alergic to neoprene?

After paddling for 8 years, I have become alergic to all my gear with neoprene.

Anyone had the problem? Any solution?

I break out in a red, itchy rash. Seem to get sensitive to sun as well.

Rashguard Underneath And Use
silicone grease to cover exposed skin areas. May be time to use Fuzzy Rubber and some combo of drytop or drysuit. However, some folks are slightly allergic to latex (I am) and have to apply silicone grease to areas touch by latex.


I would try washing the synthetic clothing in special soap sold in sporting goods departments as a UV and odor killer (its what hunters use)

synthetics retain odors and chemicaLS

could also be that your clothing isnt getting properly rinsed

i would think one would develope immunity over years and not the other way around


Yes, Mine’s Worsened
Noticed the covering arround the belt of my favorite PFD breaking me out, and now even my water shoes doing the same. Avoidance is the only thing that has helped me. For cold weather, Fuzzy rubber doesn’t seem to cause me a problem, and I bought some Chota Quetico Trekkers (which are VERY comfortable and Piragis has them on sale) to replace my river shoes. Good luck! WW

Seen it happen
Try a new piece of neo and see if the reaction is the same. Had a customer of mine need some custom tailored dry gear due to neoprene allergies, but hers were lifelong. There are some options out there. Drop me a line after the neo test if you’re still breaking out.

See you on the water,


neoprene alergy
I did try it with some gear.

Water socks and then again with some newly designed gloves I was testing for the designer.

Problem persisted.

Do the Kokatat dry suits use neoprene?

I’d hate to have to give up winter kayaking.

Appreciate your feedback.

it may not be the neoprene
as much as there’s an existing condition that grows in confined wet areas. I developed ring worm from wearing wet bay soaked clothes too long.

Lee could be right
Try cleaning the wetsuit with a special cleaning solution for neoprene. If the condition still exists after that, you might want to try a Rapidstyle wetsuit which has fuzzy stuff on the inside and rubber on the outside. I love mine and it is extremely comfortable.

Sounds like contact dermatitis to me, not an allergy. Hydrocortisone ointment will help clear it up.

Primarily, the only way to build up
tolerance to an allergen is through the controlled manner of allergy shots. More direct exposure to an allergen usually leads to worse reactions, and can end in death.

It will only clear it up if the
allergen is avoided.

I wish you luck in finding a solution.
Good allergists and dermatologists can be a great help. I have dealt with allergies (contact, inhaled and ingested types) my entire life and my son has much worse allergies than I do. As a child he was allergic to the sun and in warm weather we basically lived like a family of vampires. Fortunately, his sun allergy did go away when he reached adulthood although he still has to be careful with exposure to the sun.

My Kokatat drysuit uses neoprene
around the neck and wrists in addition to the latex.

I have made an appt with dermatologist.

…But much more enjoyable hearing your ideas.

I will try the grease and soap for sure.

I should add I took an antihistamine to control / slow swelling (it worked), but the next day any-not-already tanned skin that was exposed to the sun became a rash. Areas covered did not.

Thanks to everyone who responded!!

Good Luck!
After wearing neoprene gear for nearly 50 years, I suddenly developed a strong allergic reaction to the stuff. The challenge was to find water wear that does not include neoprene. I finally reverted to wearing a wetsuit made of Polertec’s AguaShell, commonly called “fuzzy rubber”. I had to find splash jackets with collars and cuffs of latex or lycra. Finding non-offending gloves and booties has been a special challenge.

According to my dermatologist, this condition is not temporary. I tried a couple of times to slip back into wearing my old neoprene gear…only to experience a severe reaction. I’ve sold or given all that gear away to eliminate the temptation to see if I am “cured”.

Also, do not think that a fabric liner that allows water to flow through it to serve as a suitable barrier. What sits between neoprene and your skin must be water proof to do any good. I have not tried some of the ointments mentioned, but I have my doubts if you are truly allergic to neoprene.

Bottom line…it pretty much sucks to be allergic to the stuff.

Is it the neoprene or…
…the stuff that grows on it? It may be that your reaction is caused by bacteria growing on your gear. Perhaps it would be worth trying a new piece of gear (gloves?) to see if you still get a reaction. An alternative would be to clean your gear in a chlorine solution then try wearing it. If it works OK, wearing a thin layer between the neoprene and your skin, combined with thorough rinsing and drying after use, will prevent most bacterial problems.

You might consider Chillcheater products.