Can Jewelry Cause Eczema?



“Eczema” is actually a group of conditions that cause inflammation, itching, redness, cracks, and roughness on the skin. The true cause of eczema is unknown, but it is believed to be an overactive immune system response to environmental irritants. There is a type of eczema called allergic eczema, also known as contact dermatitis. When your skin comes into contact with an allergen or irritant in allergic eczema, your body’s immune system will react with a reaction that includes some or all of the eczema symptoms (eg rash, itching, inflammation). Metals can cause allergic eczema if they come into regular contact with the human body. So what about jewelry?

Yes, jewelry can cause eczema. It is a well-known fact that the metal in your jewelry can cause eczema and uncomfortable allergy symptoms in sensitive people. After this type of reaction, a condition called contact dermatitis occurs. You may not know the metals and alloys in your favorite jewelry. Anyone experiencing this reaction should switch to jewelry made using hypoallergenic metals.



Our skin is believed to be our protective barrier against the world. When your skin is damaged, allergens can enter more easily and eczema symptoms may worsen. When you pierce your ears, you apply an open wound to your skin. Not only that, once your first piercings have healed, this skin is much more delicate and can be easily reopened when the earrings are put on and removed. That’s why wearing metal earrings can be particularly difficult if you have a skin condition such as eczema.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for eczema. Some people come out of the closet after childhood, for others, it’s a lifelong condition. One way to treat eczema is to know your triggers and avoid them whenever you can. If you’ve noticed that your ears are sensitive and some earrings are causing a reaction, you probably suffer from allergic eczema or contact dermatitis. The best way to avoid jewelry allergy eczema is to choose only jewelry made from non-allergenic materials. Especially earrings should be chosen carefully as there is an open wound on the body.

Titanium (in its pure form) is one of the few metals that are non-allergenic and safe for people with allergic eczema. Pure gold and platinum are also generally non-allergenic, but they are very expensive. The reason these metals are pure so that they are not allergens is that even traces of other metals can cause a painful reaction in a person with eczema. When purchasing jewelry, look for information about the metals in the jewelry and the materials that come into contact with your skin. When shopping for jewelry, it is important to know the base metal as well as the silver, as the coating can erode and expose the skin to what is underneath. When in doubt: contact the company and ask them what metals they use.

Contact Dermatitis: How You Get Eczema From Jewelry


Adverse reactions may develop against some substances such as jewelry that come into contact with the outer surface of our body (skin, mouth, or genitals). Urticaria or dermatitis may develop as a result of this contact. The development mechanisms of both are different. In the contact urticaria, histamine is released from mast cells because our immune system creates an IgE response against the substances in contact. Or, with the penetration of certain chemical substances (such as tattoos, etc.) or cosmetic products administered through the skin, they release histamine directly from the mast cells without direct IgE, and as a result, they cause an itchy rash that we call urticaria.



Contact dermatitis occurs with allergic or non-allergic mechanisms. Its clinical findings are also completely different. Clinical findings begin to appear hours or days after allergen exposure. However, this period is very short in contact urticaria. In allergic contact dermatitis, allergens (chemicals and proteins) gradually enter the skin and cause the cells of our immune system to be drawn to the area and a reaction begins. For the development of these reactions, sensitization, that is, that substance must have been encountered before. When exposed to the same substance again, these cells migrate to the region and start the reaction.

Nickel, cobalt, potassium dichromate, chemicals in hair dyes, ingredients in cosmetic products, creams, preservatives, and perfumes in locally used drugs are the most common causes of contact dermatitis. In non-allergic contact dermatitis, substances that come into contact with our skin can cause eczema-like reactions in the top layer. This barrier function can be impaired by continuous exposure. Detergents, soaps, or other cleaning products we use in daily life can disrupt the skin structure.

