Are You Allergic to Your Jewelry?
Mild Reactions to Jewelry
What is Nickel? And Where Is It?
- Clothing items like bra fasteners, zippers, snaps, buttons, costume jewelry
- Everyday items like coins, utensils, pens, paper clips, tools, keys
Latex Reactions and Allergies
You Can Still Wear Jewelry
- Stick to the good stuff.—Insist that all your jewelry be either sterling silver or at least 14-karat gold. That is the most effective remedy, albeit an expensive one.
- Try stainless steel.—Try wearing stainless steel or plastic backs on your earrings, and purchase earrings that have stainless steel posts, as well. Although stainless steel contains nickel, it is bound so tightly that it does not leach out. If you think you are sensitive to metals and want to get your ears pierced, Dr. Robert A. Norman of Tampa, Florida suggests getting pierced with a stainless steel needle and using stud earrings that are nickel-free.
- Try hypo-allergenic.—Some jewelry companies carry specially treated, "hypo-allergenic" jewelry. This jewelry causes fewer reactions in people with mild metal sensitivities.
- Try clear nail polish.—Dr. Saida Baxt suggests painting jewelry with clear nail polish, so that the skin is never in contact with the offending metal. If that does not work, just put the jewelry away and save it as an heirloom.
- Stay dry.—Keep your skin dry where your skin touches the metal.
- Moisturize.—Wear a good layer of protective moisturizing cream. The better the barrier between you and the metal, the less likely the reaction will be bothersome.
- Protect your skin.—Consider electroplating sentimental or really good pieces of jewelry. Take your ring, for example, back to the jeweler and see if a new layer of "good" metal can be applied to the contact surface. This prevents leaching of the nickel particles onto your skin, at least for a while.
- Wear it part-time.—Take your jewelry off when you do not need to be wearing it.
American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org/
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology http://www.aaaai.org/
Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca/
Latex allergy. University of Michigan Health System website. Available at: http://www.med.umich.edu/.
Liden C, Menne T. Nickel-containing alloys and platings and their ability to cause dermatitis. British Journal of Dermatitis. 1996;134:193-198.
Nickel allergy. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic%5Fdiseases/nickel%5Fallergy.html. Accessed March 3, 2010.
Nickel allergy. New Zealand Dermatological Society website. Available at: http://www.dermnet.org.nz/index.html .
Nickel allergy: symptoms. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nickel-allergy/DS00826/DSECTION=symptoms. Updated June 23, 2009. Accessed March 3, 2010.
Nickel allergy: treatments. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nickel-allergy/DS00826/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs. Updated June 23, 2009. Accessed March 3, 2010.
Nickel and latex allergies provide growing allergy epidemic. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/.