Metal allergies are a common issue for men, women, and children alike. Recently, there has been an increase in online searches for "common metal allergies." The recent spike could be due to a multitude of factors, including an increase in hand sanitizer use, and a return to wearing more jewerly after COVID-19.
Who Is Affected by Metal Allergies?
On average, 17% of women and 3% of men experience some sort of allergic reaction to the metals in their jewelry. The most popular metal allergy is nickel, which is part of the white gold alloy. Therefore, rings that have lost their rhodium plating due to wear or chemical exposure can potentially result in an allergic reaction.
Women are more likely to wear multiple different necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings on a day-to-day basis. The average woman is also more likely to be using jewelry in general, more than men. There seems to be no other demographics that determine the severity of a metal allergy. Age, ethnicity, and other factors seem to have little influence on the seriousness of the issue.
Two factors that are known to cause metal allergies include medications, and body/sweat chemistry. If you experience a metal allergy, we encourage you to contact your doctor. Then, call us or book an appointment to modify your jewelry for a more comfortable setting.
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Most Common Metal Allergies with Jewelry
Nickel, a common lower-grade metal found in some jewelry, is responsible for the majority of allergic reactions. When left in contact with the skin, nickel can cause an uncomfortable, itchy, rash underneath the jewelry.
While relatively non-threatening, the reaction can be a burden for many who experience it. Remedies for a nickel allergy include daily moisturizing and calamine lotion, which can ease the itching associated with it.
Gold. Another, rather surprising, aspect of metal allergies is the allergic reaction associated with gold. Almost all jewelry is associated with being gold, whether it be plated, filled, or coated. Common reactions to gold include a common rash, swelling, and itching.
Although very similar to a nickel allergy reaction, the remedy for a gold allergy is an over the counter corticosteroid cream. Although rare, the allergic reaction associated with gold is an inconvenience to those who enjoy wearing gold jewelry.
Cobalt. Although less common than nickel or gold allergies, cobalt is associated with a red, scaly rash when it is present. A cobalt allergy is less likely to be associated with jewelry wear, but is still a common allergen that is disruptive to the skin when in contact.
Remedies for this type of rash is a dermatitis cream or topical corticosteroids. Relief should be seen within 1-3 days.
Metal Allergy Safe Jewelry
If you experience a common metal allergy such as nickel or gold, purchasing platinum jewelry instead may be the answer you’re looking for. Although more dense and valuable, platinum jewelry is less likely to incur an allergic reaction.
Do you have questions about your jewelry, and whether or not it is causing an allergic reaction? Come on in to Jae's Jewelers in Coral Gables, Florida for a consultation with one of our fine jewelry consultants. We look forward to helping you!