How To Avoid Jewellery Allergy
If you have a jewellery allergy, a dermatologist can perform a skin patch test to determine if you have a metal allergy. Once your nickel or cobalt allergy is confirmed, it is essential to avoid contact with that metal. The following tips may help when purchasing jewellery.
- Alternative white gold alloys are available based on palladium, silver and other white metals, but the palladium alloys are more expensive than those using nickel. High-karat white gold alloys are far more resistant to corrosion than are either pure silver or sterling silver.
- When having ears or other body parts pierced, have it done with a stainless steel needle and make sure your jewellery is made of stainless steel or either 18- or 24 karat gold.
- Look for jewellery that is hypoallergenic, i.e. made of stainless steel, at least 18-karat gold, sterling silver, or polycarbonate plastic.
- If you must wear earrings that contain nickel, add plastic covers made specifically for earring studs.
- If your wedding ring or another item of jewellery that you wear daily causes a reaction, you can ask a jeweller about having it plated in a non-allergic metal, such as rhodium or platinum. However, the coating will eventually wear off and need re-plating.
Get The Plated Jewelry Replated Regularly
Often, rhodium plated jewelry like white gold would have to be replated after some time between 6 months to 2 years, depending on how often you wear it and how well cared for the jewelry is.
This principle could also be applied to fake jewelry because this jewelry is often plated.
Gold plating using 18k gold or rhodium plating ensures that the base metal which may have allergens is coated and away from your sensitive skin.
The new gold plated or rhodium plated layer will not last forever, but it will keep your skin safe from irritants for a few more months.
Invest In More Hypoallergenic Jewelry
Although the jewelry is fake, it can be hypoallergenic. Essentially, this means that the jewelry in question contains a very low content of materials that would elicit allergic reactions.
For starters, this kind of jewelry is free of nickel, and its categorized as hypoallergenic.
Some of the hypoallergenic metals used in fake jewelry include nickel-free stainless steel and surgical-grade stainless steel, and even tungsten.
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Surgical Stainless Steel Earrings Can Often Be Used
Surgical stainless steel earrings may be an option. Surgical stainless steel is, as the name suggests, a very high quality stainless steel. Stainless steel actually does contain nickel, but the nickel is typically so tightly bound that it is unlikely to be released from the object.
Thats why I often recommend stainless steel objects for my patients who are allergic to nickel.
One example of a company that sells surgical stainless steel earrings is Comfy Earrings.
What You Need To Know If Cheap Jewelry Breaks You Out
Its almost impossible for me to shop at stores like Zara or Forever 21 without scouring the jewelry racks for a new ring, necklace, or pair of earrings. But after wearing cheap costume jewelry, I get dry patches on my earlobes or a rash on the back of my neck. After an appointment with Dr. , I suspect my reactions are caused by a nickel allergy, a common condition that many people have, according to Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, M.D., a board-certified NYC dermatologist and clinical attending at NYU and Mount Sinai Hospital.
If youve been dealing with similar breakouts and you think your jewelry could be the cause, read on to learn how to protect your skin from a nickel-induced rash.
Nickel is one of the most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis, a skin reaction caused by exposure to a specific allergen. It can look like a red, itchy rash, dry patches of skin that look like a burn, or blisters and other bumps. Since nickel can be found in clothing, electronics, certain makeup, jewelry, and even foods, you may notice a reaction in many different areas on your bodylike itchy ears after wearing earrings, a hand rash from handling keys, or a belly-button irritation from a button on your pants. If youre not sure whats causing your symptoms, see a dermatologist or allergist to get an official diagnosis.
1. The only truly nickel-free jewelry is made with 100 percent pure metals, like stainless steel, platinum, or gold.
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Nickel Allergies In Jewelry
Nickel allergies are one of the most common allergies when it comes to precious and base metals. It is estimated that over 18% of people in America and Canada are allergic to nickel. The official, medical name for this condition is Nickel allergic contact dermatitis . While this can cause skin irritation, a rash and eczema, it is not life threatening and symptoms can be reduced by simply limiting contact to items with high nickel content.
People who develop an allergic reaction to nickel may have once come into direct, prolonged contact with an item that releases a high level of the base metal, but then subsequent reactions can be triggered by smaller doses once an allergy develops.
