Rashes are irritated patches of skin. They can be large or small, itchy or painful, blistered or scaly. Any number of conditions can trigger a rash, and one of the most common is contact dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis breakouts happen when your skin touches a chemical or other substance that you’re allergic to. Your immune system reacts negatively to the substance, causing inflammation and discomfort in the form of a skin rash. Common chemical sensitivities include perfumes, preservatives, dyes, and metals in jewelry.
If you’ve noticed itchy rashes around some of your favorite pieces of jewelry, you might be allergic to the metals they contain. As providers trained in allergy and environmental medicine in Scottsdale, Arizona, our team at Allergy & Environmental Treatment Center, LLC, can help you find answers.
Most jewelry, whether it’s costume jewelry or fine jewelry, is made with metal alloys. Alloys are mixtures of different metals and nonmetal components.
Because you wear jewelry close to your skin, it can cause a rash to break out if you have a metal allergy. Your immune system triggers a reaction that makes your skin itchy, painful, blistered, dry, or discolored. The rash surrounds the area where the jewelry is or was, but it typically doesn’t spread to elsewhere on your body.
The symptoms of a jewelry rash usually appear within 48 hours after you wear a piece, but jewelry allergies can develop anytime. In fact, you could get a jewelry allergy suddenly, even after wearing the same piece of jewelry for years without any problems.
It’s possible to develop an allergy to any metal, and some metals are more problematic than others. Nickel is the most common metal allergy, and up to 18% of Americans have nickel allergies. Other common metal allergies we see are cobalt and chromium.
Unfortunately, once you develop a metal allergy, your skin will always react negatively to it. Because costume and fashion jewelry is quite affordable, these pieces often contain nickel and other irritating metals — and are more likely to cause jewelry rashes.
If you notice a rash break out after wearing certain pieces of jewelry, check your other belongings for metal, too. Any metal items that touch your skin frequently, like belt buckles, eyeglasses, and zippers, can also cause contact dermatitis rashes.
You should never ignore a rash. If you notice a rash developing around your jewelry, stop wearing the piece and schedule an appointment at Allergy & Environmental Treatment Center, LLC.
Our team looks at your skin and asks about your symptoms. If we suspect a jewelry allergy, we can confirm your diagnosis with allergy testing. We work with you to create a treatment plan once we know what’s causing your rash.
The best way to treat a metal allergy is avoiding contact with the metal. Moisturizing your skin can relieve mild rashes, and we may prescribe a topical cream to heal existing rashes. If you have a severe nickel allergy, we may also recommend avoiding foods that contain nickel, like soy products, cocoa powder, and cashews.
Having a nickel allergy or other metal allergy doesn’t mean you have to stop wearing jewelry. Consider switching to nickel-free hypoallergenic jewelry or nonmetal accessories. Metals like titanium, 24 karat gold, and platinum have some of the lowest risks of contact dermatitis.
Call us at 480-634-2985 or book an appointment online to find out what’s causing your jewelry allergy and start soothing your skin.