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Causes of Skin Irritation

Skin irritation is a common problem most of us experience at some point in our lives, and can range from mild itchiness and redness to the development of sores and blisters on the surface of your skin. Here we give a guide to some of the common and also less well-known causes of skin irritation, so you can take steps to ensure your skin remains protected.

Household Products

Most of us are aware that cleaning products can cause skin damage and irritation. This is often as a result of contact with certain chemicals contained within these products. Whilst we would typically consider particularly strong and harsh cleaning products to be the worst culprits, other relatively mild cleaners can also cause irritation to your skin, especially if it is particularly sensitive.

There are a number of chemicals known to cause skin irritation to watch out for, including; ammonia, which is typically found in disinfectants and general all-purpose cleaners, sodium hydroxide, commonly found in oven cleaners, and ammonium chloride, a frequent ingredient in mould removal products. These are just a few of the many chemicals found in everyday cleaning products that can cause damage to your skin and conditions such as dermatitis.

Dermatitis is a skin condition arising after contact with certain substances which can cause your skin to become red and itchy. Given the widespread nature of irritating chemicals in cleaning products it is essential that means of protection such as gloves are worn when these are used for  cleaning purposes, whether on a domestic or commercial scale, in order to prevent these chemicals from coming into contact with your skin.

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Your Garden

Whilst your garden may look lovely, unfortunately not everything in it may be kind to your skin. For example there are a number of plant varieties that can cause adverse skin reactions. Indeed certain varieties of plants contain allergens, and whilst these don’t affect everyone some individuals may have developed a sensitivity to them, resulting in an allergic reaction.

Contact with some plant species can also result in dermatitis, and indeed there are three main types of dermatitis that can develop as a result of contact with certain plants .The first of these is a type of dermatitis known as irritant contact dermatitis, which arises as a result of a chemical reaction  following contact with an irritant. This form of dermatitis is common and typically occurs in almost everyone following sufficient contact with a particular irritating substance.

A further less common form of dermatitis, known as allergic contact dermatitis, is caused by a reaction of your immune system to a certain substance, known as an allergen. A final form of dermatitis that can arise is Phytophotodermatitis, a skin condition resulting from sensitivity to chemicals found in certain plants. Interestingly in this condition, sensitivity to these chemicals is triggered by a secondary chemical reaction when the affected skin is exposed to sunlight or other forms of UV light.

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Some of the most common plant culprits responsible for causing skin problems such as dermatitis include chrysanthemums, poison ivy, eucalyptus and tomato plants, as well as tree sap. Significantly the effects of contact with certain plants is not always immediate, indeed according to an article published in the Telegraph some people can even develop dermatitis as long as four days after touching trees and flowers that contain certain allergens. Given these potential hazards lurking in your garden it is important to protect your hands when working in your garden. For the best protection for you hands, it is best to wear rubber gloves which are durable enough to protect your hands from a variety of different potential hazards in your garden. For a full breakdown of potentially harmful plants take a look at this handy list compiled by the Royal Horticultural Society.


Whilst the fact that certain foods can cause allergies when consumed is relatively common knowledge, less well-known is the fact that particular foods can also cause skin irritation when handled. For example some individuals are also susceptible to allergic contact dermatitis as a result of food allergens and even some food preservatives. Another condition that can arise in some individuals when handling food products is contact urticaria, also known as hives, a skin condition that results in the formation of red itchy swellings on your skin as a result of contact with certain substances such as particular foods. Examples of foods that can cause this skin condition in susceptible individuals include certain raw foods such as onions and kiwi fruit. Hence as well as ensuring hygienic food practices, wearing gloves when handling food products can also be important for the purpose of protecting your skin, especially for those working in the catering industry.

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Here at the Glove Club we provide a great selection of glove products including a wide range of rubber gloves to suit your needs, providing effective protection from skin irritation and other hazards whether at work, home or simply in your garden. For more information about our range of products and services please do not hesitate to contact us and one of our friendly team will be more than happy to help you with your enquiries.

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