Do you have a rash from gloves at work?
If your answer is yes! So, this article is perfect for you because I have been in this situation before! Just relax and read your excellent guide.
I’ve been using my gloves for ages! But suddenly, my hands are irritated, and there are rashes all over my fingers!
What’s happening? And what’s wrong with my gloves?
Well, your gloves are excellent, but your skin is not!
Gloves are made to protect your skin against harm, infection, or injuries while performing some tasks and daily chores.
Some people have allergies to certain types of gloves, such as latex.
However, sometimes you know you don’t have an allergy, and you have been used to a specific type of glove for a long time, but now your hand starts to develop rashes and become dry and itchy, so what went wrong?
Are you suddenly allergic, or have the type of glove you use just become bad?
Well, none of these! But don’t be concerned.
It’s common for people who wear gloves for a long time, and the skin becomes sensitive and easily irritated.
It’s called contact dermatitis!
We will figure out what it is, why it happens, and how to treat and avoid it in the future!
What is contact dermatitis, and how serious is it?
Let’s begin with…
What is eczema/dermatitis?
It’s a term for a group of conditions that cause the skin to become dry and irritated.
Contact dermatitis, also called contact allergy or contact eczema is a form of dermatitis/eczema.
According to National Eczema Association, “Contact dermatitis (1) happens when the skin becomes irritated or inflamed after coming in contact with a substance that triggers an allergic reaction.”
Allergen is a term used for anything causing any allergy, you could be exposed to an allergen for years, but it doesn’t cause dermatitis.
How you are used to wearing your gloves a lot with no trouble, and then it’s now making your skin blister. Let us now go for the types of this allergy.
Types of contact dermatitis
Irritant contact dermatitis, the prevalent type, doesn’t involve a systemic allergic reaction by your defense mechanism, “The immune system”; it’s not an allergy! And don’t worry! it’s not contagious
It’s an external irritant directly damaging or affecting your skin.
When does irritant contact dermatitis occur?
It happens with gloves, solvents, soaps, detergents, acids, alkalis, adhesives, household cleaning, and bleaching products; some may also be caused by makeup, hair dye, wool cloths, and sometimes metals.
In allergic contact dermatitis, your body defines the substance or material as harmful and begins to send signals to your immune system. Alarming is when there’s a toxic substance, the immune system takes the lead and sends backup as an allergic reaction.
What triggers contact dermatitis? Why does it happen?
Frequently exposing your hand to a chemical or physical irritant such as wearing gloves triggers skin inflammation.
Because it damages the skin barrier much faster than the ability of the skin to repair itself as it removes the natural oils and moisturizers that can help maintain a healthy and intact skin Irritant.
So, it doesn’t happen anywhere; it’s several factors and repetitive cumulative exposure times and duration; it depends on a few things.
1. How does it happens?
This type of gloves usually happens because of the chemicals and proteins used in manufacturing latex, nitrile, or synthetic gloves.
These chemicals are called Accelerators.
Why did the manufacturer use it?
They accelerate, transforming the liquid rubber into a thin, strong, and elastic film to create the light yet strong gloves we wear.
Chemical accelerators such as dithiocarbamates, thiurams, and mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT) are responsible for a wide range of skin dermatitis and allergic reactions to gloves.
Moreover, it is critical if your glove is too small, tight, or lacks enough breathability!
It will help keep your hand cool by letting the sweat out. It could be another reason for irritation through accumulating the work inside.
Do you wear gloves for too long? Can this be a factor for rashes?
Prolonged and frequent exposure can trigger the inflammation faster!
Disposable Gloves are made to be worn for a certain amount of time and with specific chemical resistance.
So, what happens?
If you wear them longer than intended, the chemicals may begin to leak through the glove and cause skin irritation alongside the sweat.
Is it just the gloves, or are other factors involved in rashes development?
Many people complained about their hands getting itchy and dry with alcohol-based sanitizers and frequent hand washing with water and soap alongside wearing gloves sometimes!
