Safety shoes against Contact Dermatitis


On the market there is a wide choice of safety shoes, and at first sight they look all the same, although there are actually great differences among the various types. In this article my goal is to give you some advice about the best Safety shoes against Contact Dermatitis.

I will try to give you an idea of what problems can be avoided by using the right kind of safety shoes.

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I am sure this article will be a big help to you so that you will be able to choose the perfect pair of safety shoes for your problem.

What is contact dermatitis

Safety shoes against Contact Dermatitis

Did you know you could be allergic to the materials of your safety shoes?

You could have particular reactions to a wide range of elements of your shoes, like adhesives, chemicals, and materials used in the fabrication of the footwear or of the soles, or in the tanning of the leather. Often a simple allergy leads to contact dermatitis or hives, which can causes severe itching.

The dermatitis caused by the footwear is a form of contact dermatitis due to the exposition of the feet to the materials of the safety footwear. Several factors contribute to it: chemicals present in the shoes, different materials used to produce them and the hot and humid environment created inside the shoes when they are worn. Contact dermatitis is to be distinguished from the dermatitis caused by psoriasis. As these conditions have similar symptoms, sometimes it can be difficult to get the right diagnosis and, consequently, the proper treatment.

Symptoms of contact dermatitis

The symptoms depend on the cause and on the sensitivity to the triggering substance. They include: dry and flaky skin, hives, blisters, skin reddening, burning, itching, swelling, irritations, chapped skin and open wounds which form scabs.

Most times contact dermatitis is no cause for concern; however, you should see a doctor if the symptoms persist, or if they get too distressing. If home therapy is not effective, the doctor can prescribe you a stronger steroid cream.


Causes and diagnosis of contact dermatitis

Safety shoes against Contact Dermatitis

A dermatologist can help you identify the cause of your allergic reaction.

A rash on the upper part of the foot suggest the presence of chemical substances in the fabric, materials or adhesives in the shoe upper. An irritation in the lower part of the foot points to chemicals like rubber-based additives present in the soles and insoles, such as glues, antimicrobial agents, dyes and fibers.

It has been found out that sulfate of dimethylthiocarbamoylbenzothiazole (DMTBS) is often the cause of this disease. It’s formed during the process of vulcanization of the rubber. Other chemicals containing rubber or chromium have been identified as common irritants. In another study carried out on patients affected by contact dermatitis the greatest allergens were potassium dichromate, cobalt chloride and a mixture or thiol (mercaptan), colophony, mercury and nickel sulphate.

This being said, new substances and materials are introduced into the shoe industry all the time and new sensitivities are continuously discovered.


Safety shoes against contact dermatitis

Since safety shoes can contain a wide variety of potential irritants, for some it can be difficult to find shoes that don’t cause a reaction. For this reason some tips can help you to prevent or treat the disease.

Work socks, soft and breathable, are specifically designed to protect sensitive feet, and it has been shown that they help reduce the symptoms of contact dermatitis. Allergens can, however, remain in the socks even after washing, so replacing your socks rather often is wise if you have a predisposition to contact dermatitis.

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Tips for those who suffer from contact dermatitis

Safety shoes against Contact Dermatitis

My advice is that you buy safety shoes made of high-quality leather (full grain). The better the quality of the leather and of the footwear, the fewer problems you will have. Besides, always favor products made of Italian leather.

Another is solution is to use safety shoes made of materials different from those of your previous shoes, for instance:

  • if your previous shoes were of leather, take some mesh shoes
  • if your previous shoes had PU/PU soles, buy some with EVA/rubber soles
  • The lining should always be of good quality, antiallergic and as breathable as possible.
  • Check the materials of the insoles: they should preferably be made of anti-bacterial materials, anti-smell and breathable.
  • In most cases contact dermatitis heals spontaneously as soon as the irritant is no more in contact with the skin. Here are some tips to improve your situation:
  • Don’t scratch the affected area, even if it itches: that could worsen the irritation and even lead to skin infections which would require the use of antibiotics.
  • Wash the skin with a mild soap and lukewarm water, to remove all irritating substances.
  • Apply specific creams to relieve the symptoms in the affected area
  • Try some anti-pruritic products, such as lotions or hydrocortisone cream.
  • If necessary, take an antihistamine to reduce the itch and the allergic reaction.
  • Those products can be purchased in most pharmacies, but always just on the advice of your doctor.


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Safety shoes against Contact Dermatitis: Conclusion

Those were some recommendations and some small tricks to choose the ideal safety shoes for your problem of contact dermatitis.

As soon as you learn the ropes and you get the right safety footwear for your needs, you will experience better comfort at work.

I assure you that if you wear the right type of safety footwear you will live a better work experience.

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