This situation is more common than other contact allergies. Asthma and other allergic diseases are more susceptible to the development of contact dermatitis in patients with atopic dermatitis, whose skin structure is already problematic. Some occupational groups (barbers, healthcare professionals, etc.) are also in the risky group. In the diagnostic process, the characteristics and time of occurrence of clinical findings are very important. Contact urticaria symptoms occur very soon (minutes) after contact with allergens. Sometimes the reactions can occur in places far from the contact. In this case, there may be difficulties in diagnosis. Rarely, even serious systemic reactions (anaphylaxis) may occur. In non-allergic contact urticaria, rashes appear at the contact site.



In allergic contact dermatitis, the rashes come out later and we can see the rashes in other parts of our body as well as at the contact site. However, life-threatening reactions are not observed. While the identification of the contact substances is sometimes easily done, difficulties may be experienced in determining the responsible cause in contact dermatitis developing in our hands. Skin tests are performed to identify the causative agent in patients with contact urticaria. Determination of allergen-specific IgE in serum also helps diagnosis. Patch tests should be done in cases of contact dermatitis. Identifying the responsible agent and avoiding it constitutes the basis of treatment.

However, the agent may not always be identified. In such cases, some medications should be used to suppress allergic reactions. Local or systemic drugs containing antihistamines are widely used in the treatment of allergic contact dermatitis. However, antihistamines are not as effective as thought. Even the drug itself can cause contact dermatitis. Ointments and moisturizers containing cortisone (corticosteroid) can be used in the treatment of allergic contact dermatitis. Ultraviolet rays (PUVA) are also used in treatment. Moisturizers should be used to repair the damaged structure of the skin. Even if dermatitis resolves, it should be continued for a long time.

Factors Causing Allergic Contact Dermatitis


In allergic contact dermatitis, it is extremely important to diagnose the patient’s history and complaints. A very good story should be taken, including information about the work environment, hobbies, products used at home and at work, and sun exposure, and it will increase your chances of diagnosing the date between chemical exposure and the occurrence of complaints. If there is a skin rash in the form of redness, crusting, and itching, it usually (but not always) indicates that the allergen contacted with the skin is in contact with the skin, sometimes it may occur days after contact with the allergen.

Skin patch testing should be performed in patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) if suspected. Allergic contact dermatitis can sometimes occur with the application of prostheses and filling materials to the body. Especially after dental fillings or orthopedic prostheses, it can cause common intra-oral or non-healing wounds in the prosthesis site. There are studies showing that stents inserted in the heart vessels may cause myocardial infarction in some patients. Therefore, before the procedure is performed, it is absolutely necessary to perform a patch test against the substances to be used with the skin patch test, otherwise, after a successful procedure, non-healing wounds or allergic contact dermatitis complaints may occur.



The patch test allows people who have become sensitive to a particular allergen to see skin reactions when they come into contact with the allergen. Allows a person to find the chemical substance that causes allergic contact dermatitis. Usually, the back is used for convenience. Allergens are placed sequentially and then attached to the patient’s back. The optimum timing of skin patch test readings is likely 2 days and 3 days. Sometimes there may be an additional reading on days 6 or 7, about 10% more positive responses that are negative on days 2 and 4. The most common allergens that can become positive after day 4 are neomycin, tixocortol pivalate, and nickel.



Usually, it is necessary to apply the product twice a day for up to a week, depending on whether a reaction has developed. While cosmetic product-related contact urticaria develops immediately, allergic contact dermatitis may occur later. It can be useful in blood tests used to diagnose chemicals that cause allergic contact dermatitis. Lymphocyte transformation tests showing late-type reaction can be used to diagnose, and more studies are needed to use these tests routinely.

Jewelry Allergy Causing Eczema


While allergic reactions are more common in fake jewelry containing poor quality metals, aluminum, and nickel, some people may also be allergic to silver and gold. This is more common in jewelry made by dipping in liquid gold. Everyone may have a genetic predisposition to certain allergies. People may never encounter the substance to which they are prone to allergies and may not learn that they are allergic to this substance, or they may not be able to understand because they have encountered them at a level that their body can tolerate.

