I have noticed this season that the latex gasket on my dry suit is irritating my neck and causing a rash of sorts after paddling for just a couple of hours.

I never had this problem in the past and I don’t think I have an allergy to latex. My wrist gaskets are fine.

I’m not sure if the irritation on my neck could be associated with neck stubble. I have noticed that my neck has gotten irritated both when I have and have not shaven before paddling.

Does anyone have any advice? I am thinking of using some skin lubricant in hopes that this may help…like chamois butter that is made for cyclists to prevent chaffing.

Any other ideas as to what causes this and what can help?



KY to the rescue…
I had terrible trouble with neck rash on a 10-day kayak trip around the Avon peninsula of Newfoundland this year. It looked like I was garroted by a rope – not too attractive. After the trip I began preparing for my Iceland trip and did some “research”.

First, it helps to ensure that your gasket is clean and you must keep it clean. Second, following some web-advice, I used (water based) KY to lubricate my neck and inner gasket. Problem solved for me.

There’s a skin protectant/lubricant called “Body-Glide” that some people recommend, but I haven’t tried it. It might be useful should you want to conserve your KY… ;^)

Greg Stamer

Hold on a second.
Be very careful what you let come in contact with your latex neck gasket. Some materials are most incompatible and will destroy the gasket in very short order. The only thing I use is 303 on my gaskets.

KY and latex
KY is designed to be compatible with a certain other latex product that is much less robust than a neck gasket.

Might be hard to explain to significant other, bystanders at the launch, paddling companions of the opposite sex, etc., but it won’t hurt the gasket.

Talcum Powder
I find I need to shave every day that I am wearing a dry suit. Otherwise the latex on stubble causes irritation and rash.

I also use unscented talcum powder on my gaskets.

They go on much easier and I was told it helps preserve them as it absorbs the oils from your skin. I pour talcum powder on both wrist and neck gaskets before I hang up my dry suit after wearing it.

“I never had this problem in the past and I don’t think I have an allergy to latex.”

you can acquire an allergy to latex at anytime…the more you wear latex products the greater the chance you are to becoming allergic to it…

lots of workers in all the types of the medical field gain a allergy or at least a sensitivy to latex via their glove usage at work…

Latex is a tree sap…that the tree came up with to defend itself from being attacked by insects and other predators…so it is not necessarily a nice thing to start with…

Like wilsoj i find that i had to shave everytime i wore a top with latex…then i switched over to the stohlquist bpod and never worried again…to the point where i have purchased two stohlquist swicx tops because of the same gasket system…


silicone gel and a buff
Divers have a silicone lube that is fine on the gaskets. Rather than lubing up though, I use a “Buff Headgear”. I slip half of it inside the drysuit neck gasket and the other half on top. My favorite is the one that is for winter - half fleece, half microfiber.

Last year I had to come up with this as I was getting a rash on my neck every time I went out and I hadn’t in the past. After a few months and a round of prednisone the rash cleared ONLY after I figured out that the formulation of my face lotion that I applied every day to my face and neck must have changed. I stopped using it and now I can use a gasket again.

And in answer to the burning question - Don’t you get wet using the Buff? It does wick water down the neck if I am surfing and rolling but for general use it doesn’t. If “god forbid” I am out of my boat and swimming, I would just slip the buff out of the gasket.


Sure it’s the gasket?
This year I was getting neck irritation on my drysuit but it was not the seal but the velcro fabric rubbing my neck. In the future, I just made sure my gasket was pulled up high enough to block the fabric from rubbing and that stopped it for my case.

Probably not what you think
I had the same thing happen to me. The gaskets never irritated my skin the first couple of years.

When it first happened, I thought it was from lots of neck turning during an intro surf lesson (movement + salt water). It may have been, but it also happened later on with fresh water.

Check your gaskets inside and out. Remember how shiny-black and slippery they were at first? They are probably a dull dark grey now–mine were. Slide your fingers lightly over a dull area and a shiny area (if you have some still). Yeah, the shiny stuff lets your fingers slide much better than the dull area does. You can smear some silicone lube (get it at dive shops) on the inside of the gasket where it contacts your skin and that will get rid of the chafing. But it’s a stopgap measure; if the rubber is dull and abraded, it may need to be replaced.

My neck gasket had a tiny hole in it, which I repaired with a bike tube patch. It worked, but meanwhile the gasket continued to become nonslippery. I’m replacing it this winter. The silicone lube worked well for me but it’s time.

BTW, I got a tiny drop of the rubber cement on the top edge of the neoprene over-collar. That drop hardened and chafed my neck badly. The tip of the same collar, where the velcro tape ends, also chafes my neck. I will probably stick a “dummy” piece of cloth in there so that the velcro doesn’t touch my skin.

neoprene hood?
When I hear of this I have wondered if a full neck scuba hood might be tried.