Nickel allergies

Have you ever had a skin reaction to your jewelry?  Maybe you break out in a rash or your skin starts to burn, no matter how you cut it, metal allergies aren no fun! So, what's causing all that irritation and what can be done to help?

Likely, you're having an allergic reaction to the Nickel that's present.  It's one of the most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis.  Symptoms can include, redness or changes in skin color, Itching, dry patches of skin, a rash or bumps.  (i'll spare you the pics here.)  These symptoms typically occur in the location where your skin came into contact with the metal and can happen as quickly as 15 minutes or up to 48 hours.  

 If you know that you have a metal sensitivity be wary.  Items such as  jewelry, watchbands, eyeglass frames, keys, and belt buckles could all affect you.  In some cases gold alloys such as 14 and 18K may even contain nickel so, pay attention and ask questions!  Chances are, that cheap stuff that you buy at the mall will contain Nickel.  If you work with a local jeweler you can make it known that you need a little extra love.

So, you know that you have an allergy, does that mean that you can only wear platinum and 22k gold?  Well… It depends on the severity of your allergy.  There's a few things that you can try before you head out to your local jeweler to have everything plated in platinum.  

For starters, try a little clear nail polish.   Though temporary, It's inexpensive and it's easy. Just coat the areas of metal which will come into contact with your skin.  That might include Insides of rings, bracelets, even posts of earrings.  The downside of this is that you'll likely not know that it's worn off until you have a reaction.

If the polish fails, you may want to consider plating. Platinum and gold may both be options and, It may not be as expensive as you might think.  Try thinking of it this way, If it helps you enjoy the jewelry that you'll love for a lifetime, it's probably worth the investment!