Aloe vera coated gloves: useful in healthcare ?

Joanna Ford & Pete Phillips, SMTL

NOTE: The article on which this summary is based was first published in 2007.

Throughout their work, healthcare staff frequently change gloves, wash their hands and use alcohol gels. As a result, they can be prone to developing dry, irritated hands.  Examination gloves are now available with aloe vera coatings on their internal surfaces, which aim to retain hand moisture and keep hands soft and supple (see table below).

Table 1 : Summary of the aloe-coated gloves available in the current marketplace.





Charlton Scientific

Omega Aloe-Plus

Nitrile with bonded coating of aloe and vitamin E

Keeps hands soft and healthy. Naturally hydrate and moisturise skin



Nitrile or latex gloves with aloe coating

Help moisturise and sooth dry hands

Fisher Scientific

Fisherbrand with Aloe

Latex or nitrile gloves with aloe

Prevent chapped hands caused by moisture loss












West and Zhu (2003) studied the effect of aloe-coated gloves on the hand conditions of factory line workers with dry irritated skin (attributed to occupational exposure). Subjects wore an aloe-coated glove on one hand and no glove on the other for 30 days, followed by 30 days without any gloves. In the final part of the study they wore aloe-coated gloves on the same hand as before for a further 10 days. Dermatologists assessed their hands throughout the study and results indicated that aloe-coated gloves lead to improved skin condition in all cases, with visible improvement of the skin on the hand in contact with aloe by day 10 (mean).

Whether this improvement would be seen in health care workers who change their gloves and wash their hands between each patient has yet to be established (Mitchell 2003).

Studies reporting adverse conditions to externally applied aloe are scarce. In one study researchers patch-tested 702 subjects with the gel, oily leaf extract and whole plant extract of the aloe plant and no  reactions were reported (Reider et al., 2005).  In addition, it has been questioned whether the processing of the glove  affects the activity of aloe coating (Adenna Inc. 2005). Medline, a major glove manufacturer, state that aloe coating is added as a last stage in the process and rigorous testing ensures active levels of aloe vera are present (personal communication with the Medline Product Manager).  Charlton Scientific, manufacturers of Omega Aloe-Plus gloves stated that:

'aloe vera is added to the glove post-dipping, after initial leaching and before gloves are placed in the curing oven.'

It is unclear whether the aloe would still be in an active form after this process.

In conclusion, aloe vera-coated gloves are fairly new to the UK market and published research about their effectiveness is sparse to date.  Further investigation into the possible benefits of aloe vera gloves in a range of work practices and work places including health care settings would be useful.


  • Adenna Inc. (2005) ' Aloe vera-Heal or hype?'
  • Mitchell H. (2003). 'Evaluation of aloe vera gel gloves in the treatment of dry skin associated with occupational exposure'-letter to the Editor. American Journal of Infection Control 31 (8) 516
  • Reider N, et al (2005) 'Absence of contact sensitization to Aloe vera (L.) Burm. f.' Contact Dermatitis 53 (6) 332-4
  • West D, Zhu Y (2003). 'Evaluation of aloe vera gel gloves in the treatment of dry skin associated with occupational exposure.' American Journal of Infection. Control 31(1) 40-2

Further Information

Please see  Nurs Times. 2007 Mar 6-12;103(10):40-1 for the complete article.

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