I recently read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal called "Till Dermatitis Do Us Part" (" Until the dermatitis separates us "). It told the story of a number of women allergic to their wedding rings. According to the story, these women visited their doctors saying that their rings were causing rashes.
All allergists and dermatologists suspected that it was unromantic allergic contact dermatitis or irritant contact dermatitis. Both fall into the category of "wedding ring dermatitis," according to the article in the Wall Street Journal. So, what is there in a wedding ring that could cause irritation?
Consider applying a layer of clear nail polish on anything that contains nickel that you can not avoid touching.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Nickel in the rings
Allergic contact dermatitis caused by a ring can usually be associated with a nickel allergy. This metal is present in more pieces of jewelry than you imagine. Sterling silver, 24-carat gold and platinum rings probably will not bother you if you have an allergy to nickel; unless the manufacturer has added a bit in the piece.
If you think you will avoid an allergy to nickel by buying a white gold ring, it is not true. White in white gold comes from added nickel.
Nickel is not only found in jewelry pieces. It is a metal commonly used in all types of household products, from sink faucets to the plates of light switches and certain types of ceiling fans.
Palladium can also cause an allergic reaction in some people, doctors told the Wall Street Journal.
Symptoms of a Nickel Allergy
According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of a nickel allergy include:
• A rash or hives under or around the skin that is in contact with the piece of jewelry • Itching • A change in the color of the skin, usually red • Dry areas of skin that may remind you of a burn • Blisters and fluid exuding from the site (if you have a serious outbreak)
Solutions for nickel allergies If you think you have a nickel allergy, visit a doctor. An allergist can perform a test to determine with certainty what is causing your symptoms.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology suggests that you consider placing a layer of clear nail polish on anything containing nickel that you can not avoid touching. I recommend that you ask your doctor about special sprays to cover objects that have nickel.
Some foods, including chocolate, coffee, tea, beer, apricot (apricot) and nuts may contain small amounts of nickel.Make sure your nickel allergy does not include food allergies. Check with your allergist to know the details.
The other type of "wedding ring dermatitis," called irritant contact dermatitis, occurs when soap and other cleaning products get trapped under the ring, or are in frequent contact with the skin and erode it. This can happen even if you are not allergic to ingredients in the cleaning product. Rinsing the skin under your ring carefully and drying it can help prevent this reaction.
About the author
Boyan Hadjiev, MD, has practiced medicine for five years. He is twice certified in Internal Medicine (2003) and Allergy and Immunology (2005).
Dr. Hadjiev graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in biology and an MD from the Cleveland Clinic-Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.