If you’ve ever wondered why your jewelry stains your skin, or why you sometimes get a rash where certain types of jewelry have been in contact, this article is for you. By the end, you’ll have solutions for the long haul, to both the staining problem and that inconvenient allergic reaction. Even better, you’ll also have two quick fixes if you’re really in a bind.
Let me start with a comforting statistic. According to WebMD, fifty-five percent of Americans test positive to one or more allergens. That means you aren’t alone in your allergic reaction due to the nickel in certain pieces. The bad thing is, nickel’s a favorite base metal for adding to jewelry, along with copper and silver.
This metallic trio is the most frequent culprit for skin stains as well. Independently, gold will rarely stain your skin, especially if it’s high-karat, and therefore, purer. The discoloration only comes from the other metals gold is mixed with, to make it stronger or more affordable. Even sterling silver isn’t an exception, since black skin stains can come from the tarnishing of the silver itself.
The stains I described aren’t in any way dangerous, and there are a few quick fixes that can help. First, you might want to dust your skin with talcum powder before wearing your pieces. Since sweat is moisture, it can cause skin discoloration via a chemical reaction with air and certain metals. So by wearing powder, discoloration is much less likely to occur.
Next, if you’re really in a bind, varnishing pieces with nail polish is also an option. Since nail polish isn’t particularly long lasting, you may have to reapply it each time you wear the jewelry. Still, if there’s no other choice, or if it’s an emergency, this can be a viable course of action.
If you have the budget, you could ask the jeweler to professionally coat your items. This is the opposite of the quick fix above. While nail polish won’t last very long, your jeweler’s coating will give a durable finish. With this option, you won’t constantly have to reapply nail polish once it inevitably flakes off, saving you time and money.
Keep in mind, you can also prevent staining and allergies by investing in fine jewelry. The purer the metal, the less chance of skin discoloration. Of course, higher karats mean higher jewelry prices, so I suggest you allocate your money well, and plan purchases too. Considering the benefits though, this is the option to go with. Not only will your skin get a reprieve – you’ll also get a confidence boost from wearing quality pieces.
Finally, you can also ask specifically for nickel-free jewelry. Now, this is a solution specifically for those with allergic reactions to nickel. Your jeweler should easily be able to point you to the right pieces, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Now that you have the solutions to staining and allergies, you can pick the method that’s best for you. Just remember, get better pieces, and (if worst comes to worst), bring out the polish!