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Jewelry Allergy Overview

It was historically predetermined that people came to think they look stylish, fashionable, and more beautiful if they wear the best, the most beautiful jewelry (and often the largest number of jewelry pieces) and all the fashionable stuff. On the contrary, these days, the one who does not wear anything stylish, glamorous, generally speaking glittering, should be perceived as the unique and the coolest person. 

Nonetheless, the vast majority of us not only deny such point of view, the mass actually does not even know such opinion may exist. Only a few do not wear jewelry due to their convictions. Far larger number of people cannot wear it due to the allergy caused by jewelry.

In fact, jewelry allergy is quite a common condition, which targets women more frequently than men (perhaps, because women are the ones to wear earrings, chains, and rings more often). The allergic reaction, resulting from wearing jewelry, is scientifically called contact dermatitis. In case with jewelry, it is most often caused by nickel component present, practically, in all the types of jewelry, including silver and gold ones. Thus, this condition is also called nickel allergy.

The matter is that nickel is a strong allergen, but it is used in jewelry for the hardening of the main metal (gold or silver). Costume jewelry is also made with nickel compound, so it is harmful for allergic people as well.

Allergy symptoms develop when the described metal enters the blood stream through the pierced ear or nose. Sweating also triggers jewelry allergy as sweat dissolves nickel and forms its salts, which react with skin, causing allergic reactions. Water after a shower, detergents, and soaps left under the jewelry also trigger or aggravate the condition.  

The most common signs of jewelry allergy are swelling, itching, and burning sensation on or around the area where jewelry comes in contact with skin. Ring may leave a blue track after it is removed, or skin discoloration may be observed. Earrings may cause bleeding or leaking of the yellow pus from the pierced spot. The development of the rash and red itchy patches under the jewelry is also often observed in sensitive people.

It is possible to cope with jewelry allergy by covering rings, earrings, etc. with several layers of transparent nail polish where contact with skin takes place. It is also helpful to apply talcum powder onto the skin before wearing jewelry.

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One more way of preventing allergy is to avoid nickel-containing jewelry. Zinc and copper are also used to make such soft metals as gold and silver hard – such jewelry will cause no trouble in sensitive people. Moreover, platinum and white gold are said not to provoke allergy outbreaks, since they are hardened by palladium, which is not an allergen. Another option is titanium – durable, quite beautiful, and safe metal.

Sterling silver and stainless steel have also the reputation of safe metals. Although stainless steel contains nickel, it is more tightly bound there and it comes less in the direct contact with skin.  

Finally, it is possible to find jewelry made especially for allergic people, or you may start thinking jewelry has nothing to do with beauty, style, and fashion, and stop using it altogether – it is not the worst idea: you will be unique and allergy-free after all!


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