Jewelry reactions to skin contact may be due to different reasons, and we often have new customers who visit and tell us how their prior jewelry allergies may have limited their choices. In the following article, we will work to help you understand why this happens.
The most common metal that causes problems is nickel. Nickel is an alloy in white gold and does cause problems with many people. Germany for example does not allow nickel to be alloyed in any of their white gold jewelry. They use palladium instead. White gold is an alloy of gold, nickel, silver, and zinc. Typically people are allergic to the nickel in white gold and rarely are they allergic to the gold, silver, or zinc. The higher the karat the piece, the less likely an allergic reaction. For example, a 10k gold is 41% gold and 59% other metals, however 18k gold is 75% gold and 25% other metals. By increasing the gold content, it decreases the likelihood of an allergic reaction to nickel.
The second main reaction that we see is contact dermatitis. This commonly happens with a ring on your finger and a rash develops where the ring is in contact. The rash may be a result of your own body’s inability to dissipate moisture. A ring on a finger retains moisture when you wash your hands. One way to try an avoid this is to fully dry your hands and take your rings off at night. If you do see a rash forming try and avoid wearing a ring on that finger for a week or so and give it time to fully go away. Another way to prevent a rash forming is to have your rings thoroughly cleaned (Jonathan’s Jewelers offers this service for no charge at any time).
If you’re suffering from either of these issues, a trip to the jeweler might be more effective than a trip to the dermatologist! (Plus, there’s no copay for an office visit). Come see us and we will help you understand how to mitigate these allergies.