British Society of Cutaneous Allergy (BCSA)

Rubber in bandages and dressings

What are the aims of this patient information leaflet?

This leaflet has been written to help you understand more about your contact allergy. It tells you what a contact allergy is, what causes this allergy and what you can do about it.

What is contact allergy?

Dermatitis, also known as eczema, describes a type of inflammation of the skin. Contact dermatitis or contact eczema is a term used when this inflammation is caused by direct or indirect skin contact with something in your environment. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when your immune system causes allergy to a very specific chemical or substance that has been in contact with the skin.

What causes your specific allergy?

Your patch tests indicate that you have a contact allergy to rubber.

What is rubber?

Rubber-allergic patients need to avoid rubber accelerators which include thiurams, carbas and thioureas.

What are some products that contain rubber?

  • Elastic

Compression bandages to avoid

  • ProFore
  • LitePress
  • CoPlus
  • Coban (thiuram and latex).

Tubular bandages to avoid

  • Tubigrip
  • Slinky.

Four layer compression- safe composition

  • Cellona padding – OK
  • Hospicrepe- 100% cotton
  • Elset
  • Tensopress (not Coban-avoid- contains thiuram and latex).

Remember, always check the label, these lists can never be complete and ingredients change.

How can I manage my allergy?

This means that you should avoid putting products containing rubber onto your skin in the future.

Companies manufacturing bandages often do not know which accelerators are present, as it depends on the source of the rubber. It may not be safe to wear elastic containing garments or compression bandages.

Safe garments and bandages made from:

  • Viscose
  • Polyamide
  • Elastane
  • Cotton.

Safe compression bandages

  • Tensopress (Smith and Nephew, no thiuram or carba)
  • Setopress.

Safe Light compression bandages

  • Rosidal K
  • Comprilan
  • Stayfor
  • Flexoplast
  • Lastosheen
  • Lastyam
  • Credalast.

Safe Tubular bandages

  • Tubifast (Viscose/elastane)
  • Tubigauz.

Safe Stockings

  • Elastane
  • Lycra (synthetic rubber (polyurethane/elastane))
  • Nylon
  • Scholl Support Stockings
  • Most of the DuoMed stockings.

Rubber free shoes

  • Crocs
  • Wooden
  • Cork
  • Felt
  • Polyurethane (Elastopan, Elastolan, Thermoplastic elastomers).


  • (insoles made of leather and foam). Ecco comfort foam shoes are rubber free. Ecco shops have helpful sales assistants so you can contact them to confirm.
  • Haflinger clog slippers (felt and thick cork. Rubber soles are on the outside so don’t contaminate)
  • Superfeet
  • Outlast technology
  • Uggs and Birkenstocks shoes are confirmed thiuram free by manufacturer
  • LOAKE Bros Ltd Leather Shoes Style 1 and Style 2 (analysed by SATRA) have no rubber and no detectable disperse dyes, chlorophenols, formaldehyde, aromatic amines, chromium, phthalates, arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, aniline dyes, 4-aminoazobenzene, or PPD related substances.

With thiuram and carba, it’s easy to contaminate your new shoes with socks and tights which you’ve worn in other shoes that contain the allergen. Thiuram and carba do NOT wash out of socks and tights. If you wear contaminated socks or tights in your new shoes, you will continue to have problems. Throw out every pair of your old socks etc when you get new shoes.

Self-care (what can I do?)

Always check the ingredient listing on the product, package or package insert as these lists can never be complete and ingredients change. This is particularly important for any products purchased outside the EU where some allergens may not be banned.

Created: 2017