The skin can tolerate a certain amount of contact. However, if this contact activity continues and the area remains moist, perspiration causes the protective layer of the skin to be damaged. Sweating causes some of the metal to be absorbed and mixed into the circulation. This makes the allergic reaction much easier to develop. Perfume can also often cause contact eczema. It can go from one dose to systemic eczema. For this, it is necessary not to spray perfume on the jewelry. A humid environment causes that metal to dissolve and absorb from the skin.



At first, a slight redness, burning, itching and if this continues, crusting and watering occur. If the contact with the allergen is not interrupted, the allergen mixes with the blood and causes itching and blisters in many different parts of the body. In short, there is a jump to other areas, so early treatment should be provided. With this mechanism, some people may develop allergies to their tattoos. Allergic reactions may also develop in that area, depending on the pigment used in that tattoo.

Some people cannot wear earrings. Metal allergy is the root cause of this. If itching and redness occur when wearing earrings; this indicates an allergy to that metal. As you insist on wearing earrings, the wound expands, becomes watery, and can become infected. Infection may even develop. Earrings should not be worn during this period, and if possible, at all times. Allergic reactions may also occur due to the metals in the piercing. If this is a navel piercing, it happens around the navel. Piercing is mostly used on the ear and tongue. There is lymphatic circulation in these areas. If an infection occurs, it can progress very quickly.



Inside the nose is also a risky area. Because circulation is very close to the brain. Its presence on the lips can cause infections in the mouth. There are many different bacteria in the mouth. Therefore, the inside of the mouth is more dangerous. This type of imitation; In other words, people who want to use fake jewelry try to eliminate the risk of allergies by applying transparent nail polish on this jewelry. This is an option if the person does not have an allergy to nail polish. Because with nail polish, a barrier is created on that metal. In this way, that metal does not come into contact with the skin.

People with metal allergies are generally recommended to wear pure gold jewelry. It is not appropriate to use the jewelry purchased cheaply from the stalls. Metal allergies are sometimes seen under the navel. This is because the body reacts very little to the metal buckle of the belt. In this case, it is necessary not to use the belt or to wear combed cotton as a barrier between the skin so that the metal part does not touch the skin directly.

Nickel allergy is more common in women than in men. This is mainly due to the holes opened in the ear, piercing and leather jewelry, and the skin which is in contact with precious metals. In this way, nickel can penetrate the skin/blood and cause sensitization. The person thus develops an allergy to the substance, and eczema may occur within a few hours after each contact of the substance with the skin. The number of men with these ailments is constantly increasing. This is probably because men have recently begun to wear earrings to their ears and necklaces to their throats. Nickel allergy also causes eczema on the hands. This is due to contact with many nickel-containing items such as doorknobs, faucets (except stainless steels), and coins.



Especially jewelry imitations, metal-coated kitchen tools, shiny door handles, zippers, buckles, needles, knitting needles, scissors, eyeglass frames, buttons, coins, nickel. Nickel can be found in white gold, platinum, and imported yellow gold and silver. In addition, nickel can be seen in bleach, hair dyes, and some foodstuffs. Examples of foods containing high amounts of nickel are chocolate, peas, lentils, walnuts, and sunflower seeds. These types of foods can make eczema worse in people with nickel allergies, but this is very rare. Most of the water taps, bowls, and basins are made of stainless steel that does not release nickel.

If a person with contact allergy to nickel comes into contact with the substance, allergic eczema may occur in any part of the body. Newly emerged or recurring contact eczema causes redness and swelling of the skin, along with fluid-filled blisters and inflamed wounds. In prolonged contact eczema, drying and cracking are seen on the skin. Severe itching is common.

The person provides a referral to a dermatologist and asks for a “patch test”. In the patch test, a patch-shaped tape containing the most common allergens is attached to the person’s back. This band is removed after resting for two days on the patient’s back. The dermatologist looks at the results after a day or two. If there is a nickel allergy, a coin-sized reddened patch of eczema appears in the area where the tape is attached and nickel is tested.

