Approximately 10% of the United States population are allergic to jewelry made of nickel. An allergic reaction to jewelry can take different forms and the symptoms can be related to other health issues. This makes it difficult to know if you have a jewelry allergy.
In this article, we discuss common symptoms of allergies such as a rash from a necklace or irritation from a bracelet. We also discuss alternatives such as allergy-free jewelry. Continue reading to find out if you have this allergy and what to do about it.
Signs You May Be Allergic to Jewelry
In order to determine if you are allergic to jewelry, you need to understand the symptoms of a jewelry allergy. Some reactions to jewelry may not indicate an allergy, especially if it only occurs once or twice.
However, if you’re experiencing any of the below symptoms regularly, especially with certain types of jewelry, you may be allergic to jewelry. This may also be the case if the symptoms fade after removing it.
One of the most common signs of an allergic reaction to jewelry is skin irritation. Skin irritation can manifest as redness and/or itchiness where the jewelry touches your skin.
Tenderness can also signify a jewelry allergy. Tenderness can feel like the sensation of pins-and-needles or painful tingles when the skin is touched.
However, there are other reasons why your skin becomes tender to the touch. A jewelry allergy is likely if the tenderness accompanies other symptoms or if it resolves when the jewelry is removed. Otherwise, you should see a doctor.
A rash from a necklace or other piece of jewelry might be an indication of sensitivity to the type of metal it’s made of. It might also happen if the jewelry rubs against the skin in an uncomfortable way. The resulting irritation can lead to rashes.
Ongoing skin irritation or rashes can become warm-to-the-touch. This can be your body’s way of protecting itself from an allergen or potential infection.
Your body recognizes that something is wrong and tries to send blood to the area to promote healing. This kind of response can be an allergic reaction to the jewelry.
Skin Bumps or Blisters
The formation of bumps or blisters where the jewelry rubs against your skin is a common sign that you’re allergic to jewelry. Your body releases histamines after exposure to the allergy which causes this reaction.
Dry Patches of Skin
Dry patches of skin where your jewelry sits (such as on your neck from a necklace or on your wrist from a watch) might be a sign of an allergic reaction. However, this can also be a symptom of another skin condition.
How to Treat an Allergic Reaction to Jewelry
If you’re experiencing an allergic reaction to jewelry, you should act immediately to minimize the symptoms. If you don’t tend to the reaction, it will only worsen and become more uncomfortable.
When your skin first starts to become irritated, you should remove the jewelry immediately. If you think the irritation or reaction is due to the position of the jewelry, you can try adjusting it first.
You can’t wash away an allergic reaction. However, it’s not a bad idea to use soap and warm water to clean your skin. This gets your skin clean of any dirt or debris before moving on to the next step.
For mild reactions, you can try over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams or antihistamine tablets. If the reaction is serious, you should seek out the help of a medical professional such as a dermatologist.
How to Avoid Allergic Reaction to Jewelry
If you think you might be allergic to fake jewelry or low-quality jewelry, you should decide how best to avoid an allergic reaction to the jewelry. The easiest method is to give up wearing jewelry altogether or give up the type of jewelry that causes the reaction.
However, many people love wearing jewelry and would hate to give up the accessory. There are a few things you can do to prevent a rash from a necklace or other pieces.
Create a Protective Barrier
Placing a barrier between your skin and the jewelry prevents them from coming in contact with each other. Some people suggest using clear nail polish or a similar substance to coat the jewelry.
This helps prevent having to change the appearance of the jewelry and how you wear it. Otherwise, you can wear it on the outside of your clothes. For example, put your bracelet on the outside of your sleeve and wear a turtleneck below your necklace.
Invest in Quality Jewelry
Consider whether you’re allergic to fake jewelry such as low-quality metals or costume jewelry. Nickle, a common metal used in fake jewelry, is often a source of jewelry allergies.
To avoid an allergic reaction to jewelry made of low-quality metals, consider investing in high-quality pieces instead. For example, jewelry made of gold or platinum may prevent these reactions.
Stick With Allergy-Free Jewelry
Allergy-free jewelry is a great option for those with sensitivities. Allergy-free jewelry means it’s hypoallergenic and doesn’t cause allergic reactions. In many cases, this jewelry is made of platinum since platinum allergies are uncommon.
Body Pierce Jewelry offers a line of nickel-free kids jewelry. These are perfect for preventing allergic reactions to jewelry since they’re made of sterling silver.
Work With a Medical Professional
When all else fails, consider working with a medical professional to determine what works best for you. A dermatologist has the knowledge and experience necessary to make an action plan with you.
Find Out If You’re Allergic to Jewelry
Use the above list to find out if you’re allergic to jewelry and how to avoid these allergic reactions. Mild symptoms are easy to take care of if you act quickly, but you may need the help of a medical professional for a severe allergic reaction to jewelry.
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