Wetsuit/neoprene allergy, alternative suit info?

Hi, I wore a brand new wetsuit, first time ever, and had a blister rash reaction all over, very painful.

Seems like an actual neoprene allergy as had swim suit underneath and still had the reaction all over.

What wetsuits are available that don’t have neoprene?

I’ve done loads of reading re chaffing v allergy and as I literally have an all over wetsuit image kind of blistered all over me, I’m going with allergy.

Thanks for help, advice, commiserations, really want to be able to wear a wetsuit so totally fed up Im allergic!!

I had a serious problem with wet suits when I was actively scuba diving long ago. In my case my reaction was apparently to the glue in the seams. I would wind up with a rash tattoo of the seam lines all over my body. I would wear a nylon full length skin suit under the wet suit and it helped quite a bit. It didn’t completely eliminate the reaction. But taking some benadryl cleared up the rest. I don’t know anything about today’s wet suits though.

That’s the first thing that popped into my head, some lycra/spandex type ‘pants’ and shirt.
Under armor is one. Riddell also makes that as athletes use that brand’s underclothing.

did you wash it ?
Might be chems in the neoprene.

In Australia they call those one piece nylon suits “Stinger suits”. I wore one while snorkeling on the Great Barrier reef in the summer - water was 84 degrees so no need for a wetsuit but definite need for protection from box jellyfish. Rare on the reef but dangerous enough to warrant the precaution. The suits are horribly non-flattering but do the trick.

Might be “anti chaff” clothing.

I also have a problem with the glue at the seams. Wearing light weight longjohns and top under the wet suit didn’t help me. Nor did the antihistamines I have to take on a daily basis. Problem solved when I bought a drysuit.

My first thought also was it might not be the neoprene per se. Have someone else wash the suit using dish soap, then rub it (not a seam) on you arm and see if it reacts.

I get a reaction to the glue used to attach those round All Star badges on my canvas high tops. I buy them 6 months in advance to get all the solvent to evaporate properly.

The Farmer John wetsuit I have was given too me, and was several years old when I got it. The knee patches were the worst part of the suit for me. I think there may be differences with individual sensitivity. Constellation had a more serious reaction than anyone has posted so far. I for one would avoid another exposure. If it is an allergy there is a possibility of a worse reaction. I’m not a doctor, but I would be cautious about it.

Here is a possible alternative. I would ask for a small patch with a spot of the adhesive, and perhaps see what happens, but again I would want someone with me when I did so. I would ask if a suit with just sewn seams and no adhesive is available. I also react to Wellwood contact cement like is used to patch rubber inner tubes.


Here are other alternatives

Alternatives to Neoprene (oureverydaylife.com)

I would check into the idea of a neoprene allergy more closely. What brand of suit did you buy? Did it have a strong chemical smell? There are a lot of off-brand and counterfeit suits made in china sold lately, since it’s very hard to get a quality suit. Neoprene items from china are very often contaminated with monomers used in the synthesis and polymerization initiators and cross linking agents. When people think they have a neoprene allergy it is most likely a reaction to thiourea cross linking agents. There can also be latex rubber in the seams which causes dermatitis reactions as well. Bottom line is to buy a high quality suit. Good brands in the US are O’Neil, Excel, Rip Curl and Bomber Gear. NRS may also be pretty good. You could test if it’s neoprene or chemical contaminants. Go to a store and rub a O’neil suit in the crease of your arm several times. Have some hydrocortisone cream handy if you start breaking out.

Caution with any kind of allergic reaction is strongly recommended. The only problem with any kind of quick test is that it may not tell you what you need to know. When I had my problem it did not show up with a short exposure. I tried my wet suit on in the store for sizing and didn’t get a reaction. It happened when I had it on for a while the first time I actually used it.

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Good point. The sheet stock like particle board that comes from china has enough formaldahyde in it to make my eyes water and stink up a whole room.