Are gloves sufficiently protective when hairdressers are exposed to permanent hair dyes? An in vivo study

Contact Dermatitis. 2015 Apr;72(4):229-36. doi: 10.1111/cod.12320. Epub 2014 Nov 19.


Background: The use of permanent hair dyes exposes hairdressers to contact allergens such as p-phenylenediamine (PPD), and the preventive measures are insufficient.

Objectives: To perform an in vivo test to study the protective effect of gloves commonly used by hairdressers.

Patients/materials/methods: Six gloves from Sweden, Italy and Germany were studied: two vinyl, one natural rubber latex, two nitrile, and one polyethylene. The hair dye used for the provocation was a dark shade permanent dye containing PPD. The dye was mixed with hydrogen peroxide, and 8 PPD-sensitized volunteers were tested with the gloves as a membrane between the hair dye and the skin in a cylindrical open chamber system. Three exposure times (15, 30 and 60 min) were used.

Results: Eczematous reactions were found when natural rubber latex, polyethylene and vinyl gloves were tested with the dye. The nitrile gloves gave good protection, even after 60 min of exposure to the hair dye.

Conclusions: Many protective gloves used by hairdressers are unsuitable for protection against the risk of elicitation of allergic contact dermatitis caused by PPD.

Keywords: hairdressers; p-phenylenediamine; permanent hair dyes; protective gloves.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Barbering
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / prevention & control*
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Gloves, Protective*
  • Hair Dyes / adverse effects*
  • Hand Dermatoses / chemically induced
  • Hand Dermatoses / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Latex / chemistry
  • Male
  • Materials Testing
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitriles / chemistry
  • Patch Tests
  • Permeability
  • Phenylenediamines / adverse effects*
  • Polyethylene / chemistry
  • Vinyl Compounds / chemistry
  • Young Adult


  • Hair Dyes
  • Latex
  • Nitriles
  • Phenylenediamines
  • Vinyl Compounds
  • Polyethylene
  • 4-phenylenediamine