Synthetic glove allergies explained

24 January 2021

A guide to Nitrile and other Non-Latex Glove allergies.

Hand irritation

What causes non-latex allergies?

Non-Latex Gloves are sometimes made in the same factories as Latex gloves, and could therefore be contaminated with latex proteins – if you are experiencing allergic reactions to gloves, check with your glove provider if this is the case!

Another cause of non-Latex allergies is the presence of chemicals called accelerators which are used in the production of gloves such as carbonates and thiurams which are known to engender a reaction. For example, in vinyl manufacturing a petroleum is used in the process. Allergy issues commonly lie in the petroleum used for Synthetic gloves. Albeit rare, petroleum allergies to occur in some individuals.

Irritative substances on the hands is a another common issue, such as residual hand soap or a scented lotion. Although these substances may not cause a problem on the exposed skin, the associated reaction will be exacerbated for some individuals when a glove is pressing the substance into the skin.

Glove ventilation is another known cause – gloves are intended to prevent chemicals permeating into or out of the glove. Skin irritation can occur when a glove sweats and lacks breathability. Gloves do differ in their degree of breathability, Santé offers a range of alternatives with higher breathability ratings.

Disposable gloves have an intended wearing timeframe and chemical resistance level. Should the glove be worn for longer than intended, chemicals may leak through the glove itself causing the skin to react to the chemicals.

How prevalent are non-latex allergies? 

The impact of non-latex glove allergies is very small, virtually non-existent, when compared to latex allergies. It is generally a urticaria caused by a perspiration and lack of breathability.

What are the types or symptoms of Latex allergies?

Symptoms include red itchy rashes and sometimes small blisters, hives are raised red bumps that itch and cause swelling. Cracks can appear which start to bleed or become infected. For more information, check out the Santé Guide to Latex Allergies

How to treat and prevent non-latex allergies?

  • Try powder-free gloves,
  • Change your gloves more frequently.
  • Try a glove with a higher level of breathability. This issue is also more evident when your glove is too small – gloves that are too tight create irritation and discomfort as the skin is unable to breathe inside the glove. Measure your hand using our Glove Sizing Guide.
  • Accelerator-free gloves are available for people who are highly sensitive to these additives.
  • Speak to a glove specialist at Santé, to understand the chemical resistance of a glove and find out which type of glove is most suited to your needs.