Jewelry is not just a fashion accessory; it represents a powerful form of self-expression. Whether we are talking about fine and elegant bracelets, large and extravagant necklaces that truly make a statement, handmade rings or earth-friendly adornment, jewelry never discriminates. It gives prominence to your best features, it completes and personalizes your outfits, it is versatile, which makes it suitable for every occasion, night or day and it creates a focal point due to its shiny effect. For some women, not wearing jewelry is like not placing flowers on the dining table or not frosting the cake after baking it, but what happens if you cannot add this beautiful finishing touch to your outfits? Even though you do not have to be a certain size, shape or color to wear jewelry because it fits everyone, some people do experience allergies when coming in contact with such decorative pieces. You probably wonder: if wearing such pieces gives me a rash, do I have to look away when I pass by the jewelry section?
Jewelry containing nickel can cause acute or chronic dermatitis
The answer is definitely “no”. Most people have the impression that silver or gold jewelry causes them skin irritation, but the reality is that their body reacts negatively to nickel, which represents a common element used by manufacturers to make the piece lighter and more durable. Therefore, if you purchase cheap jewelry containing this livery-white lustrous metal with a golden tint, either bracelets, earrings, necklaces or rings, you will most likely notice redness, itchiness and even blisters around the wrist and the neck, on the earlobes and fingers, which is known as acute dermatitis. Chronic dermatitis, on the other hand, causes thickened, pigmented and dry skin. You do not have to be necessarily allergic to jewelry in order to get a rash in a specific area. People with sensitive skin can experience irritant reactions provoked by dirt on the metal or friction, not to mention that a tight watch strap or bangle can lead to a minor injury in the area, whether the skin is sensitive or not.
That greenish stain appears due to the oxidation process of jewelry
A mild reaction to jewelry that most people associate with allergy or skin sensitivity refers to a greenish stain that makes its appearance after wearing different decorative elements. Nevertheless, according to specialists, the explanation is more than simple and it does not involve allergic reactions or sensitive skin; the area turns green because of the oxidation process of jewelry pieces containing certain cheap materials, other than gold. The biggest problem is that some people make the mistake of wearing these harmful pieces in places that are not adequate, such as the gym where they sweat and aggravate the situation without even realizing it. In fact, fine jewelry elements do not lead to discoloring so people should consider investing more in such harmless pieces. Apart from nickel, other common metals that people with sensitive skins should avoid involve stainless steel and brass, copper and rose gold but also plated metals. The symptoms usually appear 12 to 48 hours after wearing the eye-catching yet problematic piece of jewelry.
Learn how to identify pieces of jewelry containing traces of nickel
Keeping in mind all the details above, you probably wonder: how do I find out if my pieces of jewelry contain nickel? Well, unless you are a professional, you will never tell the composition of each ring, bracelet, earring or necklace you own just by looking at it. When it comes to silver jewelry, you might have three types of pieces in your collection, namely silver-plated, sterling silver and pure silver. It might seem more than obvious, but the chances of finding traces of nickel or other metals in the first two are higher in comparison to the last type, which includes 99.9% silver. In what concerns gold jewelry, you should know the value of each piece, measured in carats, of course. If you never leave the house without accessorizing, you probably own everything from 9 carat, which contains approximately 38% gold to 24 carat, which is pure gold. If you are allergic to metals, particularly nickel, the only question remaining is what type of metals did manufacture use in the composition of your gold jewelry? Since nickel is the main option for manufacturers because it helps them strengthen and whiten the piece, your white gold is undoubtedly alloyed with nickel while yellow gold may contain silver and copper.
You do not have to stop wearing your precious jewelry
A safer option is to ask your pharmacist or dermatologist for a nickel-testing kit in order to determine which pieces in your jewelry collection contain that harmful material.Fortunately, even if you discover that most of your precious elements could cause you skin irritation, you do not have to throw them away because with a few clever tricks, you can use them again. For instance, did you know that if you apply clear nail polish on those specific pieces of jewelry, it will prevent them from coming in contact with your skin, thus avoiding potential rashes or other side-effects? In fact, your dermatologist can give you useful pieces of advice on how to protect your skin when wearing jewelry containing traces of nickel. If some of your pieces have emotional value, you can go to the jeweler and see if he can apply another coat of “good metal” to the surface.
Pay closer attention when purchasing jewelry in the future
After acquiring all these pieces of information regarding exposure to metal-containing jewelry, when you go shopping next time and you explore the jewelry section, you know exactly what to invest in and what to avoid. Shortly, you have to avoid nickel at all costs and be cautious with body jewelry and leather jewelry. Piercings, for instance, can lead even to more serious consequences like a severe infection because they practically become a part of your body and leather armbands can provoke skin irritation, especially during the summer season. Instead, you should direct your attention towards palladium alloys, which are hypo-allergenic and fine jewelry, such as pure gold or at least 14 carats.
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