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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.

Am I allergy to my wedding ring?

Am I allergic to my wedding ring?

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.

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Related Post: Our Eczema Trials: Elimination Diet (How You Can Do It Too!)

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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!

Are you allergic to your wedding ring or allergic to nickel? What steps have you taken in order to avoid a reaction or to treat your symptoms?

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. maryherrington0401 #

    I am not only allergic to my white gold and platinum wedding band, but also ALL foods containing nickel! My nickel allergy is so severe it is now classified as Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome, or SNAS. Believe it or not, I am now allergic to most water. BUT, on the bright side, I HAVE figured out new and innovative ways of dealing with it. Check out my parenting blog at http://www.happinellas.com and read about the Allergic To Water Post. 🙂

    Like

    December 11, 2015
    • Wow! I’ve never heard of this. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I’m sorry you and your daughters are going through this, but I do hope you find a way to heal.

      Like

      December 15, 2015
  2. Kat #

    Yes I already know I am highly allergic to many foods, environmental, medications, etc. I also have multiple autoimmune illnesses, have allergy induced asthma….My life greatly improved thanks to a different allergist I went to. He only helped me with allergies that were triggering my asthma. Thanks to him I can still breathe after I pass someone who has perfume on, or I can now go to grocery stores without reacting to the isles with soaps, when the neighbors mow their lawn I don’t have asthma attacks now, etc. However I am still reacting to my wedding rings and so wish I could wear them if only for a few hours.

    Like

    July 14, 2015
    • Hi Kat – Me too! I’m still suffering with rashes around my rings. I’ve stopped wearing them and I find that so incredibly sad 😦 Have you found any metals you’re ok with? Jennifer

      Like

      July 16, 2015
      • Kat #

        Jennifer, I recommend you try titanium jewelry. Make sure it is the top grade like better piercing shops sell. A few years ago at good jewelry stores I could only find men’ s wedding rings. Probably by now you might even be able to buy nice looking titanium women’s wedding rings. My friend bought me top grade titanium ear wires off line but that company has since discontinued those. Good luck finding jewelry you can wear.

        Like

        July 17, 2015
      • Thank you for the idea Kat!

        Like

        August 11, 2015
  3. I get a rash under my rings as well but I think it is a sensitivity to soap that isn’t fully rinsed off after washing my hands or dishes. I have channel set diamonds on both my engagement ring, wedding band and an anniversary band. There are many places for detergents and bacteria to hide. I found that cleaning the area with hydrogen peroxide and using either the manuka honey cream or some steroid lotion helped it heal faster. It is strange to walk around without a ring on after almost 18 years!

    Like

    July 1, 2015
    • Hi Sarah – I was thinking it could be dirt too, so I gave mine a very good scrub and they still cause a reaction for me. This is why I’m fairly sure it’s the nickel causing this reaction. But who knows for sure. I’m glad you found the Manuka Honey Skin Cream works for you too! Jennifer

      Like

      July 2, 2015
  4. Kat #

    Yes, I am allergic to all jewelry. I break out in red sores from white gold (which are my engagement and wedding rings), sterling silver, and cheap metal. I hate it as I have never been able to wear jewelry for only a very short time. I finally stopped wearing any jewelry or metals period. It is nice to hear of someone who has problems even with good expensive jewelry such as white gold wedding rings. A friend bought me titanium ear wires and I got my ears pierced yet again and was able to wear them for short periods but even those started to cause me sore ears. Is anyone else like me? I never considered possibility that if I was eating foods I was sensitive to then my metal issues might flare up. Thank you for posting this.

    Like

    June 30, 2015
    • Hi Kat – I think it’s quite possible your body is super sensitive because of an underlying issue. Possibly you’re highly allergic because you’re already exposed to so many allergens on a daily basis, like environmental or food allergies. It would be interesting to go in for some IgE allergy testing for things other than metals, just to see. And better yet would be an elimination diet, which will reveal food sensitivities too. Jennifer

      Like

      July 2, 2015
  5. Dee #

    I’m severely allergic to nickel… to the point where I can rub it on my skin and I will break out in hives. I’m very surprised that the sterling silver is on for you, as it typically had a high nickel content. I can’t wear sterling because of it. I also cannot wear surgical steel (piercings, earrings) I have found that I am least reactive to platinum. Good luck.

    Like

    June 30, 2015
    • Thanks for your comment Dee! Good to know that platinum is ok for you, maybe I’ll give it a try!

      Like

      July 2, 2015

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