Skin allergies can be a very annoying problem. Many people are sensitive to chemicals, specific fabrics, and natural elements in the environment. Among common skin irritants are specific types of metal. If you're allergic or sensitive to certain metals, choosing jewelry can be a major hassle. How do you know which pieces will give you an annoying rash and which ones you can wear daily without any problems? Use these tips to choose hypoallergenic jewelry.
Avoid nickel: Many people who do not suffer from any other types of allergies are sensitive to nickel in jewelry. Nickel is affordable, so it is commonly used as a base metal in fashion jewelry and costume jewelry. It is also often used as an alloy for softer metals. Sterling silver jewelry is comprised of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent nickel. Platinum is one of the best nickel-free metals used in jewelry. Platinum is commonly alloyed with iridium, which is hypoallergenic. Gold is also a good choice for individuals with nickel allergies. Nickel is found in some white gold jewelry, so choose 18K gold, which contains 75 percent pure gold and only 25 percent alloy.
Choose nonmetal jewelry: You can avoid metal jewelry in general if you are allergic to nickel and other alloys. Beaded necklaces are a good solution for individuals with sensitive skin. Metallic beads give you the look of metal jewelry without the annoying rash. Rubber, cloth, and leather bracelets stand in nicely for chains and metal bangles. Beaded charm bracelets are a fun and hypoallergenic alternative to metal link bracelets.
Conduct a test: Scratch tests are helpful for individuals with allergies, but conducting your own test at home may be enough for you to decide which metals to avoid. Before investing in a fabulous, bold link chain made of sterling silver or gold, try wearing a sterling silver ring for several days to check for skin reactions. The skin on your neck is typically more sensitive than on your fingers and wrists, so if a ring elicits any reaction, consider avoiding necklaces made of the same metal.
Think long-term: Platinum necklaces are more expensive than sterling silver necklaces, so you may balk at prices when you start comparing hypoallergenic jewelry. Try to think of more expensive pieces as investments. Platinum and gold jewelry will not tarnish like sterling silver jewelry will. It won't rust or turn your skin green like some cheaper metals can and it doesn't scratch as easily as many more affordable pieces. In 10 years, you'll likely still have your platinum necklace, so a higher price tag may be well worth it.