Have you ever encountered a piece of jewelry that turns your skin green? Do you wonder why this happens?
It is actually a resultant reaction that occurs due to the metal content in your jewelry.
So, what metals turn skin green, and how can you avoid them?
It is a famous tale: you buy the perfect piece of jewelry, and a few times after wearing it, you start noticing a green film on your skin.
Luckily, this green discoloration is not harmful to your health. When your jewelry turns your skin green, it usually is due to a chemical reaction between your skin and the jewelry.
Not all metals turn your skin green. Let us find out which metals frequently turn your skin green.
Top 5 Reasons why jewelry metals turn your skin green
1. Metal abrasion
A common practice for many people is to apply various lotions and perfumes on their skin before wearing their jewelry.
Some metals used in making jewelry react with the chemicals available in these products, forming the green film at the point of contact with your skin.
Often, the reaction occurs in moist or humid conditions.
2. Your body’s acidity level
Another common reason why jewelry metals turn your skin green is because of the pH level of your body.
The higher the level of acidity on your body, the faster the piece of jewelry turns your skin green.
Depending on the type of metal content in your jewelry, it reacts with the acid salts, causing it to oxidize and create the green color on your skin.
Similarly, when you perspire, and you are wearing jewelry with copper, your skin will likely turn green due to the acid salts excreted in the sweat.
3. Iron deficiency
Some professionals believe that the green film from jewelry metals is because of the lack of sufficient iron in the body.
When you have low iron levels in your body, its pH level becomes more acidic.
The acidic environment allows the metal content in your jewelry to react or oxidize to form the green discoloration on your skin.
The same goes for pregnant women who have jewelry that turns their skin green.
4. Corrosion of the jewelry
Some jewelry metals are not corrosion-resistant.
Under specific conditions, some metals tend to corrode and tarnish, leading to the green stain on your skin.
Luckily, you can easily fix this by plating them or applying a coat of clear lacquer.
5. The metal content in cheap jewelry
One of the significant drawbacks of the jewelry industry is that it is full of counterfeit products.
Unfortunately, you may purchase a piece of jewelry, thinking it is high-quality gold, but come to find out later on that it is only gold plated.
Once the gold plating wears off and exposes the base metal, it may cause a chemical reaction that may stain your skin with a green color.
Similarly, high-end pieces of jewelry may also turn your skin green if they consist of metal alloys with a significant amount of metals like copper, nickel, or silver.
What metals turn skin green?
As expected, not all jewelry metals turn your skin green. Here is a comprehensive list of some popular metals known to stain your skin with a green color.
One of the most common metals known to turn your skin green is copper. (Is copper jewelry safe to wear? You can read this post here!)
This metal oxidizes in moist or humid conditions to form copper oxide, which is responsible for turning skin green.
Alternatively, some jewelry makers use copper to strengthen and make them more durable.
Depending on the amount of copper content used, it readily tarnishes, causing skin discoloration.
Nickel metal is a prevalent metal allergen among many people with sensitive skin.
It also stains your skin with a green color. However, you may experience some inflammation along with skin discoloration.
Many jewelers advise buyers to stay away from jewelry that contains nickel since they often cause allergic reactions.
Some common allergic reactions include skin redness, itchiness, skin rashes, and in severe cases, you may find pus build-up in your skin.
3. Does sterling silver turn skin green?
Sterling silver is a precious metal used in the making of jewelry since ancient times.
Jewelry made from sterling silver contains at least 7.5% of copper. Pure silver is available in liquid form.
As a result, jewelry manufacturers blend or alloy the pure silver with another metal, mainly copper, to increase its workability and durability.
Copper tends to oxidize, forming copper oxide, which readily stains your skin with a green color.
Wearing lotions and perfumes with certain chemicals accelerate the oxidizing process of copper, causing the green color to appear sooner on your skin.
4. Do alloys turn skin green?
Various alloys make jewelry. Depending on the metal composition, jewelry metals with copper, nickel, or sterling silver readily react or oxidize to form the green film on your skin.
However, pieces of jewelry with rhodium plating do not discolor the skin.
However, the rhodium plating tends to wear off over time, exposing the base metals, which may, in turn, discolor your skin.
5. Does brass and bronze turn skin green?
Despite their affordable nature, jewelry made from copper alloys, like bronze and brass jewelry, are known to turn skin green.
Bronze jewelry consists of copper and tin, while brass jewelry mainly contains copper and zinc metals.
The copper content in the metals reacts with body lotions, perfumes, and excess sweat on your body, causing it to oxidize and change its color.
6. Does 18k gold turn finger green?
Contrary to popular belief, some gold jewelry will turn your skin green.
Purchasing cheap gold jewelry often means you are not buying legit gold pieces, but perhaps gold-plated jewelry.
The higher the price of your gold jewelry, the more its content of pure gold. More so, the higher the number of karts in your piece of gold jewelry, the more gold it contains.
Pure gold is a hypoallergenic metal and is referred to as 24k gold. You can read more about pure gold in this post.
Therefore, many dermatologists advise clients to buy high-karat gold jewelry to avoid any adverse skin reactions.
18K gold consists of 18 parts of pure gold and six parts of metal alloys, which may include copper, silver, or nickel.
The content of the metal alloys is what may occasionally turn your skin green. Most jewelry makers add various metals to gold to make it more durable and affordable for the wearer.
5 Tips to prevent your jewelry from turning your skin green
1. Use a polymer barrier
A practical solution to prevent your jewelry from turning your skin green is by using a barrier product, like Jeweler’s Skin Guard.
Barrier products are specifically designed to seal the piece of jewelry that causes skin discoloration, preventing any staining on your skin.
One application of the barrier product is effective for as long as two months. More so, you can apply the polymer barrier as often as you wish.
2. Avoid cheap jewelry
Although skin discoloration does not recognize cheap and high-end jewelry, avoiding cheap jewelry aids in preventing your skin from turning green.
Jewelry made from poor-quality materials is more likely to leave a green imprint on your skin, which is annoying for anyone.
Inquire about the materials used in the making of the jewelry before purchasing it, or better yet, test the metals in the jewelry to see if they will cause a skin reaction.
3. Apply a coat of nail polish
Regularly applying a generous amount of clear nail polish to the inside of your jewelry also prevents it from turning your skin green.
The coating creates a barrier between the metal content and your skin.
However, you must re-apply the polish as often as twice a week, depending on how frequently you wear the ring.
Make sure your ring completely dries after applying the nail polish before wearing it.
4. Keep your skin dry at all times
One of the common reasons why jewelry turns your skin green is because of the chemical reaction between your body products and the metal components in the jewelry.
By keeping your skin dry and void of any soaps, lotions, perfumes, or make-up products, you can rest easy knowing that your skin will remain in its natural color.
Remember to remove your jewelry when going swimming or performing daily chores.
5. Buy hypoallergenic jewelry
Hypoallergenic jewelry is jewelry made from metals that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction among people with sensitive skin.
Some hypoallergenic jewelry metals include high-karat gold, stainless steel, platinum, titanium, niobium, palladium, and tungsten carbide, among many others.
These types of jewelry are gaining vast popularity worldwide and are available in several unique and modern designs.
Before buying any jewelry, you have to make sure it is comfortable to wear for long durations.
Avoid purchasing jewelry metals that turn your skin green like those discussed in this article.
However, if you already own such jewelry, there are ways you can prevent them from staining your skin.
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.