If you are one amongst those who are fond of dressing up and wearing matching jewelry but end up getting a red itchy rash, you are likely to have a condition called allergic contact dermatitis and are probably allergic to nickel. It is the most commonly used metal in cheap and artificial jewelry. Nickel is also added to the gold jewelry to improve its resistance to bending and scratches since gold itself is a very soft metal. So, sometimes when you are wearing gold jewelry and getting an itchy rash, it is not the gold that you are allergic to, but the metals added to it that are causing the allergy.
How does one Develop Nickel Dermatitis?
Nickel allergy is observed in people with a tendency to allergies. People with a family history of allergy, a respiratory allergy like allergic rhinitis or asthma or skin allergy in the form of urticaria or eczema or food allergy, may experience it. Often, the patients themselves would have had some allergies in the past or are having some other allergies may suffer from this skin condition. The immune system of such people is very sensitive and overreacts to certain substances that are otherwise harmless for normal people. So, when such a person comes in contact with nickel in the artificial jewelry, the immune system perceives it as harmful and secretes a substance called histamine which further causes the symptoms of itchiness, redness, heat, and rash. It may take repeated exposure or prolonged exposure to nickel to develop the symptoms.
Nickel allergy is commonly observed in females because they wear a lot of jewelry. However, males are also affected by the condition.
The items causing allergy could be coins, belt buckles, buttons, fabric fasteners like bra hooks, jean snaps and zippers, watches, mobiles, and spectacle frames.
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What are the Symptoms of Nickel Allergy?
The symptoms usually occur in the places where the jewelry touches the skin. The most common sites are the ear lobes, neck, fingers, wrist, and abdomen due to belt buckles, etc.
Symptoms would start in a few hours to a day after using the jewelry and would include:
- The skin may appear burnt
- There could be fluid-filled blisters in severe cases.
- In some people, allergy to coins could develop itchy fluid-filled blisters on their fingers.
How does the Doctor Diagnose Nickel Allergies?
- The diagnosis is usually made from the details of the patient’s history of presenting rash given and, on further inquiry, after considering the presence of the history of allergy and a family history of allergies.
- Examination of the affected areas.
- The doctor can also do a patch testing of your skin
How to Take Care if One has Nickel Allergy?
- Prevention is the first step. Avoid wearing artificial jewelry and the other things that you feel may trigger your allergy.
- Use hypoallergenic metals, polycarbonate plastic. Use nickel-free yellow gold and surgical-grade stainless steel jewelry.
- Substitute the metal watch strap to cloth or plastic, and use zippers and clothing hooks made of plastic or are plastic-coated. Also, opt for plastic eye frames.
- Create a barrier by applying a thick layer of transparent nail polish on the surfaces coming in contact with your skin.
- Wear gloves in case you have to handle chemicals.
- In case you get a severe reaction after Nickel jewelry, you should also avoid food containing Nickel, such as black tea, chocolates, and cocoa, certain food grains like oats, whole wheat, meat, fish, and certain processed foods.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis and Homeopathy:
Homeopathy has an excellent treatment for metal dermatitis. At Life Force Homeopathy, through the research-based medicines prescribed by Dr. Rajesh Shah, we have helped many patients overcome their metal allergy. The medicines are usually prescribed after a detailed study of the patient’s symptoms as well as his emotional and genetic makeup. The selected medicine accordingly helps to correct the altered sensitivity of the immune system. Thus, it helps provide long-lasting relief in the allergy. The best part of the treatment is that it is non-habit-forming and safe without side effects.
Below are a few commonly prescribed homeopathic remedies for allergic contact dermatitis –
- Sulfur: This homeopathic remedy is recommended to treat eczema with intense burning and itching that is aggravated by washing and scratching. Rough, dry, scaly, and unhealthy skin indicated Sulphur.
- Graphites: It is most commonly indicated for eczema which is weepy and when the discharge from the skin is thin and sticky. It is indicated for people with an unhealthy skin where every little injury suppurates and when the skin in the groins, neck, and behind ears turns raw and red.
- Petroleum: This homeopathic medicine is effective in treating eczema and fissures occurring on the hands and or behind the ears. It is beneficial in treating eczema causing dry and scaly or moist skin that disappears in the summer and reappears in the winters and cold weather.
- Arsenic alba: When the patient suffers from eczema with burning and restlessness and when itching and burning turn worse due to scratching, Arsenic alba is recommended. The patient may feel better after having heat and warm drinks. Dry, rough, and scaly skin also indicate this remedy.
- Rhus tox: It is effective in treating dry eczema with redness and swelling, intolerable itching, and burning that gets worse by warmth. Also, this remedy is indicated for individuals suffering from itchy vesicular eruptions.
Now that you know why you get rash after wearing jewelry and how effective homeopathy is in treating various skin conditions, take proper care to avoid allergic reactions and, if you happen to suffer from an allergy, count on homeopathy without a second thought to treat it effectively.
- Written by Dr. Yafta S., Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah