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, Dr. Myers 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.
Avoid Nickel Allergy Breakouts
To avoid nickel allergy breakouts, Dr. Myers advises patients to be conscious of the jewelry they purchase and wear (pure metals such as platinum, gold, sterling silver, and aluminum are safe.) Scissors, combs, cooking utensils, zippers, and fasteners are all common sources of nickel that should be avoided by individuals with the allergy. While jean buttons and studs typically carry nickel, they don’t have to be avoided completely. Simply sewing patches on the inside of your jeans over the metal pieces will protect your skin from coming into contact with with the metal.
If you have questions concerning Nickel Allergy, call our office and schedule an appointment to meet with Dr. Myers. At your visit, Dr. Myers will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan for your condition.
Dr. David Myers
Dr. David Myers is a board certified dermatologist and Fellow of the American Society for Mohs Surgery. His expertise and attention to detail make him a trusted doctor in his community.