Nickel is the biggest reason for jewelry allergies, and if you have sensitive skin, you will do everything possible to avoid jewelry with nickel or any other kinds of metals that may cause allergies.
The kind of jewelry you’d opt for is nickel-free and safe on the skin. But what exactly does it mean to have nickel-free jewelry?
Nickel-free jewelry definition
Before we look at the definition of nickel-free jewelry, we’ll first take a look at what nickel is and what the associated allergies mean.
Nickel refers to a silvery-white metal that features a slight golden tinge. It features a high-polish, and it’s a vital metal used in jewelry, as well as a number of other industries. Nickel is highly versatile, and it’s used as an alloy along with other metals, which makes it rather easy to work with. In addition to its versatility, nickel is also heat and corrosion resistant, hence its use in steam turbines in the power plants, aircraft turbines, and also in nuclear and energy plants.
In jewelry, nickel can be plated into jewelry, and there also are faucets that are nickel-plated. Nickel is also used in nickel-steel alloyed cookware as well as nickel-pigmented dishes.
That said, nickel-free jewelry is jewelry that is made without any nickel or trace amounts of nickel. And since nickel is one of the most popular metals alloyed with the metals used in jewelry, it means that the nickel-free jewelry could easily be jewelry made of non-metals.
It’s also important to know that nickel-free jewelry shouldn’t be confused with hypoallergenic jewelry because hypoallergenic jewelry might have trace amounts of nickel. And since the nickel is in trace amounts, the risk of allergies is too low. So, if you come across nickel-free jewelry, it means that the jewelry is made of fewer allergenic metals, including nickel.
It’s also important to note that the nickel-free jewelry sold in the US doesn’t always offer relief or remedy the problem for people with sensitive skin, primarily because, in the United States, nickel-free doesn’t mean anything. Therefore, you could legally attach the terms hypoallergenic and nickel-free to metals made with trace amounts of nickel.
Why is nickel used in jewelry making?
The main reason why jewelry manufacturers use nickel, despite knowledge of the fact that the metal causes allergies has to do with the fact that nickel alloys are quite toxic to human beings. However, we get enough nickel from the food we eat and the water we drink.
Manufacturers use nickel to reduce the cost of jewelry production. In other words, nickel is used to save money. As a result, nickel-free jewelry costs more than jewelry with nickel.
Why should we wear nickel-free jewelry? (3 reasons)
Finding jewelry that is affordable is everyone’s biggest hope. Unfortunately, most of the affordable jewelry contains nickel, and you may not think that investing in nickel-free jewelry is worth it, but there are really good reasons why you should wear nickel-free jewelry.
Reason 1 – There is an abundance of nickel all around us, and we are exposed to nickel every day
An interesting thing to note is that nickel is found in water and food, and most of the major sources of nickel exposure include oral exposure through foods and water. Nickel exposure is even more in the world today because of human pollution.
These are some of the other ways in which we are exposed to nickel. The sad bit about nickel is that this metal is a known carcinogen, and it causes cancer. And according to an article on the effects of nickel exposure by the Center for Disease Control, it has been determined by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that nickel metal is, in fact, a carcinogen and that nickel compounds are documented as human carcinogens.
Therefore, your body would be better off when it’s exposed to less nickel or nickel alloys.
- You are exposed to nickel when cooking through the nickel that is pigmented on dishes. The nickel is then released into the food we eat.
- The water we drink is also contaminated with nickel through the nickel-plated faucets.
- If you smoke, you absorb nickel into your body directly through and from the tobacco smoke. And since the atmosphere we live in is polluted from nickel-metal refining, as well as fossil fuel combustion.
- There is also nickel jewelry, which makes contact with your skin, increasing your exposure to nickel.
Reason 2 – Everyone Could Develop Nickel Allergies or Cancer
The body is powerful, and it boasts systems that keep the organs well-oiled. One of the most powerful organs is the kidney, and you will be happy to know that the kidneys have the ability to remove most of the nickel that is absorbed during the day.
However, you need to be careful about large doses of nickel or even constant exposure to the metal because you not only risk overworked kidneys but also cancer and severe nickel allergies.
You should know that you have the risk of nickel allergies at any age, whether you are 40, 60, or 80. In the worst cases, you could develop cancer.
Reason 3 – Nickel Allergies are Preventable if you Wear Nickel-Free Allergies.
You should also wear nickel-free jewelry to avoid nickel allergies. Keep in mind that in as much as you cannot control the atmosphere, pollution, or the negative effects of nickel consumption, you can easily avoid your exposure to nickel by choosing to wear jewelry free of nickel.
This is, without a doubt, the best preventative solution for anyone who doesn’t want to struggle with nickel allergies. The good news is that there are nickel-free earrings, rings, bracelets, and all other types of jewelry.
That said, did you know that nickel and metal allergies are rarer in men than women, with only 6% of all men suffering from contact dermatitis compared to women.
How to test if you’re really allergic to nickel
Follow these steps to test for nickel allergies:
- First, it’s important to note that if you have nickel allergies and you have a rash or irritation on the skin, there is always a good chance that you are allergic to nickel or any other dirty metals.
- You could also go to your physician to get the nickel allergy test. Besides looking at your skin to see the rash, the physician would also ask you if you’ve touched or worn any metallic jewelry containing nickel.
- To confirm or run more tests to determine the nature of the allergy, your doctor might order a skin patch test. The skin patch test involves the placement of small amounts of nickel or any other allergens on the patch. These metals would then be placed on the skin on the upper back about 48 hours after the initial test to see if there is a reaction or not.
That said, it’s important to keep in mind that skin irritation and a rash would be confused with a nickel allergy. To determine if you have skin irritation or an allergy, you’d have to change the soap you are using and also keep the skin free of moisture, especially around the ring. That said, the solution to the irritation would be to dry your hands well after you wash your skin. You’d also have to dry your skin well after you apply your hand cream and any other cosmetic product, and never wear the jewelry on damp skin.
Nickel-free jewelry is jewelry that is free of nickel, and it’s the safest option for you if you have sensitive skin.
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Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.