Gold Allergy and Eczema


Pollen, dust, pets, and food are common allergens. But these aren’t the only things that can cause nasal itching, redness, or sneezing. Skin contact with gold also causes an allergic reaction in some individuals. It is not known how many people react to gold. In a 2001 study, about 9.5% of the 4,101 people tested for gold allergy tested positive, and more women tested positive than men.

However, to be clear, the reaction to gold is not necessarily caused by gold itself, but by metals in gold, such as nickel. Some of the gold contains traces of nickel. So if you are allergic to metal or nickel, contact with certain types of gold may cause skin reactions. The symptoms of a gold allergy are similar to those of other allergies. The body reacts differently to allergens, but typical symptoms can include:



  • swelling
  • redness
  • itch
  • black spots

Symptoms can range from mild to severe. They can develop shortly after exposure to gold or after prolonged exposure. If you wear a gold ring, your finger may turn red, discolored, or itch. You may also develop symptoms in the ear or around the neck after wearing gold earrings or a gold necklace. It can be difficult to distinguish an allergy to gold from other allergies, so you can attribute the symptoms to eczema or another contact dermatitis. If you are allergic to gold, you will likely react in the same way every time you expose your skin underneath.

Allergy to other types of metals and a family history of nickel or metal allergies may increase the likelihood of allergies to gold. It is also possible for it to react to gold jewelry or other gold objects as they are mixed with other metals. Nickel is one of the most common metal allergens and is often alloyed or mixed with gold. While gold jewelry can cause an allergic reaction, be aware that other items contain gold or nickel. These may include:

  • A gold dental crown – a dental cap or fixed dentures used to restore a damaged tooth
  • Dietary Supplements Containing Oral Gold – May contain vitamins and mineral additives. Make sure you read the ingredient label
  • Gold-plated stents – small tubes used to open blocked body channels such as blood vessels
  • Edible gold: imprinted or brushed gold imprints in or on chocolate and other sweets.
  • Tattoo ink – This may be more likely if you are allergic to nickel.
  • Cell phones: may contain nickel
  • Note, however, that not all gold contains traces of nickel.


So if you are sensitive to nickel, a reaction can occur if you only use certain types of gold. The more pure gold a piece of jewelry contains, the less nickel it usually contains. Therefore, it may not respond to 24-carat gold (pure gold) which is 99.9% gold. Contains less than 0.1% nickel and other metals. Similarly, your chances of reacting with 18 karat gold or 75% gold may decrease. However, if you only use 12 or 9 karat gold, that is, if it contains more nickel or another metal, it is more likely to react.

More likely to react to white gold. Yellow gold may contain nickel, but is often alloyed or combined with silver or copper. White gold is mainly alloyed with nickel. If symptoms such as itching, swelling, redness, and blisters occur after wearing gold jewelry, the best way to treat the reaction is to use an over-the-counter topical corticosteroid cream. Be sure to keep your skin moist and apply a cold compress to reduce itching. If the reaction is severe, contact your doctor as you may need a stronger medication. You may want to stop wearing jewelry to avoid future allergic reactions.

The best way to avoid a reaction is to wear jewelry that does not irritate the skin. You can avoid gold jewelry altogether or just use 18 or 24-carat gold. However, you will likely need to avoid other types of jewelry as the underlying cause is usually a nickel allergy. This includes costume jewelry. Look for jewelry that is hypoallergenic or nickel free. You can also prevent a skin reaction by using stainless steel or titanium. Another trick is to replace metal bracelets with fabric, plastic, or leather bracelets. If your work involves contact with nickel or gold, wear gloves to reduce the possibility of a reaction.

Note that nickel is also found in many everyday objects that can cause a reaction if it comes into contact with the skin. For example, you might consider replacing your metal eyeglass frames with plastic or titanium frames. If you suspect you are allergic to gold or nickel, contact your doctor. Your doctor will examine your skin and ask questions about your medical and family history.

