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Latex gloves allergy

What is Latex Glove allergy?

Latex glove allergy is skin sensitivity to wearing Natural rubber or Nitrile gloves. It is found in low percentage of individuals and can be mediated easily.


What skin conditions is caused by Latex allergy?


Reaction type Symptoms Cause Can happen in Mediated by
Irritant contact dermatitis Skin rash, dry flaky skin, cracks and sores Residual soaps and incomplete hand rinsing Nitrile and Natural rubber latex gloves Hand washing and drying and using skin care moisturizer
Type IV- Chemical Hypersensitivity (Cell mediated allergy) Eczema, appears at 48-96 hours post exposure by skin contact Residues of chemicals used for processing of gloves, particularly thiurams and carbamates Nitrile and Natural rubber latex gloves Hot water Leaching process in glove manufacturing
Type I- Latex protein Hypersensitivity (IgE mediated allergy) Immediate localized itching burning or discomfort within 5 to 60 minutes after contact, rhinitis, asthma and in very serious case anaphylaxis Residues extractable proteins found in natural rubber latex Natural rubber latex gloves Hot water leaching process in glove manufacturing

Reference article: Latex protein allergy and your gloves written by Dr Ong Eng Long, Dr. Esah Yip and Dr. Lai Pin Fah

Is it serious?

No, it is not. Except for Type I sensitivity found in very low percentage of individuals particularly sensitive to protein found in Natural rubber latex gloves which can be easily avoided by switching to using Nitrile gloves. Other types of skin condition can be easily corrected on proper care after use. The glove manufacturing process leaches out most of the chemicals and Residual extractable proteins in hot water baths hence any sensitivity to using gloves is highly reduced and made insignificant.

Alternatively if you fall in hypersensitive Type I category, you can totally avoid by switching to using Nitrile gloves which is devoid of this natural protein.

Does it happen to everybody?

No, it does not. Any skin rash or sensitivity varies with individuals. Some people are hypersensitive, some mildly sensitive and some not sensitive at all. Glove manufacturers have developed processes and evolved out of this problem long ago. Glove manufacturing processes have become highly technical to take care of these sensitivity issues very well. Hot water leaching of gloves to remove extractable proteins and residual chemicals have become highly controlled and efficient. You can be assured that latex gloves made from Natural or Synthetic Nitrile rubber undergo stringent manufacturing processes to ensure comfort and safety while wearing your gloves.


For more more indepth information you may check the article: Latex-protein-allergy-and-your-gloves.pdf (

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