Allergic and irritant reactions to rubber gloves in medical health services. Spectrum, diagnostic approach, and therapy

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1991 Nov;25(5 Pt 1):831-9. doi: 10.1016/s0190-9622(08)80977-2.


Delayed-type allergies account for most reactions to gloves. These have been found in 32 of 39 patients (82%) attending our department with occupationally induced contact dermatitis to gloves. Accelerators, mainly of the thiuram group, antioxidants, vulcanizers, organic pigments, and, presumably, glove powder ingredients are known responsible allergens. In contrast, immediate-type allergies to rubber gloves were less frequent (13 of 39 patients [33%] with occupationally induced glove allergies). They usually present as contact urticaria. Responsible allergens are latex, glove powder, and accelerators. On the basis of the numerous glove-related allergens, a comprehensive schedule of diagnostic tests is proposed. In addition, we introduce a new classification of hypoallergenic gloves according to their basic materials and ingredients and thus provide a guideline for individual therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / adverse effects*
  • Dermatitis, Contact / etiology
  • Gloves, Surgical*
  • Hand Dermatoses / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / etiology*
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / etiology*
  • Irritants / adverse effects*
  • Rubber / adverse effects*
  • Urticaria / etiology


  • Allergens
  • Irritants
  • Rubber