A reader asked recently if I wear gloves when using pastel. I don't. The reason is that I use fairly small pieces of pastel, especially in the finishing stages of the painting, and the glove tips of my index finger and thumb tend to get caught between the pastel and the painting surface. (I use large but form-fitting nitrile gloves, as seen in the photo above.) Instead, I'll use a product like "Gloves in a Bottle," "Magic Gloves" or some other barrier cream to keep the pastel out of my skin. It also helps with clean-up in the end. Problem is, more often than not I forget to use it! I found that my local Ace Hardware has small bottles of "Gloves in a Bottle" at the checkout counter.
However, when working in oil, I always wear the gloves. It's more for ease of clean-up than for dealing with toxicity, but it helps with that, too.
I've found I can usually use one pair of gloves over several painting sessions - at least two, typically three and sometimes more.
By the way, if you're looking for a Christmas present idea - for yourself or another artist - please consider my Paint Sedona and Paint Campobello plein air workshops. You can even have a customized workshop! All you'll need is yourself and three others, and I'll tailor the week any way you want.