Dermatitis and urticaria from rubber and plastic gloves

Contact Dermatitis. 1986 Jan;14(1):20-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.1986.tb01147.x.


The number and nature of allergic occupational glove dermatoses were analysed. 542 cases of allergic contact dermatosis were diagnosed during 1974-1983. Amongst these, 68 (12.5%) were caused by rubber or plastic gloves. 2 patients had contact urticaria due to rubber gloves. Gloves were the main cause of occupational allergic rubber eczema, inducing 63 (58.3%) of 108 rubber eczema cases. 38 of them had positive reactions to rubber chemicals and glove material, 14 to glove material only, and 11 to rubber chemicals. 5 cases of allergic eczema from plastic gloves were diagnosed, all due to polyvinyl chloride (PVC). 2 cases of contact urticaria from natural rubber gloves were diagnosed by a provocation test. Epicutaneous testing with material of natural rubber gloves and rubber chemicals was negative. The present study shows that allergy to rubber gloves is usual, while allergy to plastic gloves is rare. Thus, plastic gloves should be used, when possible. Patch testing with protective gloves should always be used when patients develop prolonged hand dermatitis and where the possibility of glove eczema exists.

MeSH terms

  • Clothing*
  • Dermatitis, Contact / etiology*
  • Hand
  • Humans
  • Patch Tests
  • Plastics*
  • Rubber*
  • Urticaria / etiology*


  • Plastics
  • Rubber