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Clinical Study 1: Gloves and hand dermatitis


Unigloves’ Vitality gloves are clinically proven to help oral health professionals maintain their skin health.

Intact skin serves as the first line of defence for oral health professionals, who are at increased risk of hand dermatitis. But keeping the skin healthy can be a challenge for clinicians because of constant handwashing and the need to don and doff gloves throughout the day.

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According to the UK HSE, work-related contact dermatitis is the most common skin condition in dentistry. It is nearly 10 times greater in dental nurses and seven times greater in dental clinicians than the all-profession average. 14.8% of 3,080 dentists questioned had experienced hand eczema during the previous year.1 In order to promote skin integrity, clinicians must take steps to ensure their skin retains moisture and to prevent dryness, which leads to dermatitis. To support oral health professionals in these endeavours, Unigloves has developed an innovative line of gloves that supports skin health, including gloves coated with a proprietary formulation of soothing lanolin and vitamin E.

Lanolin and Vitamin E

In order to prevent problems with skin health, Unigloves coats its Vitality gloves with soothing and natural ingredients: lanolin and vitamin E. Lanolin is an additive that moisturises and soothes skin while preventing dry, rough patches from forming in the first place. An amber-coloured substance that is extracted from sheep’s wool after it is shorn but before it is washed, lanolin is composed of fatty acids and natural compounds (Figure 1). Lanolin is well known for its ability to soothe skin and is commonly used in personal care products, such as lotions, lip balms, and hair conditioners. Lanolin is both an emollient, or skin softener, and a humectant, meaning it absorbs moisture from the air.

Dry skin results from the absence of water in the top layer or epidermis of the skin. Emollients, such as lanolin, trap moisture in the epidermis to prevent skin from drying and reduce the risk of cracks forming in the skin.

Vitamin E refers to a group of fat-soluble compounds that provide anti oxidant properties. The topical application of this essential nutrient penetrates the epidermis and dermis layers of the skin. Essential to healthy skin, vitamin E provides a variety of anti-inflammatory benefits, including protection from free radicals and support of wound healing. Research also demonstrates that the topical application of vitamin E can improve skin moisture by boosting its ability to retain water. 2,3

The addition of this powerful combination – lanolin and vitamin E – to gloves is designed to significantly improve the skin of oral health professionals, which is almost always under attack. The lanolin creates a barrier on the skin’s surface to keep moisture in and prevent it from evaporating, while the vitamin E soothes angry skin and prevents additional damage. For clinicians who rotate between donning and removing gloves and frequent handwashing throughout the day, these potent additives can mean the difference between maintaining skin integrity and experiencing skin breakage.

Results of Clinical Testing

The benefits of using gloves coated with lanolin and vitamin E are well documented. The Switzerland-based Skin Test Institute, which specialises in the in vivo testing of the efficacy and safety of products designed for the skin, compared Vitality gloves with the lanolin and vitamin E coating to standard clinical gloves on the following parameters: (i) transepidermal water loss; (ii) skin moisture levels; (iii) skin peeling; and (iv) visible skin condition. The testing was conducted using three different tests.

The powerful combination of lanolin, a humectant, and moisturising vitamin E is added to Vitality gloves to significantly improve the skin of oral health professionals.

Transepidermal water loss was measured with a Tewameter® (figure 2), which uses a probe applied to the skin to measure humidity and temperature gradients. The transepidermal water loss is calculated based on the resultant humidity and temperature scores. A Corneo meter® was used to evaluate the skin’s hydration levels. The capacity of skin to retain moisture is determined by the dielectric constant of the water contained in the superficial layers of the stratum corneum, which is measured by the corneometer. The D-Squame Dry Skin Test® assessed skin dryness through test strips that increase visibility of adhering skin cells.

Proven Results

In an in vivo experiment comparing the efficacy of both types of gloves in reducing transepidermal water loss, the gloves coated with lanolin and vitamin E decreased water loss by 31.3% after eight wearing sequences (about 6 hours of use) compared to the non-coated gloves, which reduced water loss by only 3.4% (Figure 3).

The gloves coated with lanolin and vitamin E also improved skin moisture levels more than standard gloves. After four wearing sequences, the coated gloves improved moisture levels by 22%, compared to 5.4% and, after eight wearing sequences, the coated gloves improved moisture levels by 33.7%, outperforming the standard gloves, which only improved moisture levels by 8.8% (Figure 3). Individuals wearing standard gloves experienced more severe symptons of skin peeling compared to those using coated gloves. Wearing coated gloves reduced the amount of skin peeling by nearly 14%. The testing also observed the effects of wearing the coated gloves on the surface of the skin. Figure 4 shows the skin surface of a clinician with dry skin. The surface appears very rough and cracked.

Vitality gloves are designed to soothe symptoms of dehydration and irritation, with the skin surface appearing smoother and softer in as little as 6 hours of wear.

Vitality coated gloves are designed to soothe the symptoms of dehydration and irritation, with the skin surface appearing smoother and softer in as little as 6 hours of wear (Figure 5). Study results also showed that the Vitality coated gloves drastically reduced perceived skin roughness and dryness. Participants noted a 41.2% decrease in perceived skin roughness with the coated gloves compared to just 18.8% with traditional glove after eight wearing sequences (Figure 3). Perceived dryness was also diminished by 44.0% among those wearing coated gloves vs. 19.6% with traditional gloves after eight wearing sequences (Figure 3).

Unigloves Vitality Series

As demonstrated by the testing results, gloves coated with lanolin and vitamin E help clinicians maintain their skin health and integrity. This proprietary formulation is only available with Unigloves’ Vitality gloves. From powder-free latex gloves to nitrile exam gloves, the benefits of this special coating can be found in the glove type preferred by individual clinicians. Unigloves’ most recent product launch is Vitality Soft Nitrile Powder Free Exam Gloves, which offer the lanolin and vitamin E coating in addition to a comfortable fit, improved tactile sensitivity, and enhanced grip capabilities.

Clinicians can review a complete catalogue of our products and request samples at unigloves.co.uk. Special promotions and additional information appear on Unigloves’ Facebook page: facebook.com/unigloves.

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