It’s hard to resist the temptation of hoarding affordable jewelry. While brand new, they shine as bright as expensive ones and they can even look more stylish and trendy. But many people complain of getting dry patches, rashes, and other allergic reactions from wearing these cheap accessories.
But what makes cheap jewelry trigger these reactions? Let’s find out.
What you think is cheap gold, silver, or platinum in cheap jewelry is possibly nickel. It’s a strong metal that’s resistant to corrosion, and can also be found in batteries, kitchen sinks, and television remotes. Keys can also be made out of a nickel, so in case you’re wondering why your hands always get itchy after handling your car or house keys, then you’ve found the cause.
If you stumble upon gold- or silver-plated jewelry advertised as nickel-free, you should still be wary because those metals may still contain nickel alloys. To be able to tell if nickel is present, read the karats, which are labeled as “14K” or “18K.” Karat is the percentage of gold in an alloy, so if a piece of gold-plated jewelry is 14 karats, then it means it has 58% gold content and 42% alloyed metals.
But if you’re not aware of how much nickel is contained in your jewelry items, you can actually test it using an over-the-counter dimethylglyoxime spot test. Put two to three drops of the product onto a cotton swab, and then rub it on your jewelry for at least five seconds. If the cotton swab has turned pink, it means nickel is present.
Symptoms of Nickel Allergy
The symptoms can go from mild ones like itching, redness, rash, and dry patches, to severe ones like blisters that may result in scales and crusts. These reactions typically show up after 12 to 48 hours of contact with nickel. You’d feel or notice them behind your earlobes (from wearing nickel earrings), around your neck (from wearing nickel necklaces), and pretty much the parts of your body that the nickel has directly touched.
As mentioned, you may get reactions on your hands too from handling nickel keys, as well as handheld electronics. Belt buckles may also contain this metal, causing skin irritations near your belly button.
Once you see these symptoms, you should stop wearing nickel jewelry and making contact with anything made with nickel immediately. The reactions can be treated with over-the-counter products, but even so, it’s still recommended to visit a dermatologist, who can perform skin tests and diagnose you with a nickel allergy.
If left untreated, the breakouts can aggravate, causing your skin to darken and turn leathery and cracked. The rash may also spread, worsened with sweat.
Alternatives To Nickel Jewelry
Ideally, gold jewelry must be 24 karats to be considered 100% pure gold, which can save you from having skin irritations. But authentic gold jewelry is pricey, so not everyone may find purchasing many of it practical.
If rings are your favorite type of jewelry, why not try silicone rings, instead? It’s more comfortable to wear, stylish, and highly affordable as well. What’s more, you don’t even need to remove them when you wash your hands, play sports, or workout. Even if you do rigorous jobs every day, your silicone ring would still endure and remain unscathed. And the most convincing reason to try them is the fact that silicone is hypoallergenic, so you can finally bid goodbye to annoying skin irritations and allergic reactions.
It’s truly time to let go of your cheap jewelry. We’re sorry to see them go, but we should no longer ignore the nasty reactions they give to our skin. And the next time you’re faced with another temptation to buy a new one, simply remember the protests of our delicate skin. You would be better off with genuine or safer alternatives.