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Non-Latex Condoms, Are They Better Than Latex?

by RipNRoll Condoms November 07, 2018

Non-Latex Condoms

Latex vs Non-Latex Condoms, what is the difference and are Non-latex condoms safer or better?

If you have ever wondered if you are allergic to latex, you probably have asked yourself these questions. What is the difference between latex and non latex condoms? Well, aside from the obvious, there really is quite a difference. In this article we will dive deep into the difference between latex and non latex or latex Free condoms and help you decide if Non-Latex condoms are right for you.


Manufacturing Latex Condoms (the boring details)

First, we need to explain how "Latex condoms" are made, why they use latex and where exactly does the latex come from?

The first condoms manufactured were formed from the cecum of lambs. These were NOT latex condoms but rather natural lambskin condoms which are still sold to this day. These condoms were/are expensive and have tiny microscopic holes. Rip N Roll does not sell Lambskin condoms as they do not protect against STD's and we have chosen not to promote or profit from this type of condom.

Latex condoms, which account for most of today's market, are the most readily available and least expensive type of condoms. Vulcanization, the chemical linking of rubber particles that was originally developed in 1839 for use in automobile tires, was the initial process responsible for the development of Latex condoms. A form of rubber called latex was developed in the 1930s; this new material, combined with a mechanized dipping process, facilitated the mass production of condoms and lowered manufacturing costs.

The Raw Materials

Rubber latex is obtained from the milky fluid produced by various tropical plants. Latex is an emulsion or dispersion of tiny rubber particles in water, and ingredients added to the latex must be able to attach to the rubber particles during compounding.

Latex Compounding

Next, chemical additives are mixed to form a paste. This paste is then blended with the liquid latex in a process called compounding.

Latex Storage

The latex and chemical compound is then unloaded into drums for storage, where it remains for approximately seven days. During this period, vulcanization chemically strengthens the bonds of the rubber. The storage time also allows any air, which might have been trapped in the mixture during compounding, to escape.

Latex Dipping

The compound is then added to the dipping or condom-forming machine. The dipping machine is a long, hooded machine approximately 100 feet (30.5 m) in length. Thick tempered glass rods move along a closed belt between two circular gears. The belt drags the rods, which are called mandrels, through a series of dips into the latex compound. The mandrels rotate to spread the latex evenly. Several coats are required to build the condom to its required thickness. Between each dip, the latex is hot air dried.

After the final dipping and drying, the condoms automatically roll off the mandrels. A machine shapes and trims the ring of latex at the base of each condom.

These latex condoms are then loaded into a foil package and a special lubricant that keeps the condom fresh and pliable, is added (no lubricant is added to non-lubricated condoms). 

Non Latex Condoms (Latex Free)

In the 1990s a few manufacturers began making non-latex male condoms for people with latex allergies who choose to use condoms. There are several different non-latex male condoms and one non-latex female condom available for sale in the U.S.

Polyurethane Non-Latex Versus Latex

Polyurethane condoms have some advantages over latex as a condom material. One advantage is that exposure to oil-based products will not damage polyurethane. Polyurethane is also a thermoplastic elastomer, which is similar to latex, but lacks the proteins which cause allergic reactions. Polyurethane condoms such as Trojan Supras conduct heat better than latex and therefore are not as noticeable. Polyurethane condoms also are thinner than most latex condoms, and they have little to no smell.  On the downside, polyurethane doesn’t stretch as much like latex or polyisoprene, so slippage and breakage rates are higher. In addition, the effectiveness of polyurethane condoms in preventing transmission of STDs is still being studied.

Polyisoprene Non-Latex Versus Latex

The easiest way to sum up Polyisoprene condoms is to say "Made by Chemists". Polyisoprene is a synthetic form of latex that has none of the proteins that cause allergic reactions. Because it is synthetic, polyisoprene is made by chemists and can not be found in nature, unlike latex, which comes from rubber trees.

Once the polyisoprene is created, it is shipped to the condom factories and processed in nearly the identical way that latex condoms are made, using the same dip method, the same testing, and the same type of packaging.

Polyisoprene condoms like the Lifestyles Skyn and Durex Real Feel are a favorite among non-latex condom users as well as anyone looking for a different type of condom feel.

Latex Allergies

Latex can be found in many things including condoms, balloons, rubber bands, gloves, certain toys, Halloween masks, medical equipment, Dental Dams, tool handles etc, etc. You can Google "Latex Products" and see there are hundreds if not thousands of products containing latex.

Many people have latex allergies and many may not even know they are allergic to latex. It is for this reason that "Non-Latex" condoms were introduced to the market in the 1990's.

Most reactions to latex show up as dermatitis. Some individuals with latex allergies can have a life-threatening reaction to latex exposure, especially if they are undergoing surgery and latex gloves are used during the operation.

For more details on Latex Allergies we encourage you to visit our Full article on Latex Allergies here.

To Sum It Up

Non Latex condoms have come a long way over the years and while they may be a bit more expensive, they are still a better option for preventing pregnancy and disease than to use no condom at all. If you have never tried using a latex free condom, it might be a fun experience for you and your partner. To see our full list of Non Latex condoms, please visit our Non Latex Condoms page here -



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