What Can I Use When I’m Allergic To Plaster?

Up to half of the people who use medical plaster will develop an allergic reaction. Skin reactions to plaster can be categorized under allergic contact dermatitis.

Symptoms of Plaster Allergy

An allergic reaction to plaster may cause:

  • Skin rash
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Burning sensation
  • Weepy blisters

Rashes related to plaster allergy usually appear in the area of the skin that comes into direct contact with the bandage. The rash is typically red, raised, and itchy.

In severe cases, a plaster allergy rash can resemble a burn or a large, painful blister that can be highly prone to infection.

What Causes Plaster Allergy?

The chemical compounds found in bandage tape can cause allergic reactions in some people.

In particular, the sticky substance found in plaster is usually made from plastic chemicals known as propenoates or acrylates. These compounds are also found in products such as nicotine patches, artificial nails, wood polishes, and glossy paper among others.

Another major allergen responsible for an adverse reaction to plaster is rosin, also known as colophony.

Rosin is also found in the sticky part of the plaster. It is extracted from spruce or pine trees and is used in a wide array of applications for its adhesive qualities.

Rosin or colophony may also come in names such as abietic acid, abietyl alcohol, dertophene 18 or Gum rosin.

Another compound that can cause an allergic reaction is latex. However, many medical plasters no longer use this compound but you might want to check the label if you are using an old box of plasters.

How To Manage Plaster Allergy

If you notice an allergic reaction to a medical adhesive, you should stop usage immediately. The symptoms will usually disappear once you stop using the plaster.

Other alternatives to standard medical plasters include using paper tape or gauze to cover the wound. If you really must use plaster, opt for the hypoallergenic type.

Best Hypoallergenic Plaster for Sensitive Skin

There are several allergy-free plaster brands on the market. After extensive research, we came with four of the best plasters for people with allergies.

LONGFIX Aloe - Extended Length Aloe Vera Highly Absorbent Adhesive Bandages 20 x 3 in (1-20 in Roll per Box)
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LONGFIX Aloe - Extended Length Aloe Vera Highly Absorbent Adhesive Bandages 20 x 3 in (1-20 in Roll per Box)

The EuroStrip bandages are essentially polyethylene plasters with Aloe Vera injected onto the center wound pad.

Aloe Vera, with its soothing properties, makes these plasters ideal for sensitive skin.

These plasters not only protect and cushion wounds. They are antiseptic and therefore promote wound healing.

The EuroStrip bandages are breathable, hypoallergenic, and gentle to the skin, making it suitable for all-family use.

Sterostrip Hypo-allergenic Washproof Plasters - Spot (x200) by Healthcenter

The Sterostrip plasters by Healthcenter are made from allergy-free material and offer excellent adhesion.

The bandage is built to stick longer without leaving any residue or causing pain when removed.

The plasters are also waterproof, boasting a longer life than the standard medical adhesive.

Assorted Hypo-allergenic Plasters - - For Dressing Scrapes And Grazes by Schne Health (UK)

If you are looking for allergy-free plasters for grazes and wounds, the assorted plasters by Schne Health are a great choice.

These plasters have an extra pad for added protection against knocks and chaffing. Each bandage is flexible, stretches easily, and is therefore easy to wrap around a wound.

Schne Health hypoallergenic plasters are long lasting and comfortable. More importantly, the non-stick gauze pad ensures that the bandage does not stick to the wound to prevent pain and possible irritation.

Summary

Sensitivity to medical adhesives is quite common but it may not always be possible to avoid using these adhesives.

If you have adverse reactions to standard bandages, consider using allergy-free bandages. More important, be sure to undertake proper wound care to avoid potentially serious infections.