Nickel Allergy


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nickel-allergiesHow to avoid nickel dermatitis

We used to find it in our five-cent pieces, but now it seems to pop up everywhere else. And for many people it leaves pain and irritation in its path. “It” is the metal nickel. And although it is no longer used to make a five-cent money piece, nickel is present in many household articles, such as jewelry, cooking utensils, glass dyes, ceramics and batteries. Nickel is even found in some food products because of the nickel found in fungicides and in the equipment used in food processing and packaging. The problem with nickel is that it can cause an allergic skin reaction known as “nickel dermatitis.”

But for those who are, simple skin contact with nickel can cause a skin lesion that is red, swollen and blistered. The skin lesion may go on to become discolored and leathery. The skin cells involved in the lesion become dry, itchy and bark-like. In some people, the skin reaction then progresses to become a hives-like reaction, with red bumps that have crusty tops on them. The bumps are ugly, itchy and irritating. Women suffer from nickel dermatitis more often than men. Women seem to get the aggravating skin problem because of their contact with household articles, whereas men seem to come in contact with nickel at work in industrial settings. The best way to avoid getting nickel dermatitis is to avoid coming in contact with nickel.

How do I avoid nickel products?

Since, a lot of my jewelry and cooking utensils contain the metal nickel! Here are some simple tips on how to avoid skin contact with nickel:

  • Try coating any nickel-containing jewelry with clear nail polish.
  • Replace buttons that contain nickel with brass, wooden or plastic buttons.
  • Consider replacing your nickel-containing kitchen utensils with stainless steel utensils.
  • If you are getting your ears pierced, avoid anything except stainless steel needles and posts.
  • After your ears are first pierced, leave the stainless steel posts in your ears for about three weeks to make sure your ears have healed completely. Then try different earring posts to see which ones you might react to.
  • Even gold earring posts occasionally contain nickel, so be sure to test all your jewelry around the house before wearing it out to a fancy occasion.
  • If you work m an industrial setting where you might be exposed to nickel, wear protective clothing like long pants and sleeves and heavy-duty vinyl gloves.
  • Certain food and vitamin products.

Although you probably can’t avoid nickel 100 percent of the time, following these simple tips will help decrease your exposure to nickel and cut down on your problems with nickel dermatitis.

Related Post: Jewelry Allergy.

MEDICAL SOURCE: Cutis (45,2:87)

Nickel Allergy

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