4 Essential Tips to Avoid Nickel Allergy

Even the little things can provide the most discomforting experience to people with skin allergies and sensitive skin. 

If your skin becomes itchy, red, and blistered after wearing clothing or accessories with metal in them, you might be dealing with a skin condition called nickel allergy.

Defined as one of the most common causes of contact allergic dermatitis, nickel allergy develops when the sensitive skin rubs against items containing nickel. Although some flare-ups only occur after repeated or prolonged exposure to nickel-containing metals, others experience breakouts even brief contact with them. 

Although the exact causes of nickel allergy are not yet fully understood, certain factors may make you more prone to developing a nickel allergy. According to MayoClinic, the following may be at increased risk of acquiring nickel allergy:

  • Those who wear ear or body piercings 
  • People who work with metal such as metalworkers, tailors, hairdressers, and the like. 
  • Females as they tend to have more piercings than males 
  • Or those who have a family history of nickel allergy or to any other metals

"An allergic reaction [to nickel] usually begins within hours to days after exposure to nickel," it said in an article, noting that the symptoms concerning the condition include rash or bumps on the skin, itching, redness, changes in skin color, dryness, blisters, and draining fluid in severe cases. 

DermNet NZ, on the other hand, explained that nickel dermatitis usually occurs around the earlobes (from earrings), the wrists (from a watch strap), and the lower abdomen (from buttons). However, allergic reactions vary and may appear in other places on your body.

While the allergy itself seems difficult to be prevented since most nickel-containing metals are found almost everywhere, perhaps our best defense to ward off possible allergic reactions is to avoid nickel-rich items at all costs. Here are the 5 essential tips to prevent nickel from causing discomfort to your skin. 

1. DON'T WEAR TOO MUCH JEWELRY 

Who knew that trivial items like rings, bracelets, and necklaces can create problematic experiences? When you have sensitive skin, it's best to take off any jewelry made from harmful materials. 

In the same article, MayoClinic urged people to "look for jewelry made from such metals as nickel-free stainless steel, surgical-grade stainless steel, titanium, 18-karat yellow gold, or nickel-free yellow gold and sterling silver."

As for the piercings, search for a piercing studio that utilizes sterile, nickel-free, or surgical-grade stainless steel needles in sealed packages. Whatever you're planning to get, always check the metal content of the products before buying them. 

2. CHECK YOUR HOME 

Another step to make your day allergy-free lies in eliminating unwanted irritants and allergens directly from where you spend most of your time. 

When at home, choose tools and kitchenware with plastic or wooden handles. As per DermNet NZ, cupboard handles, kitchen utensils, cutlery, toaster, metal teapots, scissors, needles, pins, thimble, vacuum cleaners, torches, bath plugs, and many other items may contain nickel. 

You may also check your items as they may have nickel with nickel that may cause dermatitis such as phones, lipstick holders, powder compacts, handbag catches, cigarette lighters, razors, keys, key rings, knives, and pens. If you use these regularly, create a barrier between you and the nickel by wearing gloves or covering them with plastic. 

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3. TAKE LOW-NICKEL DIET 

When home treatments or over-the-counter medications don't seem to work, try changing your diet. DermNet NZ stated that a "diet low in nickel-containing foods has been suggested to patients with severe contact allergy to nickel." Click here to see the list of foods to eat and foods to avoid when you have a nickel allergy.

4. SHIFT TO ORGANIC COTTON CLOTHES

Little things lurking in your clothes like metal zips, bra hooks, suspender clips, hairpins, buttons, studs, spectacle frames likely contain nickel. Turn your wardrobe inside out and replace nickel-containing garments with hypoallergenic and organic clothes. 

Our collections, ranging from menswear and womenswear to accessories and face masks, do not aggravate skin conditions and prevent flare-ups from happening using GOTS-certified and 100% chemical-free organic cotton fabric. 

For a start, view our Nothing-But-Cotton collection and see for yourself the allergy-free and itch-free experience that the customers are talking about. 

TAKEAWAY: Aside from these tips, people with nickel allergy should check their eyeglasses and replace the metal frames with titanium or plastic. Also, you might want to change your metal watch bands into something made out of leather, cloth, or plastic.

While these tips may apply to most cases, kindly note that each skin reacts differently to various circumstances. When your treatment plan does not work anymore and the flare-ups worsen after minimizing your exposure to your triggers, immediately book a telemedicine appointment with your dermatologist. 

DISCLAIMER: The information presented on Cottonique is not, and will never be, intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content materials found on this site, from text, treatments, outcomes, charts, graphics, photographs, and study findings, are created and published for general informational purposes only. It should not, in any way, be construed as a standard of care to be followed by a user of the website. 

Thus, readers are encouraged to verify any information obtained from this website with other accurate references and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with their physician. As Cottonique strives to help those with allergies live with better days, the hypoallergenic apparel brand encourages everyone to always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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