Advantages and Disadvantages of Gloves

  • Becky S. Li
  • Tuula Estlander
  • Riita Jolanki
  • Howard I. MaibachEmail author
Living reference work entry


  • Although gloves protect hands from hazardous environmental factors, there are problems associated with their frequent use.

  • Dirt, irritation, maceration, allergy, and lack of comfort are the most important problems for consideration.

  • Permeation of gloves, spillage onto the skin from gloves, and absorption through gloves are means for contamination and irritation.

  • Irritant dermatitis by polymeric gloves is common in the occupational setting and can be caused by the polymer itself, additives to the polymer, or glove powders.

  • Allergic contact dermatitis to glove material may be delayed (type-IV) allergy or immediate (type-I) allergy and is perhaps less common than irritant contact dermatitis.

  • Allergic sensitization is an ongoing concern as presence of allergens imposes on integral precautions within the healthcare setting such as preventing allergic reactions in patients during procedures and protection of patients and healthcare workers from biohazardous materials.

  • Allergic sensitization may impose upon an employee’s ability to perform tasks necessary for employment within the occupational setting.


Allergic contact dermatitis Irritant contact dermatitis Maceration Skin Patch test Dermatology Gloves Natural rubber latex (NRL) Polyvinyl chloride Carbamates Thioureas 


