Occlusive Environment

  Hand Health
Occlusive Environment
Hand Health Additives Aloe Vera & Prop 65 Dermatitis & Skin Health Moisture Management pH Control
Technology Solution
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An Unavoidable, Artificial Environment


Unique to workers who use single use (SU) gloves as part of their job is the unavoidable, restrictive occlusive environment created within the glove itself. Occlusion simply means an area is covered or enclosed, but with skin occlusion comes a host of challenges that can negatively impact hand health and ultimately job performance:[1]


  • Lack of airflow inhibits proper regulation of a normal environment
  • Friction caused by the glove repeatedly rubbing against the skin starts to wear the outer layers
  • The temperature within the glove rises, increasing perspiration
  • Sweat accumulates causing skin to macerate affecting deeper, regenerative layers of the skin
  • A rising pH level disrupts the skin’s acid mantle, its natural barrier protection

These occlusive factors negatively affect the skin in many ways, especially given that the skin on your hands is much thinner than on other parts of your body.

From a physical perspective, where the hand first comes in contact with the occlusive environment, the acid mantle is disrupted and the stratum corneum, the outer most layer of the skin, can become compromised.


As the occlusive environment persists, deeper damage begins to take place with the skin structure. Proteins and lipids are stripped away, so skin is unable to keep its natural moisture intact. Barrier protection begins to break down.


In its normal state, the skin has a low permeability rate, but as barrier function is compromised, that rate begins to increase, exposing the skin to more irritants. The prolonged moisture, increased temperature and unbalanced pH level provide unwanted opportunities for bacteria and other external contaminants to enter the skin, causing further irritation.


But managing the occlusive environment is not as daunting as it seems, especially with SU gloves that have occlusion-combatting technologies built right in. Other methods to defend against skin occlusion include increased frequency of glove changes or applying a lotion or emollient to skin prior to donning.[2]


Selecting the best, most convenient method depends on the user—do you have time to stop what you are doing to change your gloves or apply a sticky cream before putting on your glove or is it best to use a glove that will provide a more balanced, safer hand health environment from the get go? The choice is yours, so be sure to consider the occlusive environment and its effects before you don that next pair of gloves.

1."What Is Skin Occlusion?" LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 16 Aug. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

2."How Do Skin Moisturizers Work?" How Do Skin Moisturizers Work? N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.