Polyisoprene Condoms for People with Latex Allergies

Rubber production field.
Diego Lezama / Getty Images

Polyisoprene condoms are the newest safe sex option for individuals with latex allergies. They are stretchier than polyurethane condoms. As such, many people feel that polyisoprene condoms provide a sensation profile that is far more similar to their latex counterparts. There's a good reason for that -- polyisoprene is the synthetic form of latex.

Confused as to why a latex product is being recommended as an option for people with latex allergies?

The answer is simple. Most people with latex allergies aren't actually allergic to latex. It's weird but true.

Most Latex Allergies Aren't About Latex

Natural latex is derived from trees and made into glovescondoms, and other latex products. The latex rubber that makes up these products is therefore, not surprisingly, often contaminated with other proteins from the trees it is harvested from. It turns out that most people with latex allergies are not allergic to the latex itself. Instead, they're allergic to one or more of the plant proteins that contaminate it.

In contrast, polyisoprene is created in a clean laboratory environment. Therefore, it does not suffer from the same contamination problems as natural latex. It has, by and large, the same physical properties as latex. What it doesn't have is the natural byproducts that tend to cause a bit more biological havoc. That's why polyisoprene condoms are so similar to latex condoms.

They're fundamentally a cleaner version of the same thing. Polyurethane, on the other hand, is a different type of polymer entirely. That is why those condoms tend to be baggier and less stretchy.

If you have latex allergies and are looking for products that can make your sex life safer, things are looking up.

it may be worth some experimentation with one of the polyisoprene condoms on the market. They may be a better option than polyurethane for some people because of their lower price. Many men also prefer the way they fit. It may seem strange that scientists have created a latex-based, latex allergy condom, but it actually makes a lot of sense.

Buying Polyisoprene Condoms

Curious about whether polyisoprene condoms might be a good idea for improving your sex life? Here's what you need to know: 


Right now there is only one brand of polyisoprene condoms available - SKYN condoms from Lifestyles. They are slightly more expensive than natural latex condoms but much cheaper than polyurethane condoms, which are the other alternative for people with latex allergies.

Ease of Acquisition:

The SKYN polyisoprene condom is available at many drugstores and also online.

Use During Vaginal Intercourse:

Polyisoprene condoms were FDA approved for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in 2008. As such, they are suitable for use during vaginal intercourse.

Use During Oral Sex:

Polyisoprene condoms are fine for use during oral sex.

Use During Anal Sex:

Polyisoprene condoms can be used anywhere latex condoms can, including for anal sex.

Just don't forget the lube.


You can safely use both water and silicone based lubricants with polyisoprene condoms. You should not use oil-based lubricants. They can break down the condom and increase the risk of breakage.

A Word from Verywell

In November 2008, the FDA approved the first polyisoprene condom for prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The SKYN condom, made from polyisoprene, has been making a lot of waves in the short time it has been on the market. It is much stretchier, and more form fitting, than the other alternative for people with a latex allergy, polyurethane condoms, and it is also significantly cheaper.

In addition, the sensation of using these condoms is different enough that some people prefer them to natural latex condoms even if they don't have latex allergies. The main downside is that these polyisoprene condoms are slightly thicker than polyurethane condoms, but for many individuals, the benefits will be a worthy trade-off.

Please note: Polyisoprene is, chemically, the same type of rubber as latex, however, synthetic polyisoprene condoms should not contain the natural proteins that are the source of most people's latex allergies.


Alenius H, Makinen-Kiljunen S, Turjanmaa K, Palosuo T, Reunala T. "Allergen and protein content of latex gloves." Ann Allergy 1994;73:315-20.

Palosuo T, Mäkinen-Kiljunen S, Alenius H, Reunala T, Yip E, Turjanmaa K. "Measurement of natural rubber latex allergen levels in medical gloves by allergen-specific IgE-ELISA inhibition, RAST inhibition, and skin prick test." Allergy. 1998 Jan;53(1):59-67