Some doctors can diagnose based on how your skin looks. However, you will likely be referred to an allergist or dermatologist for further evaluation. These experts can use a patch test to confirm or rule out a nickel or metal allergy. To do this, a small piece of skin is exposed to the allergen and then checked for skin reactions. There is no cure for an allergy to gold or nickel. However, you can alleviate the symptoms by avoiding jewelry containing metal. It also helps to become familiar with and avoid contact with gold or other substances containing nickel.

Nickel Allergy and Eczema


Nickel is a more durable metal compared to silver or gold. For this reason, it is used very often in metal jewelry. It is the metal that causes the most allergic contact eczema because it is used very frequently. Humid environments increase the possibility of developing allergies. Sweat facilitates metal absorption by the skin.



Many metal products used in daily life contain nickel. This can cause serious problems for people who are allergic to nickel. Coins, taps, metal utensils, scissors, purse handles, glasses, cutlery, pots, cocoa from food, garlic, nuts, almonds, chocolate, spinach, canned foods, shellfish contain nickel. If you have a nickel allergy, your body will give some negative signals if you come into contact with these products or consume these foods.

If you have allergies after contact with nickel, redness, itching, and water-filled bubbles occur at the contact area. If the contact continues, a dry, scaly, chapped appearance appears. Even new lesions begin to occur in areas where there is no contact. It is also possible for an allergic rash to appear in areas where nickel does not come into contact at all. When you touch a nickel-containing object, an allergic rash that previously developed on the earlobes may recur.

Ring Rash: Eczema Caused by Jewelry


Blushes are often associated with a wedding ring or other ring that is always worn. This happens when there is a rash under the band of your ring and is very noticeable when the ring is removed. The rash is not usually the result of a new ring on the skin but occurs after years of wearing the jewelry. Typically, you will notice one or more of the following on the skin under your ring:

  • red or itchy spots
  • scaly spots
  • swelling or burning
  • dry or chapped skin

Often times, occlusive dermatitis is the result of soap, moisture, or dirt accumulation under a ring. After wearing rings for a long time, soap and lotions can accumulate in dead skin environments, cracks in rings or bracelets, and on the surface of the metal. This can attract bacteria and cause skin irritation, leading to a rash. An annular rash can be treated in a variety of ways. Sometimes using one or more of these treatments can help relieve the redness, depending on the cause of the irritation. Most of the time, you may feel a rash against the rash.



If you are allergic to any element of the ring, such as nickel, you can easily paint the inside of your ring with clear nail polish. This will prevent nickel from getting into your skin or affecting the surface of your finger. Let a professional clean your rings. Take your rings to a local jeweler. You will generally be able to clean your rings by keeping the setting and making sure the stones are protected. This helps remove dead skin, soap, and dirt that can cause redness or skin irritation.

Allergic contact dermatitis may be associated with another skin condition, eczema. Try to keep your hands and fingers moist, especially if you wash your hands a lot. Remove rings to wash, dry, and moisturize so that water or soap doesn’t get trapped under the ring and irritate your skin further. Keeping the skin moist can prevent the flare-up of dermatitis. Use labeled soaps, cleansers, and moisturizers for smooth skin. Deodorant soaps and antibacterial soaps can harden and dry the skin, further irritating the skin and worsening existing dermatitis. Call your doctor if:

  • None of these treatments help breakouts
  • You develop bubbles
  • The rash will get worse

To treat the disease, you may need more effective treatments such as prescription topical steroids, oral anti-inflammatory drugs, allergy medications, or if you’re infected, antibiotics, or antibiotic creams. The annular rash is a very common and treatable disease. Once you discover the underlying cause of the rash and begin treatment, it will resolve in about a week. If your rash is related to an allergy, it may take two to four weeks to resolve completely.

It is important to maintain good habits with your ring in the future. You can prevent or minimize another rash phenomenon by taking care to keep the area clean and dry, and by making sure your ring is clean. If your rash persists or worsens after treatment, contact your doctor immediately.

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Savaş Ateş

I like reading books. I like to read about jewelry too. After reading a lot of books about it, I have started to visit jewelry manufacturers and stores. It is my number 1 hobby.

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