Are you Allergic to your jewelry?
The fairy tale goes like this: a couple meets, falls in love, exchanges rings and lives happily ever after. Nowhere does it mention that an itchy red rash might develop under the ring, turning that symbol of love into a source of irritation.
Yet thousands of women (to judge by postings on the Internet) and a growing number of men develop what's officially called "wedding-ring dermatitis" - not to be confused with the "seven-year itch" - and it can happen suddenly after years of ring-wearing bliss.
Allergic reactions to jewelry can occur anytime whenever you come in contact with metals you’re allergic to! Common of all the allergic reactions to jewelry is nickel allergy. This is because nickel is a metal used in most costume jewelry to provide a shiny finish and smooth surface. Zippers, snaps, eyelash curlers, and belt buckles also contain it.
It is predominantly a problem in women, simply because of their greater contact with nickel. For men, the problem is usually with the wristwatch. About 17% of women and 3% of men have a nickel allergy.
As with other allergies, a reaction to nickel can develop seemingly out of the blue, even years after a person's first exposure. Once the allergy is triggered, it may persist lifelong. A reaction to a particular piece of jewelry may occur suddenly because nickel salts tend to come to the surface years later, or after protective coating has worn away. You get more exposure to nickel the older the piece of jewelry is. That's why you can wear a ring for 20 years and suddenly it starts causing problems.
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Allergic contact dermatitis, as doctors call it, shows various symptoms for the allergic reaction. The allergic symptoms may vary from mild to severe based on the patient’s immune response to the allergen. Few may experience minor itching and redness while others can get a more severe reaction, with persistent swelling and poison-ivy type blisters that spread to other areas of the body.
Nickel isn't the only metal that can cause allergic reaction, although others are much rarer. Dermatologists are increasingly finding allergies to palladium, a platinum-like metal that is gaining popularity. Platinum itself is generally considered safe from allergies, as is 24-karat gold, sterling silver and stainless steel. But even those are occasionally mixed with nickel, or seem to cause allergic reactions on their own.
Therefore, no matter what a ring is made of, it can cause a different kind of reaction or irritation. Besides an allergic reaction caused due to metal, a build-up of soap, detergent or toothpaste on the ring can also cause skin allergies. Irritant Contact Dermatitis, as it is officially known, occurs when the skin's normally protective layer is worn away. Because rings often trap moisture, this wearing away can happen easily to that circle of skin. Soap is an irritant. It can stay on your finger for hours. An alcohol-based sanitizer may be less irritating, because alcohol evaporates quickly.
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You might avoid wearing those particular metal-made pieces to get rid of the allergic reaction. But the truth is – you can still fall prey to it. How? Not necessary, we are always aware of the composition of everything we use in our daily lives. Even though we know the composition, an allergic reaction can start appearing anytime. E.g. you like wearing fancy earrings – but, all of sudden they started causing you persistent itching and rashes over the earlobe – what will you do then? Would you simply stop wearing them? Not easy, right? You will feel sad.
Not to worry, because homeopathy has a cure for allergies. Homeopathy medicines for allergies help in reducing the intensity, frequency and duration of attacks, increasing disease-free period. Also, it aims at building immunity for improved health and a better quality of life.
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