If jewellery leaves you with a rash at the end of the day, is it really even worth putting it on?
If you have sensitive skin, there's a good chance that certain pieces of jewellery will cause you to break out in a rash when you wear them. It can be frustrating and force you to swear off wearing accessories at all.
Metal allergies can be quite common, especially when it comes to nickel. Nickel is a white metal, which makes it perfect for jewelry alloys, but it has a huge downside – an estimated 15% of the population is allergic to it.
WHAT METALS TO AVOID?
NICKEL AND STAINLESS STEEL
We've already mentioned the infamous nickel, but some people will have a reaction to jewelry that contains stainless steel. The reason is stainless steel may contain nickel between 8% to 35%. People who are allergic to nickel will develop a reaction after contact.
Because brass is made of copper and zinc, it can turn skin green. If you have any metal allergies, it’s a good choice to avoid wearing brass jewellery.
Bronze is an alloy mixed with copper and tin. It might also contain nickel or aluminum. If you wear bronze, you might notice that it develops a green oxidation layer due to the copper content.
COPPER AND ROSE GOLD
Like nickel, copper can cause skin reactions thanks to its chemical makeup. If you already have an allergy to nickel, you should avoid wearing copper jewellery, too.
Rose gold is an alloy of gold and copper, which has a beautiful reddish-pink color. However, copper is a known allergen. Alloying copper reduces the chance of having an allergic reaction. However, people who are allergic to copper or allergic to gold can be affected. If you must have rose gold jewellery, try to go for a piece that has a higher percentage of gold in the alloy.
WHAT JEWELLERY METALS BEST FOR YOU
Sensitive skin takes the fun out of wearing jewellery, but hypoallergenic metals may solve the problem.
Thanks to hypoallergenic metals, people with metal allergies can enjoy jewellery, even the beautiful statement pieces. Learning how to identify safe metals helps you make informed choices about the jewellery you want to wear.
Pure silver metal is quite soft and malleable for use in the jewellery industry. As a result, most manufacturers prefer using sterling silver, which contains 92.5% of pure silver and 7.5% other metals, like copper.
Pure silver is very soft, which is why most silver jewellery includes alloys. Sterling silver tarnishes because it usually has a bit of copper in it. To determine if you are buying sterling silver, look for the .925 mark on it.
316L STAINLESS STEEL
316L stainless steel is widely known as hypoallergenic stainless steel. The reason behind this is simple – this stainless steel alloy does not contain any metal that widely causes allergic reactions. All the metals used to make the 316L stainless steel, namely chromium and iron, are relatively stable and non-reactive. The best part is that this alloy does not rust even when exposed to damp environments, and you will never have to worry about it rusting over time.
The gold layer on gold-fill jewelry is hardy, and makes for a stunning, hypoallergenic, and affordable alternative to solid, silver, or gold-plated jewellery. Gold-filled jewelry has almost 100% more gold than gold-plated jewellery and is usually constructed in two or three thick layers.
GOLD PLATED items have a very thin coating of gold over a base metal or alloy. Some gold plated components used are plated over brass or copper and are nickel free. Be aware that many gold plated items on the market (but not all) have a nickel plate under the final gold plate, so gold plated items may not a good choice if you have a nickel allergy unless you are sure of the metal(s) under the plating. FYI - many hand lotions will accelerate tarnish on gold plated jewelry, and can result in a black color within days of handling.