If you or your partner has a latex allergy, you won’t be able to use just any brand of condoms. But luckily, there are latex alternatives out there, so you don’t have to sacrifice safety when you have sex. One CDC-recommended option you should know about is polyisoprene condoms. (Remember, condoms can be used on penises, cut open to work as dental dams, and used on shared sex toys.)
According to one study, around 4.3% of the general population have latex allergies. However, people who regularly come into contact with latex — particularly healthcare workers and people who frequently receive medical treatment — are more at risk. Around 9.7% of healthcare workers and 7.2% of "susceptible patients" have latex allergies.
People with latex allergies can use polyurethane (a thin type of plastic) condoms, lambskin (intestinal lamb membrane) condoms, or polyisoprene (a synthetic form of rubber) condoms. Lambskin condoms don't protect against STIs, so the CDC recommends either polyurethane and polyisoprene condoms for people with latex allergies. Both are effective at preventing STIs and unplanned pregnancy, so it really comes down to individual preference. If you have a latex allergy, you might want to try both kinds and see which you like better.
Compared to polyurethane, polyisoprene is stretchier, thicker, and softer, and some people prefer how they feel. “It's like a normal condom. As soon as it gets wet, it seems to mold itself to your skin, and the feeling is like you're not even wearing a condom. Pretty amazing,” wrote one polyisoprene condom user on Reddit.
If you’re interested in trying polyisoprene condoms, here are some styles to check out.