Cotton Gloves Well Tolerated in Patients with Hand Dermatoses


Cotton gloves showed superior comfort and practicability among patients with hand dermatoses.

For patients with work-related skin diseases, exposure to moisture, irritants and allergies can be debilitating.

However, a recent investigation found that both cotton gloves and cotton gloves with semipermeable materials such as Sympatex were well tolerated and accepted in patients with hand dermatoses.

Investigators believed that cotton gloves that incorporated semipermeable materials could serve as a suitable alternative for cotton gloves in future therapeutic endeavors.

Prior to the investigation, studies in large cohorts of patients regarding cotton glove tolerability in affected patients were lacking.

As such, investigators led by Theres Heichel, MD, Osnabrück University, conducted a large prospective study regarding tolerability of cotton gloves both with and without semipermeable materials.

The team enrolled patients with hand dermatoses and equal, symmetrical manifestation of skin lesions on both hands during the 3-week inpatient phase of a tertiary individual prevention program from the Institute for Interdisciplinary Dermatological Prevention and Rehabilitation (iDerm).

All eligible participants were required to wear a short-sleeved cotton glove and a polyester-polyether based, semipermeable Sympatex glove with a cotton glove on top.

Both gloves were worn for 19 consecutive nights with randomization for the left and right hand, and the gloves never altered hands throughout the trial.

Dermatologists examined hand dermatosis severity on days 1, 6, 13, and 20 via the Osnabrüeck Hand Eczema Severity Index (OHSI), and they were not informed on the allocation of the hands to each glove.

Following the first phase of the trial, investigators distributed a non-validated, paper-based questionnaire consisting of questions on personal experience regarding the gloves. This included ratings of statements on user acceptance and skin tolerability using a 4-point Likert scale.

Other assessments were done using a 6-point scale based on the German school grading system, with 1 being “very good” and 6 being “very poor”.

Investigators recruited a total of 73 patients from the first phase of the study and 126 from the second phase. A total of 16 patients withdrew before the intervention period.

Female patients comprised a majority of the 183 patients (63.9%), and the median age was 42.9 years. A total of 52 patients reported extensive sweating under occlusive gloves (28.4%), and the majority of patients (n = 176, 96.2%)suffered from hand eczema.

Data on skin lesions were available for 92% of all participating patients, and investigators observed that the severity of hand dermatoses did not differ substantially between hands covered in either the cotton gloves or the Sympatex-based gloves.

Questionnaire data were available for a comparable percentage of patients (95%), and showed that Sympatex gloves received superior ratings regarding climate conditions. Meanwhile, cotton gloves showed superior comfort, practicality, and appearance.

“Sympatex cotton gloves may serve as an alternative for cotton in the application as comfort gloves supporting therapeutic efforts, especially for longer application periods,” the team wrote. “The presented slight differences should not be overestimated,but may influence the decision when selecting the appropriate glove type.”

The study, "Effects and acceptance of semipermeable gloves compared to cotton gloves in patients with hand dermatoses: Results of a controlled intervention study," was published online in Contact Dermatitis.

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