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February 4th, 2019
Posted In: Articles
Hypoallergenic wetsuits are starting to make a splash (pun very much intended) in the wetsuit industry for those who suffer from neoprene or skin allergies. Neoprene and/or the glues and solvents used to make a wetsuit are typically to blame for allergic reactions. So, what is it about neoprene that causes an allergic reaction on the skin? Patagonia received a lot of inquiries about their neoprene-free line of wetsuits (called Yulex) from customers who deal with skin allergies. Consumers want to know if Patagonia wetsuits are hypoallergenic and if the suits are a better option for people with neoprene sensitivities.
While it is extremely difficult to create a product that is skin-friendly for all (because not all allergies are created equal), Patagonia worked some serious magic to create a line of neoprene allergy-free, sustainable, fair trade and potentially hypoallergenic wetsuits.
What exactly is a neoprene sensitivity and how do you know if you have one? Neoprene may cause dermatological issues such as allergic contact dermatitis or even miliaria rubra. Symptoms of a neoprene allergy could include itching, swelling, a red spot or spots on the skin, rash, or even a tingling or burning sensation. These allergic reactions are typically the body’s response to “the accelerants used to manufacture the man-made rubber, specifically thiourea compounds and mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT)”.**
Miliaria rubra typically causes the tingling/burning sensation or raised red spots while contact dermatitis causes itching and/or swelling. Not only can the neoprene material itself cause an allergic reaction, the compounds and materials in the glue could also trigger a reaction for some. Patagonia took these factors into consideration when creating Yulex wetsuits.
We advise that you should ask your doctor for a list of chemical names that you need to avoid if you have skin allergies or sensitive skin.
Neoprene allergies are common – don’t think you’re alone. And while everyone’s skin reacts differently to chemicals or materials, Patagonia’s Yulex line of wetsuits may be a great hypoallergenic wetsuit option for those who deal with neoprene sensitivities/allergies!
If you’re not ready to purchase a Yulex wetsuit, contact our customer service team either via live chat, email (email@example.com) or call 866-906-7848 and they can set you up with a Yulex koozie. You can test this koozie around your arm or leg to see if a reaction occurs!
** Reference: Stern, E. B., Callinan, N., Hank, M., Lewis, E. J., Schousboe, J. T., & Ytterberg, S. R. (1998). Neoprene splinting: Dermatological issues. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9693703
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