Most women and some men love wearing earrings, necklaces, and rings. However, not everyone is lucky enough to wear jewelry and have no side effect. If you are one of the many who get a rash or your skin gets itchy while wearing jewelry, you might be allergic to nickel.
People think that they have a gold allergy because they got it from wearing jewelry made from gold. However, the truth is that gold allergy is extremely rare and most people are allergic to the nickel that is mixed with gold.
Nickel allergy is a very common skin allergy due to the fact that nickel is used in a lot of objects like belt buckles, coins, eyeglass frames, jewelry, keys, mobile phones, and zippers. The symptoms of the allergy start appearing after 12-48 hours of being in contact with a material containing nickel.
A person suffering from nickel allergy would notice that they have a rash, the skin starts itching, redness and dry patches appear on the skin and the skin begins swelling. A rash usually occurs on the part of the skin that has been in direct contact with the nickel material. Sometimes, in serious cases, the rash starts to spread on the body too. Sweating has also been known to make the skin allergy worse.
What exactly happens with a nickel allergy is that the human body, instead of viewing nickel as a harmless material, starts viewing it as a harmful substance. This causes the immune system to react in a way as if it were protecting the body against a virus or bacteria.
The problem with allergies is that once the immune system has identified a substance as an allergen, it would always react like that to it. This means that whenever you have the misfortune of coming in contact with nickel, you would have rashes, itching and all other symptoms related to nickel allergy.
Although no proper cause has been identified as of yet, it has been observed that those who remain in contact with the metal seem to have more probability of developing the allergy.
Most of the people who have the allergy are women due to the fact that they wear jewelry more often. However, this does not mean that men can’t have this allergy. People who work at firms that use nickel as a raw material are also at risk of getting these symptoms.
If you have had nickel allergy in your family, you are more likely to have it too or develop the allergy in the future.
Following is a list of things that have a high content of nickel in it and should be avoided if you have this problem.
- Jewelry that is usually used for body piercing
- Necklaces, bracelets, and rings
- Tablets and laptops
- Zippers, bra hooks, belt buckles and snaps
- Medical tools and devices
- Cell phones
- Eyeglass frames
Once you have developed nickel allergy, you are in it for life. However, the good news is that the symptoms can be relieved.
The most sensible thing to do is to stay as far away as possible from anything that might have nickel in it. This would protect a person from any reaction to the skin.
If you have mild symptoms, the best option for you would be to use either a hydrocortisone cream or antihistamine pills. These medicines are available at any local drugstore near your house.
If the symptoms are severe, it would be advised to use a steroid cream that doctors usually prescribe. Doctors also prescribe medicines that work on your own immune system. If your symptoms are even more severe, you would have to take steroids that are available as antihistamine pills.
If you find that the skin is becoming blistered or cracked, take the metal jewelry off immediately and go to the doctor who would treat you so that you can avoid getting any infection.
People who are more susceptible to the allergy should try to avoid sweating as much as possible especially while wearing metal jewelry so as to avoid rashes and itching on the skin.
Barrier creams such as Nidiesque have been found to be very effective in the prevention of the symptoms of nickel allergy.
How to Avoid
Following are some ways through which you should avoid:
- Since eyeglass frames are one of the sources of nickel allergy, try to find frames that are made from either plastic or titanium.
- If you like wearing gold jewelry, try buying ones which have higher karat. Hence, instead of buying a 10-karat necklace, go for a 14- or 18-karat one. You can also buy stainless steel jewelry. Avoid white gold at all costs because it has a very high probability of having nickel in it.
- If you like getting tattoos or want to get any of your body parts pierced such as ears, get it done with a sterilized instrument which is made of stainless steel and is surgical grade. Avoid piercing guns as much as possible since it has nickel in it and can also cause bacterial infection.
- Buy the clothing items that have buttons, fasteners, rivets, and snaps that are made of plastic or are plastic coated.
- Watchbands should be made of leather, plastic or cloth.
- You love your wedding band but are allergic to it? Just go to the jeweler and ask them to plate it with a metal like platinum. This would let you wear the wedding ring without causing any symptoms.
- In case of extreme sensitivity to nickel, it would be better for you to avoid chocolate, mixed nuts and any other food item that is rich in nickel.