Gloves are not a panacea. They can be punctured, torn, or damaged in a number of ways. In the dynamic environment in which they are used, gloves function as a bidirectional barrier only when they remain intact. Researchers have shown that latex gloves serve as an effective barrier to most pathogens. More recently, intact gloves have been shown to be a good barrier against viral pathogens. However, neither latex gloves nor cut-resistant gloves will prevent needlestick injuries. When the risk of puncture or tearing is too high, practitioners should conisder donning stronger gloves or double-gloving to reuce personal exposure. Glvoes should not be considered a substitute for good handwashing practices or skin care. The best barrier is intact skin. Gloves are and will remain an integral component of health care workers' personal protective armamentarium. By identifyng the most important features, benefits, and attributes of a glove, the health professional can select the safest product for both patient and worker.