Periodically, I end up with a fiberglass rash. Usually on my arms. This comes from restoring old boats. Sanding on fiberglass patch work releases micro particles on the stuff. Of course, I usually end up leaning on some fiberglass dust. Several hours later, the itching and burning begins! A fiberglass rash can be caused by any number of things. Working with fiberglass is of course my bane. But if you are putting up insulation bats, or working with blown in fiberglass insulation can also be sources of annoying fiberglass itch and burn.
First Cure – Prevent Fiberglass Rash!
Obviously, the easiest way to cure a fiberglass rash is to prevent it! I’m assuming you already are using good protective gear (respirator, eye protection). What else is there? Your clothing! Use pants (not shorts like I normally do). Pants will help prevent fiberglass particles from getting on your legs. If you add a good set of boots, that will also help particles from getting to your legs. A long sleeve shirt is probably on of the most important things you can add to the arsenal of fiberglass rash prevention. A good shirt will be tight at the sleeves and neck. It should either be very long if un-tucked or be tucked in. Tighten your belt and keep that fiberglass dust out!
Fiberglass Rash Relief
You weren’t able to prevent it, so now you have a fiberglass rash. The itching and burning are driving you bonkers. Here are a few steps you can take to relieve the irritation. It’s fairly straight forward and simple. But important that you do it in the right order. There may be other remedies or cures out there, but this has worked for me the few times I’ve been unfortunate enough to get a fiberglass rash!
1 – Wash with Cold Water!
First and foremost, wash or shower with cold water. The cold water will close up your pores. This does two thing for you. First, it keeps more of the irritating fibers from getting into your pores! Second, it will help wash away whatever fiberglass is on the surface of your skin. If you were to wash with hot water first, you risk opening your pores up and introducing more fiberglass fibers. DON’T scrub vigorously! You wouldn’t want to rub any more particles into your skin! Lather up gently and lightly brush away the suds with the cold water.
2 – The Hot Water Wash
Once you have finished with the cold water wash, follow up with hot water. The idea here is to help open up your pores. Opening up your pores will allow the soap and water to wash out the particles that have become stuck there. Once again, do this gently. Lightly lather up and let the hot water do its work, gently rubbing the suds away with your hand and the running water.
3 – When all else Fails – Duct Tape!
Yes, you read that tight. Duct tape. I’ve done steps one and two above and still had some residual itching and burning. As a last resort, I’ve used duct tape to help pull any remaining particles of fiberglass out of my skin. I take about a foot of duct tape, make an inside/out circle out of it, and run it along the parts that still burn. The adhesive on the tape should pull off particles that are stuck in your pores or on your skin. Unfortunately, it will also pull hairs out! So much so that the residual pain from the hair removal will mask the itch and burn from the fiberglass!
So these are the three steps to help get rid of fiberglass rash. It has worked for me in the past when I’ve not been careful enough to prevent it. Hopefully, it will work for you as well.