Especially with the COVID-19 outbreak using such things became essential for people and some professions.
Some environmental factors are involved, such as:
- Heat exposure
- wet and moisture can make the skin more susceptible to inflammation
- Friction by rubbing your hand against the gloves can trigger worsen the inflammation
Is your skin healthy enough?
Do you have other skin conditions that make your skin susceptible to inflammation, such as atopic dermatitis?
Weak skin barrier, dry hands & cracked skin make it easier to get irritant dermatitis.
Do you have a known allergy to certain substances that could be part of the glove you use?
You could be allergic to gloves, but people commonly are allergic to latex more than any other type.
How Frequent can I get rashes?
Contact dermatitis is also identified as occupational dermatitis as it happens to people who work in specific places that involve handling irritants, chemical materials, or metals.
Moreover, people always have their hands in wet environments and frequently suffer from this problem. these people might be;
- hair stylists
- Food handlers
- Health care professionals
Don’t worry; it’s not just you!
So, the more you wear the gloves, the worse things get for your hand, especially if you have another skin condition.
It’s not just your gloves that can cause this type of allergy sometimes; over-washing your hands with water and soap can cause your writing to be irritated!
Make sure you select the right glove and the right size!
What are the symptoms of irritant contact dermatitis? How do rashes develop?
You will start to notice;
- Localized redness on your hands and fingers
- Usually, white raised bumps run into rashes that come with swelling.
- It happens shortly after the exposure, or sometimes it develops over days
- You might also experience pain, burning & itchy sensations that could last for days or weeks
- Skin became cracked and dry, and with time it could become hard forming crusts; if it becomes severe, it turns into annoying blisters that could bleed and cause infection if left uncared for or treated
- The pain could affect your mood, sleep, and daily tasks
What should you do to prevent rashes? Should I not wear gloves anymore?!
They say avoiding the cause is the most crucial step in treatment!
But most probably, if you’re here, you need to wear your gloves a lot, and it’s not easy to get rid of them just like that.
They’re essential while handling irritant materials to your hand or when performing a task requiring contact with water, detergent, or any other material that may cause your skin to be irritated.
So, it wouldn’t be advisable not to wear gloves anymore; you cannot avoid wearing gloves forever!
But here are a few things you can do to avoid getting the rashes,
Follow the “DON’Ts”
- Wear the gloves for too long
- Use moisturizers right before wearing the gloves
- Wear latex gloves, especially if you have a latex allergy
- Use powdered gloves; they are likely to cause contact dermatitis
- Wear wet gloves, and do not wear gloves while your hands are wet
- Use perfumed soap, harsh soaps, and detergents instead; use soap composed of moisturizers
Try the following products for better results;
- Always choose to wear nitrile gloves as they are a great choice!
- A vinyl glove is a good alternative, too, if you believe your hand is irritated from nitrile.
- Plastic & cotton gloves are good choices for simple tasks that don’t need vinyl or nitrile gloves.
- Make sure you choose the task-suited, right-sized gloves and gloves with adequate breathability.
Use the following products to reduce the inflammation;
1. Always use the inner or sweat-absorbing fabric liner
Beneath the glove or use a glove that already has a built-in liner in case of prolonged exposure but be aware that it could make the glove thinker and reduce mobility if you’re planning to do a task that includes picking small things.
2. Using emollients and creams
They help repair, hydrate, and protect the skin.
Coconut oil, aloe vera, shea butter, tea tree oil, and lavender essential oils are great when talking terms of moisturizing.
Cream-based moisturizers are used after washing your hand while it’s damp to penetrate the skin better; they are usually used for less dry skin.
Ointment-based moisturizers are the best; the greasier, the better; they contain more significant amounts of oils such as white petrolatum jelly (Vaseline), which is widely used and highly recommended for dehydrated skin.
