. For example, those working in the medical field go through countless pairs of gloves every shift. The same is true for food service workers, janitorial staff, and even mechanics.

Unfortunately, wearing these gloves all the time isn't always good for your skin health. Many people notice skin reactions when wearing disposable gloves, although they may not immediately realize that the gloves are causing or exacerbating the problem.

Skin irritation isn't something to be taken lightly. The skin is the body's first line of defense against foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. If you work around infectious agents and have broken skin, you can easily get an infection.

Most people are familiar with the concept of a latex allergy. Many cheaper brands of disposable gloves, frequently used by custodians and food service workers, are made of latex rubber. The symptoms of a latex allergy include hives on the areas which contacted the latex product, chest congestion and difficulty breathing, and even anaphylaxis. Most people with a latex allergy will also have allergic reactions to certain fruits and vegetables which contain proteins similar to latex, such as tomatoes, bananas, kiwis, and potatoes.

While most people know about latex allergies, it's actually one of the more uncommon reasons to have a skin reaction to gloves, whether the gloves contain latex or not. Most people with a reaction to disposable gloves actually suffer from what is called irritant dermatitis. Irritant dermatitis causes redness on the contact area, itching, dryness, and even cracking of the skin. usually, contact dermatitis isn't caused by the latex in the gloves but by other chemicals used in their manufacture.

Another reason disposable gloves can lead to skin problems is the fact that the gloves trap sweat and other moisture against the skin. This softens the skin and makes it more prone to irritation. Soaps and detergents used in handwashing can also end up trapped inside your gloves, causing irritation. If you are prone to dry skin in cold weather, regular use of disposable gloves can make these issues worse.

Luckily, there are options that help reduce the effects of these problems. If you have had issues with latex-containing gloves in the past, you might benefit from the use of nitrile gloves. Even people who don't have a true latex allergy can find nitrile gloves more comfortable, as they are also free of some of the irritating chemicals found in other varieties of gloves.

Some companies make special "low dermatitis potential" gloves for people that have frequent issues with contact dermatitis. While these gloves are more expensive that typical gloves, they might be worth it if your job requires you to wear gloves frequently and it is causing you significant issues.

Using disposable gloves is required for many jobs, and makes life cleaner and simpler for many others. However, this simple, everyday product can lead to skin issues for many people. The solutions are luckily straightforward.