Treating An Allergic Reaction To Cheap Jewelry
There is no permanent cure for an allergy caused by metal. The best thing that can be done is to avoid certain metals, especially those found in jewelry. Here are some steps you may take to help treat your skin after an allergic reaction:
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Invest In Good Quality Hypoallergenic Jewelry
Your skin-safe hypoallergenic jewelry doesnt have to be made of 14k/18k gold or sterling silver it could be plated with a thick layer of metal like gold or rhodium, as long as the rest of the components are nickel-free, and even if they are not, you should have the jewelry re-plated frequently or you could replace them.
Test If Youre Really Allergic To Nickel
How can you know if youre allergic to nickel?
Sometimes we confuse rash and irritation skin with nickel allergy.
For example, once one of our clients was sure hes allergic to nickel that has his wedding ring. He did the nickel test and realized that its not nickel allergy.
The change of the soap he was using combined with the moisture trapped under his ring was causing the problem.
The solution to that kind of allergy is pretty easy dry your hands well after washing and after applying hand cream or other cosmetic products that may cause rash and skin irritation when combined with the metal of the jewelry you wear.
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Nickel Definition And Application
First of all, lets understand what nickel is. According to the Wikipedia definition, Nickel is a silvery-white metal with a slight golden tinge that takes a high polish. Nickel is a vital metal for a variety of industries.
It is highly versatile metal that will alloy with most other metals, what makes it easy to work with.
It’s high versatility and its outstanding heat and corrosion resistance have led to its use in a wide range of applications such as Aircraft gas turbines, steam turbines in power plants and its extensive use in the energy and nuclear power markets.
And of course lets not forget nickel plated jewelry and even nickel-plated faucets, nickelsteel alloy cookware, nickel-pigmented dishes and much more domestic applications we have never thought about as containing nickel.
Visit A Reputable Piercing Studio
If youre planning to get piercings done, make sure to choose a studio that provides piercing services in a clean and professional environment. Check if the studio uses sterile, sealed surgical-grade stainless steel needles. Piercing guns should also be maintained so that the part touching a customers skin will not be used on other customers. Ask your piercer for hypoallergenic jewelry made of sterling silver or similar metals, and see if they can provide documentation on the metal content of their products.
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Can I Wear Silver Jewelry If I Am Allergic To Nickel
Allergy to nickel develops at any age, whether 10 or 60 years of age, you can become allergic to nickel. It forms when there is persistent exposure to any substance that has nickel in it, and once you become allergic, youll be a sensitive nickel at any given time.
Why is nickel used to make jewelry?
Nickel is used in jewelry just because it helps to decrease the costs of production. The jewelry manufacturers utilize inexpensive metal alloys such as nickel to lower the production budget and save the cost. In fact, silver that is nickel-free is usually more expensive than those that contain nickel.
How do you know your jewelry is nickel-free?
Check out for the nickel-free badge: When jewelry is genuine and nickel-free, that jewelry is often marked with a nickel-free badge. This is one of the easiest ways to go about buying any jewelry.
Check out for palladium: Palladium is silvery white just like platinum, but it is less costly. Palladium is used as a nickel replacement in the white gold as it helps to make the accessory-less likely to cause metal allergy. Also, it is a good selection especially when you cannot afford to purchase platinum jewelry.
Go for platinum: The platinum is a metal thats naturally hypoallergenic. Its silvery white shiny color can easily be recognized, and it is an excellent choice to buy for jewelry, even though its price is a little more costly than the 18k white gold.
Clear Finger Nail Polishyep It’s That Easy
Apply 2 coats of clear finger nail polish to the surfaces of the jewelry that will have contact with your skin. Dont worry about painting perfectly just make sure the surface has been thoroughly covered with the clear polish.
Over time, the polish may wear off so apply more coats if needed. If your jewelry ever feels like it has too much build-up then use a little finger nail polish remover to remove the excess polish.
And voilà! You can now wear all types of jewelry again without constantly itching…like a dog…with flees.
Before this little secret, I was never able to make such dramatic fashion statements such as with these pink tasseled earrings. Now, I can wear them and I don’t feel a thing!
You can wear jewelry of all shapes, just make sure you coat all surfaces that will touch your skin.
If you’re into accessorizing like me and the only thing that has come in between you and your bangles is a little nickel allergy then I know you’re super excited to try this fashion trick! Go to your local drug store a.s.a.p to pick up some clear finger nail polish!
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Earring Solutions For Jewelry Allergies
Earring reactions can be some of the trickiest issues to solve. Because the metal goes through the skin, we often react more strongly to it. If 18-karat gold, nickel-free, and other sensitive-labeled earrings still cause a problem for you, consider trying open hoop earrings like Designer Ears.