  1. Aalto-Korte K, Alanko K, Henriks-Eckerman ML, Estlander T, Jolanki R (2003) Allergic contact dermatitis from bisphenol A in PVC gloves. Contact Dermatitis 49:202–205PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aalto-Korte K, Alanko K, Henriks-Eckerman ML, Jolanki R (2006) Antimicrobial allergy from polyvinyl chloride gloves. Arch Dermatol 142:1326–1330PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ahmed SM, Aw TC, Adisesh A (2004) Toxicological and immunological aspects of occupational latex allergy. Toxicol Rev 23:12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alenius H, Turjanmaa K, Palosuo T, Makinen-Kiljunen S, Reunala T (1991) Surgical latex glove allergy: characterization of rubber protein allergens by immunoblotting. Int Arch Allergy Appl Immunol 96:376–380PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Aly R, Shirley C, Cunico B, Maibach HI (1978) Effect of prolonged occlusion on the microbial flora, pH, carbon dioxide and transepidermal water loss on human skin. J Invest Dermatol 71:378–381PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Amin S, Lahti A, Maibach HI (eds) (1997) Contact urticaria syndrome. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  7. Aoyama M, Sugiura K, Fujise H, Naruse M (1982) On use of gloves in the home and their influence upon skin irritation. Nagoya Med J 27:65–74Google Scholar
  8. Baur X, Chen Z, Allmers H, Raulf-Heimsoth M (1998) Results of wearing test with two different latex gloves with and without the use of skin-protection cream. Allergy 53:441–444PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beezhold D, Pugh B, Liss G, Sussman G (1996) Correlation of protein levels with skin prick test reactions in patients allergic to latex. J Allergy Clin Immunol 98:1097–1102PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Boman A, Estlander T, Wahlberg JE, Maibach HI (eds) (2005) Protective gloves for occupational use, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  11. Brehler R (1996) Contact urticaria caused by latex-free nitrile gloves. Contact Dermatitis 34:296PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brehler R, Voss W, Muller S (1998) Glove powder affects skin roughness, one parameter of skin irritation. Contact Dermatitis 39:227–230PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bruze M, Trulsson L, Bendsoe N (1992) Patch testing with ultrasonic bath extracts. Am J Contact Dermat 3:133–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cabanillas B, Rodriguez J, Blanca N, Jimenez MA, Crespo JF (2010) Clinically relevant cross-reactivity between latex and passion fruit. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 103:1Google Scholar
  15. Cao L, Taylor J, Sood A, Murray D, Siegel P (2010) Allergic contact dermatitis to synthetic rubber gloves. Arch Dermatol Res 146:7Google Scholar
  16. Charous BL, Tarlo SM, Charous MA, Kelly K (2002) Natural rubber latex allergy in the occupational setting. Methods 27:7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Chin JY, Batterman SA (2010) Permeation of gasoline, diesel, bioethanol (E85), and biodiesel (B20) fuels through six glove materials. J Occup Environ Hyg 7:417–428PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Chowdhury M, Maibach HI (eds) (2004) Latex intolerance. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  19. Chowdhury MMU, Maibach HI (eds) (2005) Latex intolerance. Basic science, epidemiology, and clinical management. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  20. Conde-Salazar L, del-Rio E, Guimaraens D, Gonzalez Domingo A (1993) Type IV allergy to rubber additives: a 10-year study of 686 cases. J Am Acad Dermatol 29:176–180PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cronin E (1980) Contact dermatitis. Churchill Livingstone, EdinburghGoogle Scholar
  22. Cullinan P (2003) Latex allergy. A position paper of the British Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Clin Exp Allergy 33:16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. de Groot H, de Jong NW, Duijster E, Gerth van Wijk R, Vermeulen A, van Toorenenbergen AW et al (1998) Prevalence of natural rubber latex allergy (type I and type IV) in laboratory workers in The Netherlands. Contact Dermatitis 38:159–163PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. de Souza CR, Beezhold D, Carvalho LJ (2008) Pt2L4 protein, a homologue to Hev b 5 from rubber tree, may not be responsible for the cross-reactions to cassava show by people allergic to latex. Protein Pept Lett 15:3Google Scholar
  25. Ebo DG, Hagendorens MM, Bridts CH, De Clerck LS, Stevens WJ (2004) Sensitization to cross-reactive carbohydrate determinants and the ubiquitous protein profilin: mimickers of allergy. Clin Exp Allergy 34:8Google Scholar
  26. Edlich RF (2009) Dangers of cornstarch powder. Ann Plast Surg 63:5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Estlander T, Jolanki R (1988) How to protect the hands. Dermatol Clin 6:105–114PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Estlander T, Jolanki R (2005) Allergic contact dermatitis from rubber and plastic gloves. In: Boman A, Estlander T, Wahlberg JE, Maibach HI (eds) Protective gloves for occupational use, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 127–144Google Scholar
