How to Know if Your Jewelry is Affecting Your Skin
Have a hunch that your jewelry might be affecting your skin? It’s possible you’ve developed allergies from the material on your favorite accessories. To know for sure, we reached out to an expert. Keep reading for tips on how to determine if your jewelry is affecting your skin!
Are you experiencing rash-like symptoms in areas of skin that have touched your jewelry? If the answer is yes, you might be sensitive to certain metals. But don’t fret—there are ways to help determine if your jewelry is actually to blame for your negative skin reaction. We tapped medical esthetician, and Skincare.com consultant, Jamie Steros, to better understand how some jewelry can affect the skin.
CAN YOUR JEWELRY IRRITATE YOUR SKIN?
As it turns out, your jewelry can cause an allergic reaction and irritate your skin. “When jewelry causes a rash, the skin may break out into hives or become swollen or itchy,” Steros says. Unfortunately, nobody is immune to a jewelry-induced rash, either. “Anyone can be allergic to jewelry, it just depends on what type of metal your skin is reactive to,” Steros explains. “I find most often that some inexpensive jewelry is plated and it acts as a coating to protect the nickel that is underneath. Over time that wears away and the nickel is then directly on the skin’s surface which can cause irritation.”
HOW CAN YOU KNOW IF JEWELRY IS THE CULPRIT?
Don’t go blaming all of your favorite jeweled accessories just yet. There is a chance that your jewelry isn’t the problem. But if it is, it’s usually easy to tell. For instance, if you’re seeing a reaction form on your chest directly underneath where your necklace was sitting, it’s probably safe to assume your necklace is the culprit. The same goes for the skin on your ears. If the area behind your ears shows signs of irritation after trying on a new pair of earrings, they could be to blame. “Most often some people are sensitive to the metals that are in the jewelry,” Steros says. “In most cases the area in which the jewelry has direct contact will become warm, swollen and very itchy.”
IS THERE A TYPE OF JEWELRY THAT’S BETTER SUITED FOR SENSITIVE SKIN?
Don’t want to part ways with your jewelry? You don’t have to! There are easy solutions that can allow you to accessorize without the discomfort. “The best jewelry to look for is hypoallergenic [jewelry],” Steros says. “When classified this way it has no potential irritating alloys or components. Hypoallergenic jewelry is usually a combination of metals such as gold, stainless steel, and/or titanium.” You can also opt for 8-, 22-, or 24-karat yellow gold, pure sterling silver, or platinum.
OUR TIPS FOR REDUCING SKIN REACTIONS
We’ve been pointing the finger at jewelry, but the truth of the matter that it’s not just your accessories that can cause those rashes. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), simple items like the backings on your earrings, belt buckles, and zippers can also trigger rash-like symptoms. Here’s a guide to live by if you’re experiencing signs of irritation after exposure to nickel:
Double-check what you’re wearing: As mentioned above, the smallest details can cause an unwanted skin reaction. Most of the time belt buckles, bra hooks, and metal buttons contain nickel, so it would be in your best interest to replace them with ones that are coated with plastic.
Be mindful of your electronics: Do you experience rash symptoms on the side of your face, typically where your cell phone rests while you make a call? This likely has to do with the unfortunate fact that nickel is found in electronics, such as phones, laptops, and tablets. Try placing protective covers to serve as a barrier.
Get rid of household products containing nickel: Switch them out for objects made of other materials, such as brass keys, stainless steel razors, or plastic eyeglass frames.
Editor’s note: Don’t be alarmed if you are experiencing signs of jewelry-related rash symptoms. According to the AAD, rashes caused from a nickel allergy are not life-threatening. If your allergic reaction comes and goes, or becomes infected, pay a visit to your dermatologist for help.