Blond woman wearing ring on finger having rash on neck

Allergic To Jewelry

There is a rare human indeed who does not appreciate and long for beautiful jewelry! Gold and silver are the preferred metals that enjoy popularity among all irrespective of age, region, or race.  Gold and silver are the precious metals treasured the world over for centuries. The properties of ductility and malleability possessed by these metals to a high degree enable jewelry to be fashioned in many forms and designs.

Actually, the allergy comes not from the gold or silver of the jewelry as the making process involves combining other metals like nickel, copper, or zinc.  The allergy is usually due to the nickel content to which the skin is allergic.

What is Nickel Dermatitis?

Many people are allergic to jewelry. They suffer from rashes and inflammations on wearing jewelry. The Nickel present in the jewelry worn is the allergen. This condition is known as Nickel Dermatitis. The allergy is a contact allergy and people are susceptible to it as per their tolerance levels.


Symptoms of allergy to jewelry:

The skin is affected around the areas that jewelry is worn. The allergy may manifest itself as:

  1. Rashes or discoloration of the skin at the points of contact with jewelry
  2. Pus discharge from pierced ear, nose, navel, or any part where the body has been pierced to wear jewelry
  3. Itching or burning sensation in contact area e.g. neck, wrist, earlobe
  4. Clot on the finger where the ring is worn

How does allergy occur?

Nickel allergy is an adverse reaction of the body to the Nickel present in the jewelry.

When jewelry is worn on the skin. Nickel passes into the bloodstream and comes into contact with cells which react adversely. This reaction of the body causes the skin to erupt in violent rashes.

Sweat, traces of bathwater, and soap trapped between the piece of jewelry and skin may cause the skin to break and facilitate entry of nickel into the bloodstream.

This causes a foul odor and skin rashes.

How to prevent allergy:

  1. Wear jewelry on clean, dry skin. Jewelry should be worn after talc has been dusted on his skin.
  2. Jewelry should be loose enough to allow the circulation of air.
  3. An application of clear nail polish to the surface of the jewelry does not allow nickel to come into contact with the skin and prevents allergy. This is a short-term solution.
  4. People who are allergic to jewelry should get their jewelry lacquered or plated with palladium.
  5. Stainless steel items of jewelry are available which help in avoiding skin allergies.


  • It is always better to consult a dermatologist to confirm the cause of the allergy. There is a test for determining nickel allergy called “dimethylgloxime spot test”. The treatment will be based on the result.

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