3 Types of Gloves to Prevent Hand Eczema

We recently moved to a new apartment and luckily for my hands, I packed a lot less than I have in our previous moves. Nevertheless, I still paid extra attention to glove up and protect my hands from the dust while I was packing. It was everywhere – at the back of shelves and closets, and from the cardboard boxes.

I get hand eczema easily. Anytime I touch something remotely dusty or dirty, which is almost completely unavoidable in a super busy and dusty city like Hong Kong, I start itching. Usually it starts off as a minor itch, and minutes or hours later, little water-filled pustules develop.

Dust is a major irritant that triggers allergic rashes, a flare up in the case of eczema sufferers and itchy patches (allergic contact dermatitis or atopic contact eczema) in people who don’t suffer from eczema. Rashes develop when the skin is in repeated contact with irritants, which are mostly chemicals and can come from a variety of sources: detergents, skin care products, metals and medications. It’s actually how I first developed hand eczema. Initially, my flare ups were restricted to the insides of my elbows and the backs of my knees, and occasionally on my inner wrist. A few years ago, I started doing the dishes without wearing gloves and the detergent led to recurring hand eczema that won’t go away!

So for the big move, here’s how I protected my hands. It worked out pretty well, I must say!

1. Clear Plastic Gloves.
These gloves are great for anything! They’re plastic and ultra thin so I often use them for mixing things when cooking (kimchi, dough etc.). I also use them when doing hand masks overnight. When it comes to moving, they’re great for packing little things like papers and trinkets into boxes but they’re not sturdy enough for lifting heavy books or boxes. They’re also non-breathable so it’s not a good idea to wear them for lengthy periods of time. You’re more likely to get sweaty hands which may exacerbate your eczema.



Clear plastic gloves.

2. Cotton Gloves.
I love, love, love these cotton gloves. The soft and breathable fabric offers really good protection, as long as you’re not touching anything extremely dirty or dusty. I use them before I put on rubber dishwashing gloves (so yes, I double glove). When it comes to packing boxes, they’re seriously great for anything. If I need to be touching something extremely dusty or damp, I’ll slip on the plastic gloves over these cotton ones.


I also love that the cotton gloves come in black and white. Makes working in them a lot more fun!

201109 Sept 01208
Double up and slip the plastic gloves over the cotton gloves for extra protection.

3. Construction Gloves.
I’m not really sure what these are called; we just call them construction gloves because they’re what construction workers in Hong Kong wear to protect their hands. The weaving is wider but they still offer decent protection from dust and they’re great for heavy duty lifting. They’re quite thick so I don’t double up with these.


Constructions with wider weaving.

Extra Tip: Wear a Mask If there is Too Much Dust.
Unfortunately, while I managed to protect my hands from the terrible dust, it was still getting to me through my nose. It was flying everywhere! By the time a third of our stuff as packed into boxes, I was sneezing like crazy. I couldn’t stand it anymore and quickly grabbed a surgical mask so I would stop inhaling the stuff. Eczema is in the allergy triad with hay fever and asthma, and a weak immune system (most allergy sufferers) coupled with inhaling dust can easily trigger a flare up. The mask worked wonders and I stopped sneezing as soon as I put it on.


A mask prevents from inhaling dust; stopped my sneezing completely!

Did the gloves work?
Yes! However, while I didn’t develop hand eczema, I still suffered a mild flare up – I had an issue with sweating because it was a sweltering week at 36 degrees, and not just around my arm pits either. I was wearing a tee and shorts so I could feel the dust up against my body too. Oh well, there’s really only so much you can do when there’s dust flying everywhere and I’m already thankful I didn’t get hand eczema. Pick which battles to win and keep fighting! (For future reference, I might try wearing ultra thin long-sleeved cotton gear when I’m packing.)

What tips do you have for preventing hand eczema?

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2 responses to “3 Types of Gloves to Prevent Hand Eczema”

  1. Kim says :

    Good suggestions and I like the fact that you actually showed the gloves in your post. I too get hand eczema and have a very difficult time dealing with dust and dirt as well as soap and plain old water. Good luck and thanks for the info. Gonna get me some of the cotton ones!

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