  29. Estlander T, Jolanki R, Kanerva L (1986) Dermatitis and urticaria from rubber and plastic gloves. Contact Dermatitis 14:20–25PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Estlander T, Kanerva L, Jolanke R (1995) Rubber additive sensitization from synthetic rubber gloves and boots. Allergologie 18:470Google Scholar
  31. Estlander T, Jolanki R, Kanerva L (1997) Occupational allergic contact dermatitis from 2,3-epoxypropyl trimethyl ammonium chloride (EPTMAC) and Kathon LX in a starch modification factory. Contact Dermatitis 36:191–194PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Estlander T, Jolanki R, Kanerva L (1998) Occupational allergy to bisphenol A from non-epoxy products. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 11:207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Field EA, King CK (1990) Skin problems associated with routine wearing of protective gloves in dental practice. Br Dent J 168:5Google Scholar
  34. Figard WH (1980) Intensifying the efforts of proper glove selection. Occup Health Saf 49:30, 42PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Ford JL, Phillips P (2007) Are aloe-coated gloves effective in healthcare? Nurs Times 103:2Google Scholar
  36. Fregert S, Rorsman H (1964) Allergens in epoxy resins. Allergy 19:296–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Fuchs T (1994) Latex allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol 93:951–952PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Gamboa PM, Sánchez-Monge R, Díaz-Perales A, Salcedo G, Ansótegul J, Sanz ML (2005) Latex-vegetable syndrome due to custard apple and aubergine: new variations of the hevein symphony. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 15:4Google Scholar
  39. Gaspar A, Neto-Braga C, Pires G, Murta R, Morais-Almeida M, Rosado-Pinto J (2003) Anaphylactic reaction to manioc: cross-reactivity to latex. Allergy 58:2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Geier J, Lessmann H, Uter W, Schnuch A (2003) Occupational rubber glove allergy: results of the Information Network of Departments of Dermatology (IVDK), 1995–2001. Contact Dermatitis 48:39–44PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Geier J, Lessmann H, Mahler V, Pohrt U, Uter W, Schnuch A (2012) Occupational contact allergy caused by rubber gloves – nothing has changed. Contact Dermatitis 67:149–156PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Giménez-Arnau AM, Maibach HI (eds) (2015) Contact urticaria syndrome. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis Group, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  43. Guarneri F, Guarneri C, Guarneri B, Benvenga S (2006) In silico identification of potential new latex allergens. Clin Exp Allergy 36:4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Guin JD (1992) The doctor’s surgical/examination gloves – problems with and without them. Int J Dermatol 31:853–855PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Haeberle HA, Lupic D, Midoro-Horiuti T, Kiefer RT, Schroeder TH, Unerti K et al (2003) Role of cross-allergies to latex in clinical routine of anesthesia. J Clin Anesth 15:10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Hamann CP (1993) Natural rubber latex protein sensitivity in review. Am J Contact Dermat 4:4–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Hansson C, Agrup G (1993) Stability of the mercaptobenzothiazole compounds. Contact Dermatitis 28:29–34PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Heese A, van Hintzenstern J, Peters KP, Koch HU, Hornstein OP (1991) Allergic and irritant reactions to rubber gloves in medical health services. Spectrum, diagnostic approach, and therapy. J Am Acad Dermatol 25:831–839PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Heese A, Peters K-P, Koch HU, Hornstein OP (1995) Allergien gegen Latexhandschuhe. Allergologie 18:358–365Google Scholar
  50. Hogstedt C, Stahl R (1980) Skin absorption and protective gloves in dynamite work. Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 41:367–372PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Holness DL, Nethercott JR (1997) Results of patch testing with a special series of rubber allergens. Contact Dermatitis 36:207–211PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ito A, Imura T, Sasaki K, Kakihara K, Mori A, Ito M (2009) Allergic contact dermatitis dur to mono(2-ethylhexyl) maleate in di-(n-octyl)tin-bis(2-ethylhexyl maleate) in polyvinyl chloride gloves. Contact Dermatitis 60:3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Jolanki R, Kanerva L, Estlander T (1987) Organic pigments in plastics can cause allergic contact dermatitis. Acta Derm Venereol Suppl 134:95–97Google Scholar
