Nickel Allergy and the Search for Hypoallergenic Jewelry
“ What jewelry can I use if I ‘m allergic to nickel ? How can I find earrings that are safe for me to use with my nickel allergy ? ”
I ‘ve heard this question from so many of my patients, and I ‘ve dealt with this question myself. The fact is that if you ‘re dealing with nickel allergy, you know firsthand how frustrating it can be to try to find the right earrings, necklaces, bracelets, or rings. particularly since sometimes even pieces that claim to be “ nickel-free ” still manage to break you out.
I ‘ve dealt with nickel allergy myself for many years. And as a dermatologist, I ‘ve developed strategies and identified the brands, metals, and products that can help my patients successfully avoid nickel while inactive wearing beautiful jewelry. Below are my recommendations for hypoallergenic jewelry, along with the strategies I use myself and some of the companies that sell nickel-free jewelry.
My Own Case of Nickel Allergy from Jewelry
It was Saturday good morning. I had barely woken up, and I noticed that my earlobes were itching.
not barely itch, though. My earlobes were red, swollen, and oozing. Looking at them, I knew the perpetrator.
The problem was my earrings. specifically, the nickel that was used in the earrings. ( A lovely pair of costume jewelry earrings that I had worn all day on Friday. )
I ’ ve been allergic to nickel always since I was a child and I first got my ears pierced. now that I ‘m a dermatologist, I know precisely what to do when I ‘m dealing with a nickel allergy.
What is nickel?
Nickel is a metallic and it ’ s used in all types of metallic element objects because it ’ sulfur strong and cheap.
When you hear about nickel in jewelry, you might assume that it ’ south just costume jewelry that ‘s an issue. But nickel is used in far more than barely costume jewelry. In fact, nickel is frequently mix with other metals to create alloys. That means you might find nickel in expensive blank gold, or expensive titanium jewelry, or other types of jewelry.
For myself, I ’ ve gotten a set savvier about preventing rashes from nickel photograph. And as a specialist in allergic skin reactions, I ‘ve advised many, many patients with nickel allergy. In this post, I ’ meter going to describe several options for jewelry that you can use when you have a history of allergic reactions to nickel.
While costume jewelry frequently contains nickel, it ‘s important to recognize that even expensive jewelry can contain nickel. That ‘s because nickel is very strong ( and cheap ).
Why is nickel used in jewelry?
Nickel is widely used, in all sorts of objects. Nickel is cheap and it ‘s potent, so it ‘s used in many types of jewelry.
It ’ sulfur besides used in all sorts of personal and family items, such as watchbands, snaps and buttons on jeans, eyelash curlers, cellular telephone phones, and scissors. It ‘s even used in some implantable checkup devices.
How can you tell if you have an allergy to nickel?
When people are allergic to nickel, they ’ ll develop a foolhardy mighty at the site of contact. With time, that foolhardy may spread. A common scenario is when women wear earrings and start to develop a red antsy ( and sometimes oozing ) rash on their earlobes.
With this character of allergic reaction, the rash is delayed – it normally takes 2 to 3 days before the rash shows up, although it may take deoxyadenosine monophosphate few as hours or angstrom long as one workweek.
This rash is n’t alone delayed — it can besides be durable. In fact, once the rash is there, it can take up to 8 weeks for it to go away.
While you may suspect an allergy to nickel, patch testing is required to confirm this allergy.
You ca n’t tell if an object contains nickel good by looking at it, and you ca n’t rely on price either.
If you think you may be allergic to nickel, what strategies can help protect you against nickel in your jewelry?
There are strategies to help protect you against the nickel in your jewelry, such as using barrier coatings or metals. You can besides purchase jewelry that does not contain nickel.
I ‘ll mention several sources below for these, but please note that I do not have affiliations with any of these companies, and consequently can not certify them. Shop, as constantly, with caution.
1. USE A PROTECTIVE LACQUER COATING
If you love a man of jewelry that contains nickel ( let ‘s say your wedding dance band ), you hush might be able to use it. One strategy involves the use a protective lacquer to help prevent the release of nickel from an object. In early words, you can paint on a lacquer to provide a barrier to the acquittance of nickel.
finally the lacquer wears off, so you ‘ll have to reapply it sporadically. Although you could use clear nail polish, you ‘ll have to make sure the smash polish itself does n’t trigger an allergic reaction.
For my own jewelry, I use a commercially available solution that provides a protective coat. The one I use is called Nickel Guard ( available at www.nickelsolution.com ). It provides a protective lacquer that ‘s like to nail polish but without electric potential allergens.
2. ASK YOUR JEWELER TO APPLY A PROTECTIVE METAL COATING
For an expensive jewelry token, like a marry resound, you can besides take it to your jewelry maker and have them apply a application ( NOT a plating ) on the inside open of the surround. Platinum or rhodium are heavily metals, and would provide a layer of protective covering. I have several earrings that my jeweler coated with rhodium, and I ‘m now able to wear them without any problems.
If you suspect an allergy to your wedding ring, there are respective strategies that you can use to limit skin reactions. You could try using a protective lacquer, or you can ask your jeweler to add a coating of rhodium or platinum.
