Jenna G. is a single mom and a V.P. for a national bank. Part of her job is meeting with high-level executives to discuss business, usually in a corporate setting or 5-star hotel luncheon. Jenna has a beautiful wardrobe complete with the right jewelry and accessories.
After the birth of her second child, something changed. Every time she wore her favorite earrings, her ear lobes would itch and become fire-engine red. It wasn’t until she talked about it with her friend and later confirmed by a dermatologist that Jenna had developed an allergic reaction to nickel. Medically speaking, this condition is known as contact dermatitis, and it’s quite common.
We find nickel in almost all jewelry and the metal parts of the clothes we wear. To prevent the itchy, red ears, Jenna had to replace all her earrings with nickel-free earrings followed by nickel-free bracelets and necklaces.
You May be Allergic to More Than Nickel
Some people are born with this allergy, and others develop it later in life. Although incurable, an allergy to nickel is always preventable by avoiding cheap jewelry from touching your skin. Government sources estimate that up to 17% of all women suffer from an allergic reaction to nickel. Moreover, it can show up in unexpected places. Snaps, buttons, and zippers are mostly nickel. Even white gold contains nickel to strengthen the jewelry.
Sometimes people are allergic to other metals such as copper, stainless steel or silver. Manufacturers use these metals in combination with other metals to create jewelry and fasteners. For example, the beautiful color of rose gold comes from an alloy with copper. Stainless steel jewelry may contain nickel which causes the reaction.
You may think that to avoid a skin allergy to nickel or other metals is to buy hypoallergenic earrings and jewelry, but that’s not always the case.
Is There a Difference Between Hypoallergenic Earrings and Nickel-Free?
If you have sensitivities to nickel, you may think that hypoallergenic jewelry is the way to go. However, “Hypoallergenic” means that the jewelry will pose a minimal risk of creating an allergic reaction. It does not eliminate the source entirely.
Hypoallergenic earrings such as stainless steel may still contain trace amounts of nickel, enough to cause a problem in some people.
To be sure, the safest jewelry to wear is nickel-free earrings, and here's what you need to know about earrings without nickel.
Two Best Allergy-Free Earrings
If you suffer from contact dermatitis to nickel, there are two perfect alternatives for your earrings. They are pure medical-grade titanium and medical-grade plastic. These materials are used in hospitals for implants and other medical devices. They don’t create allergies, react to the skin or harbor bacteria.
As you probably know, Blomdahl USA is the leader in beautiful, safe nickel-free hypoallergenic earrings and other nickel-free jewelry. Women who wear our super comfortable medical-grade plastic earrings or medical-grade titanium earrings forget they are wearing them. We use genuine Swarovski Crystals with colors to match any wardrobe. The only one who knows your earrings are medical grade plastic or titanium is you.
If you have developed a sensitivity to nickel, like Jenna, there is a happy ending to the story. You get to do more jewelry shopping. Nothing wrong with that!