You May Be Allergic to Your Wedding Ring…and Allergic to Nickel
Over the past few years I’ve noticed the skin around my ring finger can get especially dry and flaky in the winter. But I do also get dry between my other fingers, although not as bad, so I never really took much notice. I’d apply some cream and call it a day. But then, just the other day I realized I had a rash from my wedding ring! The skin was red, a little bumpy and extremely itchy just around where my wedding ring sits. The skin on my other fingers was not affected on either hand.
Could I be allergic to my wedding ring?! GASP!
I did what anyone would do in this type of situation and I googled it. And to my shock, pages after pages of information appeared with others experiencing this exact same thing – wedding ring rash.
What was even more interesting was the most common cause of wedding ring rash. White Gold. Yup. Turns out jewelry makers often use nickel to make yellow gold appear silver in color. And since nickel is the most common metal allergy, it makes sense that so many people have a “wedding ring allergy.”
Many people, myself included, don’t have a severe allergy to nickel, but may still be sensitive to nickel. When a piece of jewelry made from nickel is worn from time to time, it may not trigger a reaction, but with a wedding ring worn daily, it can certainly trigger an allergic reaction over time. And if you are truly allergic to nickel, then white gold is certainly off limits.
What I found interesting is that when I’m eating healthy (for me this means avoiding the whole long list of foods I’m sensitive to), then my wedding ring rash stays dormant. But when I’m enjoying foods I should be avoiding, my rash flares up and the itching can get pretty intense.
When I have a flare up, I’ve found removing the ring allows the skin time to heal. If I continue to wear my wedding ring, my rash will only worsen. I’ve been using Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream to relieve my red, irritated skin. If I let it go too long and my rash is really severe, wearing eczema gloves at night with the cream really helps.
But ultimately, I hope to prevent the rash from reoccurring in the future by avoiding foods I know cause inflammation in my body, which I determined through food elimination diets and tests like ALCAT.
Sadly I’ve had to stop wearing my wedding ring for a while since discovering I’m allergic to nickel. My husband jokes that this whole wedding ring allergy thing is only my desperate attempt at getting a new ring. Although he’s only kidding of course, little does he know that a new ring may be just what I need. And this time I know white gold is out of the question. Platinum seems like a good alternative, but apparently nickel is sometimes used in platinum jewelry as well, so not an option for me and most those with an allergy or sensitivity to nickel. I’ve been wearing a sterling silver ring to replace my wedding ring for around a month and so far so good. So, maybe I’ll be downgrading to silver instead of upgrading my wedding ring, which would make my husband quite happy. Ha!