September 13, 2012

Common Skin Allergies to Jewelry

If you notice that your earlobes are irritated or that there's a rash on your neck or wrist and you're not sure what the cause if it is, before you panic, try this: Spend a couple of days without any jewelry on and see if it clears up. If so, you very well may have an allergic reaction to your earrings, necklace or bracelet---your jewelry.


While it is a common assumption that if that's the case, you simply have "cheap jewelry" on (and sometimes, it really is just a matter of not purchasing cheap costume items), it could actually be a bit of a deeper issue than that. There are people who are allergic to gold, silver and even platinum just as much as the "cheap stuff".

So, how can you know if you fall into that category and what can you do if that's the case? Good question. We hope to be able to provide you with a few of those answers below:

What Is a Nickel Allergy?
It is basically the general consensus that when you develop an allergy from jewelry that it is mostly nickel-related. Even if you discover that you are sensitive to gold or silver, a lot of that kind of jewelry is still mixed with nickel, zinc and/or copper so that the jewelry can be formed and casted into particular designs. While it is extremely rare that you would be allergic to zinc or copper, there are many people who do have an allergic reaction to nickel. Symptoms include itching, swelling, rashes, dry patches and even blistering.

What Should You Do If You Have a Nickel Allergy? If you sense that you may have a jewelry allergy, what some people do is simply stop wearing the jewelry that causes them to have the reactions that they do. However, if you want a confirmation that this is the case, a dermatologist can perform a skin patch test. If the test (one that usually requires 48 hours for confirmation) comes back positive, one thing to keep in mind is that your sensitivity to nickel is one that you will have throughout your entire life.

However, there are things that can be done to avoid having the symptoms in the future. If you're planning on having a body part pierced, make sure to specifically request that it be done with stainless steel tools and that stainless steel posts are used. If you're out shopping for jewelry and you see something like a gold name necklace or some bangle bracelets that you've just got to have, make sure that they are made from hypoallergenic products like stainless steel, 14K gold, pure sterling silver or plastic. Speaking of plastic, you can also getting a nickel allergy from your clothing, so also look for buttons, snaps and fasteners are made from plastic. Oh, and if there is a certain kind of jewelry that you wear every day (like your wedding band) and it is made from nickel, don't worry, you can still keep it. Simply set an appointment with a jeweler to have it plated with a non-allergic metal.

(Guest Post by Carol)

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  1. It is possible to develop allergies to metals

  2. Try wearing the jewelry just once a day and then take it off when you get back home

  3. Anonymous2:54 PM

    Generally speaking, most people are not allergic to pure gold; however, many people do have reactions to the metals mixed with gold when it's not solid (i.e. plated, 10k, 12k, 14k), and by solid, I don't really mean "solid", as you have to mix gold with another metal to make it strong enough to hold its shape.
    I actually know a few people whose skin has gotten very irritated or even turned slightly green around the piece of jewelry due to mixing copper or nickel into the gold.

  4. Hmm, I think nickel allergy is the most common. However, I do know someone who is allergic to gold. This is the reason why most if not all her jewelries are made up of sterling silver and platinum.


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