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These days it is almost impossible to go anywhere without wearing some piece of jewelry. Even the smallest stud earrings or a delicate necklace can brighten up your look and make it go from “usual” to “the one to remember”.
Although we are used to treating jewelry as yet another styling accessory it’s not always the case. You wear your engagement ring or relationship bracelet no matter the outfit since it is so much more than just a piece of metal. Jewelry can bear a deep sentimental meaning making it sometimes incredibly hard to part with.
So it can be not only annoying and painful but also heartbreaking when you realize that your skin is much more sensitive than you were expecting. More specifically, you can quickly develop an allergy to one of the alloys used in your jewelry, rendering it unwearable for you.
Allergic reaction in response to a piece of jewelry is called contact dermatitis and it can be a bother to you for even as long as a decade. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent or comfortably live with this condition without swearing off jewelry for good.
So here we are going to give you some advice on how to choose jewelry if you have sensitive skin to make sure your jewelry-wearing experience is still enjoyable.
Before Deciding on the Jewelry
First, you’d want to completely avoid stumbling in the dark. It’s best to figure out right from the start if you are allergic to jewelry at all, or most probably to nickel (we’ll get to it later), and to what extent.
You can easily get an answer to that question from your dermatologist by asking for a skin patch test. This test is performed by putting several allergens onto patches that then go onto your upper back. After 48 hours you’ll have all the answers you need and can receive treatment from your dermatologist if the reaction to allergens is severe enough.
The Main Culprit
If you react badly to jewelry, you are most probably allergic to nickel. Unfortunately, nickel is commonly mixed with various metals to make them stronger and durable.
For example, we are used to thinking of gold or sterling silver as a safe bet when it comes to skin allergies, but it’s not always the case. Even those metals, depending on their quality, can contain small traces of nickel or other metals that can cause an allergic reaction. You should pay extra attention to jewelry you buy even when it is considered safe. Do your homework and find out what exactly those beautiful gold earrings consist of.
It is estimated that as much as 10% of the population (and 20% of young women) is allergic to nickel to some extent. But it is possible to live with it if you retain caution and stick to jewelry that is least likely to trigger it.
Safe Metals to Look Into
It is important to note that every allergy to jewelry is different. Depending on how sensitive your skin is and the purity of metals, it can take you some time to figure out what works best for you. If you already know what is causing your skin trouble, don’t hesitate to ask the sellers about the purity of the metals used in the jewelry.
Although we’ve used gold as an example of a “deceptive” metal, not all gold is the same. Reach for gold from the upper shelf, such as 14k or higher. Also, it is best to avoid white gold unless it uses palladium instead of nickel as an alloy.
Sterling silver of high quality usually contains 92.5% silver mixed with copper. Although most people can safely wear this type of metal, some can still react badly to either silver or copper.
As we said before, the majority of people don’t have a negative reaction to copper. No, having a greenish residue on your skin after copper doesn’t mean you’re allergic. This is just copper being copper.
Copper is also used in producing rose gold. So if your skin tolerates copper it shouldn’t have a problem with high-quality rose gold either.
Titanium and Niobium
Both niobium and titanium are used to create medical implants. This fact alone should convince you to give them a chance. Titanium is extremely durable and strong, having a metallic tint to it.
Niobium, however, can take upon almost any color of the rainbow making it an amazing choice in terms of eye-catching jewelry.
Platinum is one of the most prestige and expensive metals out there and it is well-deserved. Purity-wise, platinum contains only around 5% of alloys with no traces of nickel in it. Platinum is often a first-choice when it comes to wedding rings or other meaningful jewelry.
Choosing jewelry if you have sensitive skin is mostly a trial and error process. Many factors can influence your choice, above all being your level of tolerance towards nickel. But following these tips should give you a pretty good idea about what to look out for and what jewelry might suit you best.
Lina Dzido is a creative writer, enthusiastic content creator, Senior Editor and PR Manager of Awesome Stuff 365, a web magazine about cool, creative & awesome things.