  54. Jordan WP Jr, Bourlas MC (1975) Allergic contact dermatitis to underwear elastic. Chemically transformed by laundry bleach. Arch Dermatol 111:593–595PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Kang PB, Vogt K, Gruninger SE, Marshall M, Siew C, Meyer DM (2007) The immuno cross-reactivity of gutta percha points. Dent Mater 23:5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Kwangsuktith C, Maibach HI (1995) Contact urticaria from polyurethane-membrane hypoallergenic gloves. Contact Dermatitis 33:200–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. LaMontagne AD, Radi S, Elder DS, Abramson MJ, Sim M (2006) Primary prevention of latex related sensitisation and occupational asthma: a systematic review. Occup Environ Med 63:359–364PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Lee HS, Lin YW (2009) Permeation of hair dye ingredients, p-phenylenediamine and aminophenol isomers, through protective gloves. Ann Occup Hyg 53:289–296PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Liippo J, Ackermann L, Hasan T, Laukkanen A, Rantanen T, Lammintausta K (2010) Sensitization to thiourea derivatives among Finnish patients with suspected contact dermatitis. Contact Dermatitis 63:37–41PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Liskowsky J, Geier J, Bauer A (2011) Contact allergy in the cleaning industry: analysis of contact allergy surveillance data of the information network of departments of dermatology. Contact Dermatitis 65:159–166PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Mahler V, Gutgesell C, Valenta R, Fuchs T (2006) Natural rubber latex and hymenoptera venoms share Immunoglobin E-epitopes accounting for cross-reactive carbohydrate determinants. Clin Exp Allergy 36:11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Mäkelä EA, Väänänen V, Alanko K, Jolanki R, Estlander T, Kanerva L (1999) Resistance of disposable gloves to permeation by 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate and triethyleneglycol dimethacrylate. Occup Hyg 5:121–9Google Scholar
  63. Meade BJ, Weissman DN, Beezhold DH (2002) Latex allergy: past and present. Int Immunopharmacol 2:14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Mellström G, Boman BA (1997) Protective gloves: test results compiled in a database. In: Brune D, Gerhardsson G, Crockford GW, D’Auria D (eds) International occupational safety and health information Centre (CIS), vol 1. International Labour Office/Scandinavian Science Publisher, Geneva/Oslo, pp 716–730Google Scholar
  65. Mellström GA, Wahlberg JE, Maibach HI (eds) (1994) Protective gloves for occupational use. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  66. Naruse M, Iwama M (1992) Dermatitis from household vinyl gloves. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 48:843–849PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Nettis E, Assennato G, Ferrannini A, Tursi A (2002) Type I allergy to natural rubber latex and type IV allergy to rubber chemicals in health care workers with glove-related skin symptoms. Clin Exp Allergy 32:441–447PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Nurse D (1979) Rubber sensitivity. Astralas J Derm 20:31–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Palosuo T (1997) Latex allergens. Rev Fr Allergol Immunol Clin 37:1184–1187Google Scholar
  70. Palosuo T, Lehto M, Kotovuori A, Kalkkinen N, Blanco C, Poza P et al (2007a) Latex allergy: low prevalence of immunoglobulin E to highly purified proteins Hev b 2 and Hev b 13. Clin Exp Allergy 37:1502–1511PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Palosuo T, Reinikka-Railo H, Kautiainen H, Alenius H, Kalkkinen N, Kulomaa M et al (2007b) Latex allergy: the sum quantity of four major allergens shows the allergenic potential of medical gloves. Allergy 62:781–786PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Pontén A (2006) Formaldehyde in reusable protective gloves. Contact Dermatitis 54:4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Pontén A, Dubnika I (2009) Delayed reactions to reusable protective gloves. Contact Dermatitis 60:227–229PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Ramsing DW, Agner T (1996) Effect of glove occlusion on human skin (I). Short-term experimental exposure. Contact Dermatitis 34:1–5PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Raulf-Heimsoth M, Kespohl S, Crespo JF, Rodriquez J, Feliu A, Brüning T et al (2007a) Natural rubber latex and chestnut allergy: cross-reactivity or co-sensitization? Allergy 62:5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Raulf-Heimsoth M, Rihs HP, Rozynek P, Cremer R, Gaspar A, Pires G et al (2007b) Quantitative analysis of immunoglobulin E reactivity profiles in patients allergic or sensitized to natural rubber latex (Hevea brasiliensis). Clin Exp Allergy 37:11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Receveur-Brechot V, Czjzek M, Barre A, Roussel A, Peumans WJ, Van Damme EJ et al (2006) Crystal structure at 1.45-a resolution of the major allergen endo-beta-1,3-glucanase of banana as a molecular basis for the latex-fruit syndrome. Proteins 63:235–242PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Reckling C, Engfeldt M, Bruze M (2016) Occupational nitrile glove allergy caused by pigment blue 15. Contact Dermatitis 75:189–190PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Rose RF, Lyons P, Horne H, Mark Wilkinson S (2009) A review of the materials and allergens in protective gloves. Contact Dermatitis 61:129–137PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Rycroft R (1986) Environmental factors of occupational dermatology. Dermatosen 34:157–159Google Scholar
