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A nickel allergy is very common among individuals throughout the world. Because nickel is commonly found in the environment, it is often difficult to avoid in everyday living. Nickel is most commonly found in costume jewelry, jeans studs/buttons, belts, coins, and even some foods. Typically individuals will breakout on their earlobe (from earrings), neck (necklaces), waist (jeans/pants clasps), fingers (rings), and wrist (watch). A nickel allergy is typically identified by a red, intensely itchy rash, that can occasionally turn into boils after contact with the metal. The more contact an individual has with nickel, the more likely they are to obtain a nickel allergy, which can show up at any age. Often the history associated with a patient’s rash can indicate if it is likely a nickel allergy. If confirmation is needed or the diagnosis is not certain, our providers can perform a patch allergy test, in which he will test multiple allergens (including nickel) on a small spot on your skin. After a day or two, the skin will produce a small red, itchy rash in the testing spot, signifying an allergy. While an allergy cannot be “treated”, the symptoms can be relieved by prescription antihistamines and corticosteroid creams.


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Nickel Allergy

Nickel Allergy Nickel allergy is common in the United States and affects 10% of children and adults. Contact with metals that contain nickel results in a thick, swollen, red and very itchy area (bumps and groups of bumps and blisters) where the nickel contacts with the skin. It is most often seen near the belly button and waist. This is because the metal snaps and rivets on jeans, as well as most metal belt buckles contain nickel. Other sights include the earlobes, wrist, neck or ring finger — areas where people commonly wear nickel containing jewelry (e.g. earrings, watch, necklace, and wedding rings or other rings).

Developing an allergy to nickel takes years. Once you (or your child) becomes allergic to nickel, any contact of the skin with metals that contain nickel causes the same reaction that poison ivy would cause. Nickel is found in most all metals, Earrings, necklaces and chains, bracelets, identification tags, watches, and belts with metal buckles. You (or your child) can continue to wear jeans, but you must purchase thick denim (or other) patches that can be ironed or sewn on over ALL metal snaps or rivets. Turn all jeans or pants inside out. Any metal that is seen must be covered with patches. Patches can be purchased at fabric stores, or at some craft stores.

Using bandages or clear nail polish to cover the metal is NOT good enough. The rash will not go away. Sewing patches over the metal using thin fabrics or simply tucking in shirts is also NOT enough to avoid contact with nickel at all times, though may help for a short period.

Avoiding jewelry that contains metal is important. Keep in mind that eyeglass frames, bobby pins, curlers, hair pins, as well as body piercing are sources of nickel.

It is recommended to purchase a nickel test kit and check any of the metals you wear. Non-nickel.com sells one for $16 plus an additional $6 for shipping.

Important Note:

For more information and treatment suggestions, visit our website at uvderm.com and/or Google the words: nickel allergy nz.

Treatment of the rash may include strong prescription topical or oral cortisone (corticosteroids). These must be used for, at least, three weeks as the rash takes a while to simmer down.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please call our office at (801)768-8800