Neoprene Allergy: What if You Are a Surfer and Can Not Wear a Wetsuit?

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Every surfer needs a wetsuit. It would be pretty sad if the thrill that comes with surfing could only be experienced in those few warm summer days or just by people lucky enough to live in those warm parts of our planet. While getting a wetsuit is not a big deal, the experience of using it is not all that rosy for everyone. For many years, the manufactures of wetsuits have relied on a material know as neoprene in the wetsuits production (go here for a complete wetsuit guide). This is because neoprene has small closed cells that are perfect for trapping air which as a good insulator then keeps us warm even in the cold of the ocean waves. The undoing of neoprene, on the other hand, is that it can cause various neoprene allergy reactions to some people.

This has made it very difficult for some surfers to enjoy the sport.

Allergic Reactions Caused By Neoprene

Any contact with substances made of neoprene posses two major risks; Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD) and Miliaria Rubra i.e Prickly Heat. The heat part is not a big deal for surfers since you are usually not overly hot while surfing in cold water. However, the ACD neoprene allergy reactions may not work out so well for the surfers. Here are the various ACD reactions that are associated with neoprene.

Skin Eruption

This is an allergic reaction under the ACD reactions that is caused primarily by the skin getting in touch with neoprene material. The reaction may include the formation of scars on the skin with a clear fluid. The scars may be painful for some individuals.

Skin Color Deformation

This is another allergic reaction caused by neoprene. It mainly entails the change of skin color to red. If you were to put on a wetsuit, this means the entire body may experience such a symptom.

Itchy Skin

It is one of the ACD symptoms and is primarily a bother to those who use neoprene material. The skin itching may last for up to some hours after being in touch with neoprene material.

Swollen Skin

In some cases, the skin may experience welling without any other reactions. When the skin gets swollen, it may also be warm when touched.

Causes Of Neoprene Allergy

Doctors have ascribed the ACD reactions to synthetic rubber. It has been discovered that the main causes of skin reaction in neoprene are the accelerants used in the production of neoprene. The substance that is primarily responsible for the skin reactions is called Thiuram. In the past years, the use of neoprene has been on the rise not only in the manufacture of wetsuits and swimsuits but also elsewhere so there was a bit more research on this subject, lately the advances in the rubber manufacturing process are aiming at eliminating Thiuram.

What Solutions Are There For People With Neoprene Allergy?

For one, the neoprene reactions are very rare. Those who find themselves with such a conditions are just but a few, however, it happens. Unfortunately, there is no medical remedy for neoprene allergy. Once you develop a neoprene allergy, you have no other option but to discontinue the use of neoprene substances. The only hope for the future is the continued developments in the neoprene manufacturing. It has been found that “natural” neoprene does not contain Thiuram and it is safe for use even by those who have a neoprene allergy if of course Thiuram is the cause of the allergy. So what is this “natural” neoprene?

Neoprene Wetsuit Alternatives

In the year 2016, a neoprene wetsuit manufacturing company Patagonia developed the first wetsuit from 100% natural rubber. According to Patagonia’s Hub Hubbard, they launched a new wetsuit that can be used without the allergy side effects. The company also says that they have given out their technology to other wetsuit manufacturers since this technology not only helps surfers with allergies but is also more environmentally friendly. Patagonia wetsuit was launched under a product line named Yulex and is now available worldwide. If you have been out of surfing for some time now due to allergic reactions, you may have a chance to surf again. You can contact Wetsuit Warehouse (they also have more info on neoprene allergies and Patagoina wetsuits in this article) and find out what is available in store, you can even get a small neoprene sample to test if this wetsuit is indeed your allergy solution. Check them out!


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