Lotion-based products are the least effective; they quickly evaporate, leaving the skin to dry even further.
3. Moisturize your hand
Even after dermatitis gets better, the more you moisturize your hand, the healthier your skin gets and the less frequently that this will happen again!
The critical message here…prevention is the cure.
Please choose the right glove and don’t wear it for too long. Stay away from fragranced products and always moisturize your hand.
What if prevention is not enough?
Many people get glove-related contact dermatitis very often, and the good thing about it is that it can be easily identified and stopped! And it usually doesn’t require a medical intervention
It’s not severe, and in most cases, it resolves on its own, usually within a few weeks
But it could take more time to determine if it happens frequently.
The happy news is that Good home care, and natural treatments can help relieve the symptoms, keep you more comfortable and relieve your pain and speed your healing
Here are a few things to try at home; check this out:
1. Cold Compressors
You can use cold compressors if the area is too swollen and red; a clean cloth soaked in cool water applied on the skin for 10-15 mins several times per day can help ease the pain and reduce the swelling.
2. Applying Natural oils
Coconut oil, Vitamin E, Honey & apple cider vinegar, and many other natural remedies have been used for ages to relieve itching and burning sensations as they have anti-inflammatory properties.
You can apply coconut oil several times daily until the blisters or lesions are healed.
Moreover, be careful. Vinegar can cause a burning sensation in open wounds. People with cracked and bleeding skin should avoid this.
3. Lukewarm Baths or Oatmeal Baths
Oatmeal baths are simple, inexpensive, and quickly made at home!
They are very soothing and can help to relieve the pain. Colloidal oatmeal is an ingredient in moisturizing creams, bath soaps & shampoos.
It has been used in treating a lot of skin conditions and has anti-inflammatory properties; it’s also super great when it comes to relieving the pain
You can make it by grinding oats until they turn into powder. Then, you can either
- Mix the powder with warm water until totally mixed, and soak your hands in them for 20-30 min
- Or mix the powder with water and make a paste to apply to your hands and fingers and wrap it in a moisturized cloth for 20-30 min
Either way, after then, make sure you rinse your hand well with water and dry them carefully, and don’t forget to moisturize
4. Baking soda bath or paste
Baking soda paste and bath can also help to reduce inflammation, it also has anti-fungal properties, so it helps keep the infections away.
Mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda and 12 tablespoons of distilled water.
You can use coconut oil until it forms a paste, then apply it to the itchy area of your hand for 10 minutes, gently rinse with cool water, dry, and moisturize.
5. Topical Steroids
If home care remedies don’t ease your rash and itching, dermatologists commonly prescribe topical steroids such as hydrocortisone cream to treat symptoms.
Some are available as over-the-counter medications, and some are prescription only. Please don’t use it for too long as it may cause your skin to be thinner and more prone to infections and cracking.
Calamine lotion is also very good at relieving the itching if you’re OK with going out in pink hands! You can use it at home or when you’re not going out.
An antihistamine may be required if itching is not relieved using calamine lotion or topical hydrocortisone.
If the rash is widespread, dermatologists may prescribe a short-term course of oral or injectable corticosteroids, but that usually doesn’t happen, so don’t worry.
If things got too severe, the symptoms didn’t resolve after all the home treatments, OTC medications, or developed other symptoms like fever or chills, or rashes appearing in other places, don’t hesitate to visit a dermatologist. As soon as possible!
- Is latex allergy the same as contact dermatitis?
Both are different from a latex allergy, which is more severe and could develop into an anaphylactic reaction and shock.
To cut it short for you, contact dermatitis is a nonallergic and not contagious form of inflammation. It happens because the skin has been repeatedly exposed to a substance or environmental factor that causes irritation or damage to the skin. Such as frequently wearing your gloves for a long time.
You needn’t worry about rashes due to frequent use of the glove; it happens frequently and can easily be prevented; U, ally, home treatment, or topical corticosteroids are enough to resolve it.