3. CHECK YOUR JEWELRY AT HOME WITH A NICKEL TEST KIT
If you ‘re purchasing jewelry, and you ‘re not surely if it contains nickel, you can purchase a nickel test kit. This kit contains a chemical ( in solution ) called dimethylglyoxime. The function of this chemical does not harm the object being tested.
When applied to a metallic element object with a cotton swab, the solution will turn pink in the presence of nickel. This test may not pick up minuscule amounts of nickel, but it ‘s normally a good screen for jewelry. One company that sells the test kit is www.nickelsolution.com.
What kind of jewelry can you wear if you are allergic to nickel?
Options for hypoallergenic jewelry
There are many options for hypoallergenic earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets, adenine long as you ‘re careful. You ‘ll find more details below, but here ‘s a short list of some of the possibilities.
- Certain nickel-free costume jewelry
- aesculapian credit card earrings
- Some surgical stainless steel earrings
- many greatest silver pieces
- 18k gold and above ( and some 14k )
- White gold made with palladium ( * avoid white gold made with nickel )
- Some, not all, titanium jewelry
- Certified nickel-free precious metallic jewelry
I’m allergic to fake jewelry.
Can I use nickel-free costume jewelry?
Yes, with caution
You can look for costume jewelry that ’ randomness labeled as “ nickel-free ”. One company that sells nickel-free costume jewelry is www.SimplyWhispers.com. They sell a wide diverseness of costume jewelry, including accessories such as earring posts.
You do have to be careful, though, in general, with costume jewelry that ‘s marketed as “ nickel-free. ”
At this time, there ‘s no US standard to define this term. In the US, some manufacturers define the term “ nickel-free ” as being free of nickel in the plate or exceed layer. When this plate wears thin ( which happens over time ) nickel may be released.
As a general principle, be careful with plat jewelry, and pay care to any rashes that develop after wearing alleged “ nickel-free ” jewelry.
Since there ‘s no standard definition of “ nickel-free ” jewelry in the United States, be cautious.
“Medical plastic” earrings are another nickel-free option
Another choice would be to use “ medical plastic ” earrings, as some are certified to contain “ 0 % nickel ”. One case is “ aesculapian plastic ” earrings sold by www.BlomdahlUSA.com.
Surgical stainless steel earrings can often be used.
surgical stainless sword earrings may be an choice. surgical stainless steel steel is, as the name suggests, a very high quality stainless steel. stainless steel steel actually does contain nickel, but the nickel is typically indeed tightly bound that it is unlikely to be released from the object.
That ’ second why I much recommend stainless steel steel objects for my patients who are allergic to nickel.
One exercise of a company that sells surgical stainless steel earrings is Comfy Earrings.
What about more expensive jewelry or items made from precious metals?
tied expensive gold and titanium jewelry can sometimes have nickel mixed in, so you ca n’t rely on price. This is what to look for when you ‘re choosing other types of metal jewelry :
Does sterling silver contain nickel?
Most sterling silver does not contain nickel,
although you still have to ask
Some greatest silver items contain nickel mix with the silver, although it seems to be pretty rare above .925. To be certain, though, it ‘s best to look for makers of sterling silver who certify that their items contain no nickel. James Avery, for model, certifies their silver as nickel-free .
AVOID German silver or alpaca or nickel silver
These terms refer to the silver semblance of the item, not to actual silver. These items actually do contain nickel ! DO NOT choose these items.
Can I wear gold jewelry?
18 karat gold and above is usually fine
Does white gold have nickel?
Some white gold does contain nickel
While 18 karat gold and above is normally ticket, the exception is white gold. In order to make white gold, yellow aureate is normally interracial with either palladium or nickel. Unless you know for indisputable that your white gold is free of nickel, do n’t choose it.
even titanium and gold jewelry may contain nickel. Be specially careful with white amber, and check with your jeweler : while some use palladium to create the egg white color, others use nickel.
Titanium objects may or may not be OK
Can you rely on titanium objects ? not inevitably. titanium is much mix with nickel. Some jewelry manufacturers will specify that their titanium items are fee of nickel, sol brand indisputable you look for that information before buy. One exercise is titanium jewelry sold by www.BlomdahlUSA.com.
Where can I find certified nickel-free jewelry?
Certain manufacturers will certify their precious metal jewelry as being nickel-free
Although there ‘s no standard in the United States that defines the term “ nickel-free ”, certain companies have informed us that they do not use nickel in their jewelry. You can check with these companies to confirm.
The Bottom Line
The pace of nickel allergy in the United States continues to remain high, and the american Academy of Dermatology is urge regulations to limit the amount of nickel used in personal items.
Until that happens, remember that a big hazard component for nickel allergy is piercing. If you or your child are getting pierced, use nickel-free earrings or body jewelry, and decidedly do n’t use any nickel-containing jewelry until your clamber is completely healed over.
Dr. Rajani Katta is the generator of glow : The Dermatologist ‘s Guide to a Whole Foods Younger Skin Diet. To rec eive future updates on preventive dermatology and the function of diet, sign up here .
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Category : Fashion