Has your new favorite piece of gold jewelry turned your skin dark after wearing it for the first time, but you can’t figure out why?
As embarrassing as it is, the darkening is the manifestation of an allergic reaction, and what the dark areas around the neck mean is that you could be one of the few people who are allergic to gold. But before you go cold turkey on all your gorgeous pieces of gold jewelry, here’s something you should know – that the reaction you are experiencing isn’t necessarily because of the gold, but because of the metals present in gold, for example, nickel.
Most often, gold jewelry contains nickel, which is added to the pure gold to make it harder and suitable for crafting into jewelry. In such cases, the allergic reaction experienced is a nickel allergy or an allergy to some other metal that leaves you with dark stains on your neck.
To learn more about the reasons for the darkened neck after wearing gold chains, this article explores more about skin allergies and the causes of the discoloration. So, let’s jump into these details.
Does real gold jewelry leave a black mark on your neck?
Well, it’s important to note that any form of discoloration on your skin is an indication of some form of sensitivity reaction that you may be having towards particular metals in the jewelry.
And in as much as some people are said to suffer from gold allergies, pure gold is an inert precious metal, and pure gold will not react with sweat or any other chemicals on your skin.
But there’s a catch, despite being non-reactive, pure gold is too soft to be crafted into jewelry, and the only way to have gold jewelry is by adding other metals into gold.
Why gold chain leads to a dark neck?
The primary reason why your finger or neck would be discolored when wearing a gold chain has to do with metallic abrasion.
Metallic abrasion often results from the interaction of the jewelry with cosmetics and makeup, among other beauty and hair products containing compounds that are often harder than gold and more reactive.
So, even with a gold plated or a gold-filled piece of jewelry, the compounds in the chemicals, also known as nice ice, are too hard, and they will rub off the metal, albeit at a very slow rate, and until the abrasion is noticeable.
Essentially, these very small pieces of metal will have a black appearance, more like black dust. This dust will then come in contact with an absorbent surface like clothing or your skin, sticking on and forming a black stain or smudge.
2.Corrosion of Metals
The other reason for the darkening or discoloration of your neck is corrosion of the metallic components in your gold chain.
As mentioned above, pure gold doesn’t corrode, but the metal alloys mixed with the gold corrode, causing discoloration.
If you take 14k gold, for example, such a gold chain is made of 58% gold and 42% non-gold metal alloys. What happens is that these metal alloys will cause corrosion if they are copper or silver-based. These alloys often result in the formation of dark chemical compounds on your neck.
Keep in mind that when you sweat, there is the release of fatty acids and fats, and these would result in the further corrosion of the gold chain.
And if you live in the tropics or the semi-tropical locations or near the sea, then the corrosion will happen faster, and the darkening will only worsen.
As mentioned above, the presence of nickel in gold (as an alloy) is one of the biggest reasons for gold allergies (and the subsequent discoloration of the skin).
What this means is that the most common cause of skin blackening when you wear the gold chain is nickel allergies.
While nickel plays a crucial role in strengthening the precious metal, your body may be averse to nickel resulting in skin allergies and the darkening of the skin where the jewelry is in contact.
Catalysts of the neck darkening
There are several factors that would increase the degree and/or the frequency of the skin’s darkening. One of these factors is perspiration, where the salts, fats, and fatty acids from sweat promote the erosion of the metals that form part of the gold chain. Perspiration will only worsen the darkening around the neck, which is why it wouldn’t be ideal for working out with your gold chain on.
Environments with chlorine also speed up the rate of corrosion of the gold chain, and it may result in darkening of the skin too soon.
To protect your gold chain, you should avoid wearing the chain if you will be in environments with chlorine or bromine, for example, hot tubs or pools. Such environments often increase the rate of electrolysis in jewelry.
How do you get a chain stain off your neck?
One of the easiest ways for you to get rid of the gold chain stain off your neck is to run lemons/ lemon juice around the darkened areas of your neck.
Leave the lemon juice on for about 10 minutes then was it off using cold water.
Alternatively, you could scrub the darkened areas of the neck about once a week using a mix of coarsely ground oats and some tomato pulp, making a paste.
Rub this paste on the affected area. Be sure to moisturize the scrubbed area afterwards.
The darkening of your neck after wearing a gold chain could result from metallic abrasion or corrosion of the metals added to the gold.
Compounds in beauty products, harsh environmental conditions like exposure to perspiration in warm and moist conditions, as well as exposure to chemicals like chlorine act as catalysts for abrasion and corrosion.
Therefore, to avoid darkened skin, you should avoid these catalysts.
You should also store the jewelry appropriately and keep them from environments that would cause reactions. Also, avoid jewelry with nickel components if you have nickel allergies.