Skin Allergies to Jewelry
Last updated: February 2021
Jewelry is a great way to dress up an outfit and make a fashion statement. It can also be a way of keeping someone you love close to your heart. A wedding band, heirloom necklace, or a pin are treasures that we all enjoy wearing. What do you do when your favorite jewelry starts causing you to break out in itchy red rashes all over? Many times, when someone in my family wears jewelry, their fingers, neck, wrist, or ears become irritated because of skin allergies to jewelry. If this happens, you are not alone.
The big culprit
Most allergy related problems can be traced back to one metal: nickel. It is used in coins, so you pretty much know what it looks like. A whitish color, it is also super strong – and super cheap in price. The low cost is the main reason used so often. It’s heavy-duty too, making it the metal of choice for everything from jacket snaps and bra clasps to safety pins and buttons.
This very thing is one of the reasons that many people find out that it is a skin irritant. It’s in almost everything! It’s only when worn on the skin affected by atopic dermatitis that issues start to stir up some allergy problems. It might start with discoloration of the skin. Where it rubs may create a dry patch of white skin in the exact place, and even shape of the irritating piece. For example, I have gotten dry skin band under a ring. I’ve also had red blisters appear under a cuff bracelet. There is no guesswork involved. I am allergic to metals containing a lot of nickel.
Treating allergies to jewelry
This type of sensitivity to nickel doesn’t mean you can never wear jewelry. My family found multiple ways around it. Some of them may seem unconventional, so be sure and think it through, talk to your doctor, or consult a jeweler before you venture into our home remedies for skin allergies to jewelry.
- Remove the jewelry – First, take off the piece that is causing you misery. You can spread a cortisone type of cream to calm your skin down.
- Antihistamine – Taking an oral medication, or even using a cream antihistamine can calm down itching and blisters quickly.
- Dipping – I don’t know what else to call it, but my Mom took her earrings into the jeweler and had them dipped in rhodium. When it began to wear off, she took them back to be re-dipped. It always worked for her.
- Clear fingernail polish – I learned early on to paint the inside of my rings with clear finger nail polish. I could tell when it began to wear off because the blisters would start.
- White gold - Today, the only ring I wear is a wedding band, and have it dipped in white gold with a low nickel content.
Most of the jewelry our family wears has been dipped or painted. For fun pieces to dress up an outfit, we wear a lot of stones or crystal type bracelets and necklaces. We talk more in another blog about other types of metals and how to choose earrings or other items for piercing.
What type of infection do you deal with most often?