Imagine this scenario; your partner buys you a magnificent necklace to commemorate a special occasion. You cannot wait to wear it and take photos to share with family and friends. After wearing the awesome necklace for a day, you develop some irritation on your neck, or feel an itching sensation, and eventually get a rash.
While this may not happen to you, millions of Americans suffer these problems while wearing jewelry. This is known as jewelry rash and it is a common skin allergy. For most people, summer is the best season when they can wear their beautiful jewelry. As people wear jewelry more frequently during the summer, the prevalence of jewelry rash is high during this season.
If you always have problems wearing your favorite jewelry during the summer, or at any other time, it is time to learn more about this allergy. This post examines jewelry rash in detail and also offers tips on how to prevent and treat the condition.
What Is Jewelry Rash
Jewelry rash is a form of allergic contact dermatitis (allergic contact eczema). It is a reaction that occurs after your skin comes in contact with an offending material, in this case, a piece of jewelry. At this point, your body will identify the presence of the metal as harmful and continue to produce inflammatory and itch-producing chemicals.
The immune system not only reacts to bacteria and viruses; it reacts to other toxic substances as well. If your skin reacts when in contact with nickel or any other metal, this becomes a lifelong trend.
Contact with jewelry that is made of such metals can lead to skin redness, itchy, swelling and the skin can also feel warm to the touch. The itchy jewelry rash will occur in the areas that come in contact with the jewelry item. These areas include the ears, neck, wrists, and fingers. You might notice the rash immediately or after 12 to 48 hours of wearing the offending jewelry.
Nickel, cobalt, or chromates are the most common causes of jewelry rash. They are used to strengthen the most popular metals such as gold. Unique diamond rings made of alloys containing gold and other metals may cause jewelry rash due to the presence of nickel.
With the popularity of gold in jewelry making, the number of jewelry lovers who suffer from skin irritation has remained high.
Symptoms of Jewelry Rash
If you notice any discomfort or changes on the skin after wearing a new jewelry item, it is time to do something about it. Some symptoms of jewelry rash that you should look out for include:
- Rash or bumps on the skin
- Itching, which may be severe
- Redness or changes in skin color
- Dry patches of skin that may resemble a burn
- Blisters and draining fluid in severe cases
- Redness of the skin in the affected area
- Swelling of the skin
- Blisters might follow and if they break, they can leave ugly crusts and scales
Blisters can also become infected which can lead to further skin damage. Some of the signs of infection include an increase in redness, warmth, pus in the affected area, and pain.
Treating Jewelry Rush during Summer
Summer is always that time of the year when you try to turn up the style. For most folks, it is the best time to don the latest fashion and go out, and this includes your new jewelry pieces. However, you may soon discover that you are allergic to the metal used to make your beautiful jewelry.
If you already exhibit the symptoms of nickel allergy rash, you should stop wearing the piece and visit a doctor immediately. This will prevent any further skin damage and also prevent scarring or the development of other ugly permanent skin marks.
The doctor will carry out diagnostic tests to determine if you are indeed allergic to the material in your jewelry. A patch test is the most common way of testing for jewelry allergies. The dermatologist will apply the suspected allergens on your skin, cover each of them with a small patch, and ask you not to disturb it overnight. If a skin reaction develops, this will confirm that you are allergic to the specific metal.
These allergies are lifelong but dermatologists offer multiple solutions to treat or manage them. Here are some of the best techniques to deal with your allergy during in summer:
- Avoid contact with jewelry pieces that cause skin irritation
- Apply hydrocortisone cream gently on the affected skin area
- Buy antihistamine pills for the allergy
- Steroid creams or drugs to boost the immune system
- Corticosteroid cream
- Oral corticosteroid
- Nonsteroidal creams
- Home remedies including non-alcoholic soothing creams, applying wet compresses on the affected area, and regular moisturizing using emollient creams or lotions.
Other Ways To Deal With Jewelry Rash
It is understandable that you want to enjoy wearing your jewelry during the summer. The pain and discomfort caused by allergic reactions might deny you the chance of wearing particular jewelry accessories. Luckily, you still have other jewelry options and tricks to deal with jewelry rash. Take a look:
- Always wear hypoallergenic jewelry: Jewelry makers now use the latest technology to make safer non-allergic jewelry. For instance, three stone diamond rings made with sterling silver will not cause any skin discomfort. Other hypoallergenic jewelry options include 14-, 18- or 24-karat yellow gold and surgical-grade stainless steel.
- Shop cautiously: Do not rush to buy the cheapest jewelry that you see online. Instead, identify a reputable dealer and explain your unique needs. They will help design bespoke jewelry that is safe yet glamorous.
- Talk to your dermatologist: If you start noticing problems with your skin when wearing jewelry, consult your dermatologist for a diagnosis. These skin experts will also recommend alternative jewelry that is safe for you to wear.
If the jewelry you choose to wear causes skin discomfort, you have to start taking precautions against jewelry rash. This skin allergy can lead to pain and skin damage if not treated urgently. It is true that you want to look hot during the summer but the health of your skin should take priority. See your doctor and consider buying alternative hypoallergenic jewelry to enjoy an irritation-free summer.