How To Choose Jewelry For Sensitive Skin

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Is Your Jewelry Harming Your Skin?

Any type of sensitivity to jewelry including extreme cases of dermatitis, eczema, or a developed allergy can occur during a person’s life even if you have never experienced any type of allergic reaction. When it comes to jewelry, nickel allergies can be fairly common and you can tell whether or not you have a nickel allergy if you skin develops a rash where you wear jewelry. Even if it is a piece of jewelry that you have worn before, your skin may still become irritated by it if it contains nickel or copper.

Any form of skin irritation can be developed as a:

  • Rash
  • Swelled skin
  • Blisters (acute dermatitis)
  • Pigmented area of skin (chronic dermatitis)

Due to handling the jewelry, you may find sounds of dermatitis on your hands besides where you wear your jewelry.

Testing for Sensitive Skin

To know for sure if you are sensitive and allergic to different types of metals used in jewelry, visit a dermatologist for a skin test. A very common test for skin allergies and dermatitis is the patch test. Several different extracts that can be the cause of dermatitis is applied to the skin as a patch that is left there for 48 hours. After the time is up, a doctor observes and determines the effect of the patch on the skin.

Another solution and if you’re not entirely sure how a piece of jewelry will affect your skin is to wear it continuously for several days. You can also look for a home test kit to avoid a trip to the doctor if you have little time and feel more comfortable doing it at home.

Solutions for a Nickel Allergy

If you find that you are allergic to jewelry with nickel, there are a couple of different steps you can take when choosing jewelry for sensitive skin. In place of nickel, select necklace chains, bracelets, and earrings that are made of these metals:

  • Tungsten-can either be allowed with or without nickel and is common for men’s jewelry
  • Karat Yellow Gold (12k, 18k, 24k)-especially plated jewelry
  • Fine Silver
  • Sterling Silver
  • Copper (though it can irritate skin, some are not affected by it)
  • Platinum-a pure metal that can be alloyed with iridium
  • Titanium-lightweight and very comfortable to wear

Another solution if you have a piece of jewelry that you cannot bear to give up is to have it plated with something other than nickel such as rhodium, which is a type of platinum. If your ears are irritated, purchase plastic covers for earring studs are a quick and easy solution. You can also change the band or chain from metal to leather, cloth, or plastic for bracelets/watches and necklaces.

sterling earrings

Prevent Skin Irritation from Copper Jewelry

When some metals such as copper become oxidized, they turn green and can cause your skin to become the same shade as well. Especially if the copper is mixed with your sweat and oxygen, the copper oxidizes much faster. You can prevent your skin turning different colors by continuously washing your jewelry or using a cloth to wipe it down. You can also reseal the coating by spraying it with clear sealer and applying clear nail polish or wax.

The Best Jewelry for Sensitive Skin

As previously noted, the best jewelry for sensitive skin are those that do not contain nickel or copper but made up of other metals such as gold, silver, and steel. Overall you cannot go wrong with any form of jewelry that is hypoallergenic which means that it is purposely made with fewer materials that can trigger allergy symptoms. However, some jewelry is sold without this label so you might have a better chance of selecting the right jewelry for yourself if it is listed with the metals that contain little to no copper. This way you know for sure that your jewelry has been made with the best materials that won’t harm your skin.

You can try coating your jewelry or you may have to make the decision to replace something altogether with another solution such as the chain of a necklace or wires from long earrings. If you have very sensitive skin, you may want to opt for jewelry that uses no metal at all such as beaded necklaces or bracelets or other skin friendly materials such as leather or woven/crocheted fabric.

Ear Piercings

Even before you buy the right jewelry for your ears, you need to take precaution when you get your ears pierced as well. Take time to find the right studio that has been recommended by health inspectors and uses sterile and nickel free stainless steel needles from sealed packages that are thrown away after single use instead of a piercing gun. The jewelry used for the piercing should be nickel-free as well to ensure no bacterial infections.

The perfect set of jewelry to wear should not only be beautiful, but comfortable as well. If you find that your jewelry is causing your skin to be irritated, consider doing the following as soon as possible:

  • Replace parts of the jewelry such as the chain
  • Replace the piece of jewelry with something new
  • Coat the jewelry with a solution to avoid further irritation

To know for sure if your jewelry is the source of your irritated skin, you can purchase a home test kit, but to be 100% sure, consider making an appointment with a dermatologist today. Now you know the signs and your options to ensure that when it comes to dressing up and accessorizing your look, you know what jewelry is best for you.