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Neoprene Allergies Explained

   September 7th, 2017   Posted In: Articles, FAQs  

Neoprene Allergies Explained

We rarely get questions about a neoprene allergy, but they are a fact of life for some customers. Keep in mind that we’re not doctors, and always consult a physician if you experience a rash or reaction when dealing with wetsuits or neoprene. What’s the deal with neoprene allergies? Here’s what we know, and how we can possibly help.

The fact is, it’s simply contact dermatitis. It’s not unique to neoprene. There are literally thousands of different environmental, domestic and industrial elements that can give you contact dermatitis.

Your pets are far more likely to give you contact dermatitis than neoprene. But, allergies to neoprene can happen.

What is Neoprene Contact Dermatitis?

Neoprene — the technical name of which is polychloroprene — can sometimes cause contact dermatitis. “Contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes red, sore or inflamed after direct contact with a substance,” explains the New York Times Health Guide.

However, in the same article, the scientists were quick to point out that, “neoprene hypersensitivity is rare.”

What in Neoprene Causes Contact Dermatitis?

According to an S. Hawkey and S. Ghaffar report titled, “Neoprene Orthopedic Supports: An Under recognized Cause of Allergic Contact Dermatitis” which was published in Case Reports in Orthopedics, the culprit is Thiuram.

Comprised of chemical compounds used to improve the waterproof qualities of neoprene, Thiuram is found in almost all neoprene.

What Solutions are There for People With Neoprene Sensitivities?

Once a person develops a neoprene allergy, the only solution is to discontinue use. Again, neoprene allergies are uncommon, but they do occur. Fortunately, there have been advances in rubber technologies with neoprene-like rubbers that do not contain Thiuram.

neoprene allergiesAs advancements in rubber begin to influence the water recreation industries, we hope that neoprene allergies will become something of the past. For example, Patagonia’s Hub Hubbard developed a product line called Yulex. Yulex is a neoprene-free line of wetsuits that does not contain Thiuram.

Wetsuit Wearhouse and Patagonia Might be Able to Help!

For anyone interested in trying a neoprene-free wetsuit, Wetsuit Wearhouse will send customers a sample of Patagonia Yulex to wear around their wrist or ankle to test for reaction.

This is a great way to try before you buy. The expense of a Patagonia Yulex wetsuit is easily justified when you consider that it will get you back in the water! Added bonus: All Patagonia wetsuits feature a lifetime warranty, which is unprecedented in the wetsuit world.

It’s rare, but neoprene (wetsuits) and/or the materials used in its construction can cause allergic skin reactions. If allergic, discontinue use and consult a physician.

*Update: Patagonia recently updated and added more information concerning the ingredients their neoprene-free line of Yulex wetsuits do and do not contain. Check out our latest in-depth post explaining why Yulex wetsuits are a hypoallergenic wetsuit option and how these suits could help those with neoprene sensitivities!*

Chris "Mole" Moleskie is the Founder, President, and CEO of Wetsuit Wearhouse. Mole grew up in the water on the East Coast. After graduating from Salisbury University, on Maryland's Eastern Shore, he headed to San Diego to find the eternal Ocean City. Wetsuit Wearhouse was formed a few years later in 2001. He swims, surfs when he can, SCUBA dives, wakeboards, SUPs, snowboards 15-20 days a season, and recently fell in lust with wakesurfing. Mole spends his summers at the not so secret Wetsuit Wearehouse Testing Facility on the Potomac River.

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