Skincare Reactions to Jewelry: Skin Care Solutions to Prevent Irritation

Share Article finds that for some people, jewelry can cause unpleasant skin problems like allergies or irritation. Find out how to manage these reactions.

Reactions to jewelry are a form of allergic contact dermatitis.'s latest article, "When Jewelry Causes Skin Problems," investigates the many symptoms that may be noticed when this condition occurs. Skin may become itchy, dry and irritated. It may turn red, flaky or scaly. Worse, people may even develop a rash, blisters or sores. Knowing the warning signs and why this condition occurs can prevent reactions from happening and help those with sensitivities choose the right kinds of jewelry.

Jewelry can cause skin problems for many different reasons, including the metals found in the jewelry, tarnishing, perspiration, product build-up and medication. Most jewelry contains metals like nickel or copper to help add strength. Gold and silver are soft metals, so nickel and copper are added to make the jewelry stronger and more durable. But added metals are often the culprits behind allergic reactions and skin irritation.

Jewelry -- especially sterling silver -- will tarnish because of a reaction with environmental hydrogen sulfide gas. As a result, the jewelry becomes discolored (usually black). Not surprisingly, when people wear the discolored piece, the skin becomes discolored too. Perspiration can also cause skin allergies. Salt found in sweat interacts with the metal found in jewelry, which can cause a reaction between the jewelry and the skin, triggering an allergic reaction. In fact, when a person isn't perspiring (so, the sweat-and-metal interaction doesn't exist), he or she can wear that same jewelry without having an allergic reaction.

Avoid and Manage Irritation
Over-the-counter topical treatments like hydrocortisone cream can relieve itchiness and inflammation. For a stronger prescription treatment, consult with a dermatologist.

Use a dusting of powder on skin before putting on jewelry. Powder will absorb moisture and perspiration, reducing the chances for skin irritation or allergic reactions.

Put a coat of clear nail polish on the parts of the jewelry that will come in contact with the skin. Using clear polish provides a protective barrier and prevents the metals in jewelry from irritating the skin.

When it comes to gold jewelry, consider buying a higher karat. For example, if 10 karat gold irritates the skin, try 14 or 18 karat gold. Gold jewelry with a lower karat value contains greater amounts of other metals, like nickel or copper, which can irritate skin. Conversely, gold jewelry with a higher karat contains smaller amounts of other metals and has a higher percentage of gold, making it less likely to cause irritation.

When buying jewelry, look for pieces that are nickel-free or hypoallergenic. Jewelry made from other metals like surgical stainless steel or titanium is a good option for people with skin sensitivities and allergies.

Make sure all jewelry is clean. Dirt, bacteria, oil or tarnish that builds up on jewelry can affect the skin. To clean jewelry, use warm water, gentle soap and a toothbrush. Rinse and pat dry with a soft clean cloth. Alternatively, purchase a special jewelry cleaner. covers all skincare and beauty topics from head to toe. Check out these latest articles:

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About -- "Your Source for Intelligent Skin Care" is the online source for consumers seeking intelligent beauty and skin care news, advice, tips and articles. Founded in 2005, features articles, news items and frequently asked questions on skincare and beauty related issues. is located in Sacramento, California, but receives visitors from all around the world. For more information, visit

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Bobby Lyons