  81. Safadi GS, Safadi TJ, Terezhalmy GT, Taylor JS, Battisto JR, Melton AL Jr (1996) Latex hypersensitivity: its prevalence among dental professionals. J Am Dent Assoc 127:83–88PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Sawyer J, Bennett A (2006) Comparing the level of dexterity offered by latex and nitrile SafeSkin gloves. Ann Occup Hyg 50:289–296PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Schliemann S (2007) Limitations of skin protection. Curr Probl Dermatol 34:171–177PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Seaton A, Cherrie B, Turnbull J (1988) Rubber glove asthma. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 296:531–532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Sowa J, Kobayashi H, Tsuruta D, Sugawara K, Ishii M (2005) Allergic contact dermatitis due to adipic polyester in vinyl chloride gloves. Contact Dermatitis 53:243–244PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Steinkjer B (1998) Contact dermatitis from cetyl pyridinium chloride in latex surgical gloves. Contact Dermatitis 39:29–30PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Taylor JS (1986) Rubber. In: Fisher A (ed) Contact dermatitis, 3rd edn. Lea & Febiger, Philadelphia, pp 603–643Google Scholar
  88. Taylor JS, Erkek E (2004) Latex allergy: diagnosis and management. Dermatol Ther 17:13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Taylor JS, Praditsuwan P (1996) Latex allergy. Review of 44 cases including outcome and frequent association with allergic hand eczema. Arch Dermatol 132:265–271PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Taylor JS, Sood A (2005) Other reactions from gloves. In: Boman A, Estlander T, Wahlberg JE, Maibach HI (eds) Protective gloves for occupational use. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 203–217Google Scholar
  91. Truscott W (2002) Glove powder reduction and alternative approaches. Methods 27:1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Turjanmaa K, Kanto M, Kautiainen H (2002) Long term outcome of 160 adult patients with natural rubber latex allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol 110:S70–S74PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Ueno M, Adachi A, Horikawa T, Inoue N, Mori A, Sasaki K (2007) Allergic contact dermatitis caused by poly(adipic acid-co-1,2-propylene glycol) and di-(n-octyl) tin-bis(2-ethylhexylmaleate) in vinyl chloride gloves. Contact Dermatitis 57:349–351PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Uter W, Hegewald J, Pfahlberg A, Lessmann H, Schnuch A, Gefeller O (2010) Contact allergy to thiurams: multifactorial analysis of clinical surveillance data collected by the IVDK network. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 83:675–681PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Van der Walle HB, Brunsveld VM (1995) Latex allergy among hairdressers. Contact Dermatitis 32:177–178PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Wagner S, Radauer C, Hafner C, Fuchs H, Jensen-Jarolim E, Wüthrich B et al (2004) Characterization of cross-reactive bell pepper allergens involved in the latex-fruit syndrome. Clin Exp Allergy 34:7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Wahlberg J (2005) Irritation and contact dermatitis from protective gloves-an overview. In: Boman A, Estlander T, Wahlberg JE, Maibach HI (eds) Protective gloves for occupational use, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 121–125Google Scholar
  98. Warshaw EM (1998) Latex allergy. J Am Acad Dermatol 39:1–24; quiz 5–6PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Wilkinson SM, Beck MH (1996) Allergic contact dermatitis from latex rubber. Br J Dermatol 134:910–914PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Wilkinson SM, Burd R (1998) Latex: a cause of allergic contact eczema in users of natural rubber gloves. J Am Acad Dermatol 39:36–42PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Williams JR (1979) Permeation of glove materials by physiologically harmful chemicals. Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 40:877–882PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Woo DK, Militello G, James WD (2004) Neoprene. Dermatitis 15:4Google Scholar
  103. Wrangsjö K, Meding B (1994) Occupational allergy to rubber chemicals. A follow-up study. Dermatosen 42:184–189Google Scholar
  104. Yeang HY (2004) Natural rubber latex allergens: new developments. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 4:5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Yip E (2004) Consideration of barrier protection and latex protein allergy in the evaluation of medical gloves. J Infus Nurs 27:5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Ylitalo L, Makinen-Kiljunen S, Turjanmaa K, Palosuo T, Reunala T (1999) Cow’s milk casein, a hidden allergen in natural rubber latex gloves. J Allergy Clin Immunol 104:4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. Yunginger JW, Jones RT, Fransway AF, Kelso JM, Warner MA, Hunt LW (1994) Extractable latex allergens and proteins in disposable medical gloves and other rubber products. J Allergy Clin Immunol 93:836–842PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  108. Zhai H, Maibach HI (2001) Effects of skin occlusion on percutaneous absorption: an overview. Skin Pharmacol Appl Physiol 14:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Becky S. Li
    • 1
  • Tuula Estlander
    • 2
  • Riita Jolanki
    • 3
  • Howard I. Maibach
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Howard University College of MedicineWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Terveystalo Healthcare OyjHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Section of Dermatology/Control of Hypersensitivity DiseasesFinnish Institute of Occupational HealthHelsinkiFinland
  4. 4.School of Medicine, Department of DermatologyUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

Personalised recommendations