Metal allergies are a common issue for many jewelry consumers.
Recently, there has been an increase in searching for common metal allergies among men wearing jewelry. The recent spike could be due to a multitude of factors, including a change in men’s fashion resulting in increased jewelry wear.
Who Is Affected by Metal Allergies?
Although the search mainly revolved around men’s allergic reactions to jewelry, it is important to factor in the amount of women that are also experiencing the same allergy.
On average, 17% of women and 3% of men experience some sort of allergic reaction to metal in their jewelry.
Generally, women are more likely to wear multiple different necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings on a day-to-day basis; the average woman is more likely to be using jewelry more than men.
Other than the male and female aspect of allergic reactions to metals, there seems to be no other demographics that determine the severity of the allergy. Age, ethnicity, and other factors seem to have little influence on the seriousness of the issue. Other, although more uncommon, metal irritants include cobalt and chromium; these are less likely to appear in jewelry. If you experience a metal allergy, we encourage you to contact your doctor or primary physician right away, and then call us or book an appointment to let us know!
There are three common metal allergies that affect the majority of jewelry users: nickel, gold, and cobalt.
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Most Common Metal Allergies with Jewelry
Nickel, a common lower-grade metal found in some jewelry, is responsible for the majority of allergic reactions. When left in contact with the skin, nickel can cause an uncomfortable, itchy, rash underneath the jewelry.
While relatively non-threatening, the reaction can be a burden for many who experience it. Remedies for a nickel allergy include daily moisturizing and calamine lotion, which can ease the itching associated with it.
Gold. Another, rather surprising, aspect of metal allergies is the allergic reaction associated with gold. Almost all jewelry is associated with being gold, whether it be plated, filled, or coated. Common reactions to gold include a common rash, swelling, and itching.
Although very similar to a nickel allergy reaction, the remedy for a gold allergy is an over the counter corticosteroid cream. Although rare, the allergic reaction associated with gold is an inconvenience to those who enjoy wearing gold jewelry.
Cobalt. Although less common than nickel or gold allergies, cobalt is associated with a red, scaly rash when it is present. A cobalt allergy is less likely to be associated with jewelry wear, but is still a common allergen that is disruptive to the skin when in contact.
Remedies for this type of rash is a dermatitis cream or topical corticosteroids. Relief should be seen within 1-3 days.
Metal Allergy Safe Jewelry
If you experience a common metal allergy such as nickel or gold, platinum and titanium may be the answer you’re looking for.
On average, platinum is 40-50% more costly than white gold due to the density of the metal and the amount it takes to make a piece of jewelry. Although more expensive, they are less likely to incur an allergic reaction.
Unsure if your favorite jewelry is causing a reaction? Make an appointment to come in today and talk to our expert jewelers.