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Which Product Can Affect the Permeability of Gloves?

Fact checked by Andrew Carnegie

which product can affect the permeability of gloves

Disposable gloves offer secure hand protection, but inappropriate wearer practices can ruin the integrity of the best barriers. So, what to avoid when wearing PPE? Which product can affect the permeability of gloves?

Your oil hand lotion, anti-inflammatory cream, jewelry, and even fingernails can all damage the thin gloves. Certain types of chemicals can also deteriorate them. Keep reading for more details.

What Can Affect the Permeability of Gloves?

1. Lotions that contain oils


Studies have shown that oil-based and petroleum-based lotions break down and weaken the bond of latex rubber. Thus, you should never wear hand oils (including mineral, coconut, palm, or jojoba oils), oil-based anti-inflammatory cream, and Vaseline underneath latex gloves.

If you use a hand lotion during the day, wash your hands thoroughly before donning examination gloves. When examining patients’ lips or hands, make sure they are not wearing any products mentioned above.

Water or glycerine-based lotions do not affect the integrity of rubber gloves, though. But you should only use them if allowed. Always follow the safety rules of your department.

2. Certain chemicals


Latex breaks down when encountering certain chemicals, such as ethyl acetate (found in some nail polish removers, cigarettes, glue, and perfume), Cresophene, Chorispray, paint remover, and rubber solvent.

Latex gloves will lose their protective barrier within 15 to 60 minutes of exposure to these chemicals. If you contact one of them, immediately take off the gloves, wash your hands, and don a new pair.

However, latex is not the only rubber used to make gloves. You will also find vinyl, nitrile, and neoprene gloves. Each type of rubber reacts differently to certain chemicals and products.

For any intended use, the department should carry out on-site testing with the gloves beforehand. It is the best way to ensure safety for workers.

2. Long fingernails and jewelry


Long fingernails, rings, and bracelets can tear and rip gloves. They might cause tiny splits that harmful chemicals can slip through.

You should remove hand jewelry and keep your fingernails short to avoid affecting the permeability of rubber gloves.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does acetone melt gloves?

Acetone is an organic compound that dissolves in water. While latex is resistant to acetone, nitrile rapidly deteriorates in the presence of this chemical. In nail salons, latex gloves are preferable.

2. How to know if the integrity of my gloves is compromised?

When a product affects the permeability of gloves, you will notice physical deterioration signs, such as swelling, shrinking, softening, or splitting.

As soon as you see such signs, stop your tasks and take off the gloves. Chemicals will soon penetrate the rubber and contact your skin.

3. Can nitrile resist acid?

Yes, nitrile is resistant to most alkaline and acidic solutions. Common acidic substances are bleach, vinegar, soft drink, and liquid cleaner.

Nitrile also has good resistance to fuel, petroleum products, weak caustics, greases, and some organic solvents.


To sum up, the answer to “Which product can affect the permeability of gloves” is oil-based products, certain types of chemicals, and hand jewelry.

If you find the information useful, don’t hesitate to share it with your co-workers. Everyone can benefit from appropriate practices when wearing gloves.

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