No, they arent clip-ons. We know clip-ons can hurt, even after a few minutes. These hypoallergenic earrings are designed to attach without going through your ear. You simply put it on like an ear cuff, then slide it down over your ear. I wear them and many of my patients wear these all day with no allergic reaction at all.
Bonus tip: If youre allergic to one of your favorite small jewelry items, like a ring, you can coat the part of the jewelry that touches your skin with clear nail polish. That will keep the metal itself from coming into contact with your skin until you can replace it or find a more permanent solution.
Jewelry allergies are irritating literally. Not only is our skin uncomfortable, but we also have to give up some of our favorite pieces or find a way to get the metal replaced. We know it isnt fun but neither is a rash.
Create A Barrier Between Your Skin And The Nickel
Watches can be a real issue for people with a nickel sensitivity. Even if you find a watch with a nice leather, fabric or plastic strap often the backing of the watch face will contain nickel and cause you trouble. A good trick is to look for a watch where the strap continues along the back of the watch face, therefore creating a barrier between you and the metal part. Timex has a nice range of these kinds of watches . Laura wears one like this.
The same principle could work for a necklace look for one with a leather or fabric strap instead of a chain. Got a pendant you love? String it on a leather strap that is long enough so the pendant lies on top of your clothing when you wear it.
Any other tips to wearing jewelry with a nickel sensitivity?
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Allergic To Gold Necklace Is It Normal
Yes, allergies to gold necklaces are pretty normal. Jewelry allergy is also known as contact allergy dermatitis, and its often the result of an allergic reaction to the nickel in gold.
As mentioned above, gold jewelry is often made of some nickel, which strengthens the gold. The nickel causes nickel allergies.
Besides the solid gold pieces of jewelry made with nickel, your gold necklace may also cause an allergic reaction if the piece is gold plated rather than a piece of actual solid gold jewelry. This often happens where nickel is used as the base metal but plated with gold. So, the moment the gold layer wears out, the base is exposed, resulting in irritation.
Avoid All Kinds Of Jewelry Containing Nickel
When it comes to wearing fake jewelry for persons with sensitive ears or skin, the most important thing you could do is to avoid jewelry with nickel.
The jewelry might look great, but if it has nickel, you should avoid it completely.
Bear in mind that although nickel is commonly used in costume jewelry because it is cheap, durable, and boasts an excellent finish, it is bad for sensitive or problematic skin, and it will cause irritation soon after you start wearing that jewelry.
The irritation often results from the high reactivity of nickel, which means that a nickel salt is formed when the metal comes in contact with water.
So, in areas of your body where a lot of water/ sweat collects, say ear piercings or rings, nickel erodes at a very high speed, and the resulting salt mixture will irritate your skin.
If you cannot afford expensive jewelry, look for safer alternatives for nickel jewelry. These alternatives are often palladium alloys that contain no copper or nickel and are very safe on your skin.
The best part is that palladium is hypoallergenic, just as platinum, but its much cheaper. This is also the reason why most jewelers are now opting for palladium rather than a nickel for alloying.
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How Do You Treat An Allergic Reaction To Jewelry
Once you notice your allergic reaction to jewelry you are going to want to remove the jewelry immediately. We are not saying you have to stop wearing your favorite piece of jewelry forever just during certain occasions. Removing jewelry regularly like when you are showering, working out, or sleeping. Taking them off at these times gives your skin a break and reduces wear on your jewelry.
Another way to treat an allergic reaction is to clean and dry the piece of jewelry due to moisture and bacteria being trapped which can often lead to skin irritation. Cleaning your jewelry will help reduce the risk to an allergic reaction especially for wider rings or stacking jewelry. Make sure your jewelry is completely dry before putting it back on. While your jewelry is off it is helpful to use calming lotions on the affected areas.
What Metals Cause Allergic Reactions
People can be allergic to any metal. Nickel is the most common metal allergy thats why youll notice many earrings labeled nickel-free. But nickel is not the only metal that results in an allergic reaction.
Any metal can cause an allergic reaction, even gold. Maybe youve heard someone advise, Buy 18-karat gold because its pure and you cant be allergic. Not true. A gold allergy isnt very common, but your body can still react to it if youre allergic.
No matter the metal, if you have a jewelry allergy, the rash usually looks the same.
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