Use of protective gloves by hairdressers: A review of efficacy and potential adverse effects

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Occupational hand eczema is common among hairdressers, and protective gloves are important in limiting exposure to irritants and allergens. Various glove types may differ in their protective ability, and their use may lead to hand eczema due to skin irritancy and allergy. MEDLINE was searched for studies investigating permeation of gloves to irritants and allergens used in the hairdressing trade, as well as adverse effects of glove use affecting hairdressers. Forty-four studies were identified; nine reported on permeation. Of those, two in vitro studies found nitrile rubber (NR) gloves to give the best protection when handling hair dyes. Polyethylene (PE) gloves had the lowest reported break-through time. The prevalence of sensitization to rubber materials in European hairdressers was as follows: thiuram mix, median 2.5% (range 0%-8.2%), weighted average 3.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] 3.0%-3.1%); mercapto mix, median 0.4% (range 0%-3.3%), weighted average 0.5% (95% CI 0.47%-0.50%), mercaptobenzothiazole, median 0.6% (range 0%-6.6%), weighted average 0.7% (95% CI 0.6%-0.7%), NRL-type I allergy, median 1.3% (range 1%-16.4%), weighted average 4.0% (95% CI 3.6%-4.5%). In conclusion, NR gloves provide the best skin protection for hairdressers, although natural rubber latex (NRL) and polyvinylchloride (PVC) gloves may be sufficient in most cases. PE gloves are not recommended. Synthetic rubber gloves with low or no levels of accelerators are preferred.

Original languageEnglish
JournalContact Dermatitis
Volume83
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
ISSN0105-1873
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • adverse effects, gloves, hairdressers, permeation, rubber, sensitization

ID: 258403325