Sep 05, 2023
Nickel allergy is a common cause of allergic contact dermatitis, which appears as an itchy rash when your skin comes into contact with a chemical that is usually harmless.
Nickel allergy and jewelry, including earrings, are frequently connected. Nevertheless, nickel is a widely used metal that may be found in a variety of everyday items, including coins, zippers, eyeglass frames, cosmetics, detergents, and even some modern electronics like computers and cell phones.
One may need to be exposed to nickel frequently or for a prolonged amount of time in order to develop an allergy to the metal. Nickel allergy symptoms can be managed with treatment. On the other hand, due to your sensitivity, people with nickel allergies must always avoid contact with the metal.
It is unclear what specifically causes nickel allergy. Nickel allergy arises when, as with other allergies, your immune system perceives nickel as a potentially harmful material rather than a chemical that is safe to be around. Your immune system typically only reacts to defend your body from germs, viruses, or poisonous chemicals.
Your immune system will always be sensitive to an agent (allergen) after it has caused a reaction in your body, in this case, nickel. In other words, your immune system will react to nickel exposure by mounting an allergic reaction.
Nickel sensitivity in your immune system might emerge during your initial exposure as well as following subsequent or persistent exposure.
After being exposed to nickel, an allergic reaction (contact dermatitis) typically starts within hours to days. It could take up to four weeks for the reaction to stop. The reaction usually only manifests itself when your skin first comes into contact with nickel, though it occasionally may spread to other parts of your body.
Signs and symptoms of nickel allergy include:
Typical objects that could expose you to nickel include:
Your chance of acquiring a nickel allergy may be increased by a number of variables, such as:
If you have recently been exposed to goods that might contain nickel and the appearance of your skin, your doctor can typically identify a nickel allergy.
However, if the source of your rash is not clear, your doctor might advise a patch test (contact hypersensitivity allergy test). For this test, he or she might suggest that you visit a dermatologist or an allergist who specializes in skin conditions.
A patch test involves applying extremely minute amounts of possible allergens to your skin and covering them with tiny patches, including nickel. You have two days to live with the patches on your skin until the doctor removes them. When the nickel patch is removed or in the following days, itchy, inflammatory skin beneath it will develop if you are allergic to nickel.
Patch tests are safe even for those with severe allergies because they only utilize small amounts of the allergens.
Avoiding contact with the metal is the first step in the treatment of nickel allergies. Nickel allergy has no treatment options. A rash (contact dermatitis) will appear as soon as you become sensitive to nickel and come into contact with the metal.
To soothe discomfort and enhance the condition of a rash brought on by a nickel allergy reaction, your doctor may advise one of the following drugs:
A controlled amount of synthetic ultraviolet light is applied to your skin during this procedure. People who haven't improved with topical or oral steroids are typically the only ones who can benefit from it. Several months may pass for a nickel allergic reaction to respond to phototherapy.
The easiest way to avoid getting a nickel allergy is to limit your time spent around nickel-containing products. Avoiding contact with nickel is the best approach to prevent an allergic reaction if you already have a nickel allergy.
However, because nickel is found in so many items, it's not always simple to avoid it. Checking for nickel in metal objects can be done at home with test kits.
You may be able to avoid nickel exposure by following these tips:
Avoid wearing nickel-containing jewelry. To prevent adverse reactions, buy jewelry made from non-allergenic materials. Search for jewelry made of surgical-grade stainless steel, titanium, 18-karat yellow gold, nickel-free stainless steel, sterling silver, and surgical-grade stainless steel.
Surgical-grade stainless steel may include some nickel, but it's typically regarded as hypoallergenic for most individuals. Make sure the backings of your earrings are made of hypoallergenic materials as well.
Make that the studio uses sterile, nickel-free, or surgical-grade stainless steel needles in sealed packets before obtaining a piercing. If the studio employs a piercing gun, be sure that no other customers have been touched by the component that contacts the individual getting pierced. Check to see if the shop only sells hypoallergenic jewelry and if they can show you the jewelry's metal content.
For typical items containing nickel, look for safer alternatives:
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