Have you ever found your perfect piece of jewelry, only to be severely disappointed the next day when you break out into itchy rashes?
Then, you may have a metal allergy. Symptoms include rashes on the skin, redness, swelling, and itching where the metal makes contact with the skin. This can be especially uncomfortable somewhere like the ears if you unknowingly wear a pair of earrings made of metal you are allergic to.
Knowing the difference between hypoallergenic jewelry and normal jewelry can help you make an informed decision. You may also be wondering: is swiss silver hypoallergenic?
Read on to learn everything you need to know about swiss silver and allergies.
IS SWISS SILVER HYPOALLERGENIC?
The answer to that question is: it depends.
Genuine swiss silver gets the label “swiss” because it must be at least 92.5% pure silver. However, the remaining 7.5% can be filled in by other types of metal. Most of the time, the remaining percentage is copper. Copper is great because it is also a non-allergenic metal.
However, There are “less-than-reputable” jewelry manufacturers (mostly in China) that will mix in cheaper options like nickel. Approximately 5-10% of the population has a nickel allergy. The nickel allergy is also the most common metal allergy. Coming into contact with any nickel when you have this allergy results in skin irritation and itching.
Something else you may see from dubious manufacturers is “silver” jewelry that’s actually just silver plated. Silver-plated means that there is a thin layer of silver coating over the base metal. This thin layer of silver can easily flake or scratch off, exposing your skin to whatever metal is underneath – usually inexpensive brass or other cheap base metals.
Another term on jewelry labels is “silver filled”. This term can be quite confusing, as it may lead you to believe that this means that the middle of the jewelry is filled with silver. That is not the case.
Silver filled jewelry is essentially just a thicker layer of silver plating, supposedly thick enough so that it won’t flake off. However, this thick layer of silver plating does not guarantee that you will not get an allergic reaction. It may be cheaper in cost, but the uncomfortable symptoms of an allergic reaction may not be worth it.
TYPES OF HYPOALLERGENIC METAL
Below are some other types of metal that are hypoallergenic, and would be great options for those who experience allergic reactions.
Gold is a great hypoallergenic option. Gold is measured by different karat counts. 24kt gold is the highest karat count, it is pure gold. It means that 24 out of 24 karats are made of pure gold. However, 24kt gold is very soft, oftentimes too soft for jewelry. Most of the time, you will find jewelry made out of 14kt gold, which means that 14 out of 24 karats are made of pure gold. The other 10 parts are made from other metals.
Small to very small amounts of nickel can be found in the other parts. But most people who are allergic to nickel may still wear these pieces without a reaction if they purchase high-quality gold. These pieces are usually a high percentage of gold and a very small percentage of other metals.
Platinum is a hypoallergenic metal and a great choice for jewelry. Although it tends to usually be a bit more expensive than other metals, it rarely tarnishes and won’t leave you with an itchy rash. Platinum is also known as one of the strongest, most durable metals in the world. So investing in platinum pieces is a great idea because you know that they will last forever, if not for a long time.
Rhodium is in the same metal family as platinum and is a hypoallergenic metal as well. It is used to “finish” white gold and is responsible for the long-term shine and luster of white gold pieces. Although it also tends to be a bit more expensive than other metals, it rarely tarnishes and won’t leave you with an itchy rash.
Many designer jewelry companies are now using rhodium to finish their sterling silver jewelry pieces as well. This rhodium plating over sterling silver gives the customer the best of both worlds: A reasonable price point + anti-tarnish qualities of more expensive white gold jewelry.
HOW TO DEAL WITH IT
So if you have a pretty severe nickel allergy. Nickel is found in cheap jewelry, costume jewelry, and despite common belief, it’s actually in *most* sterling silver. you will found that nickel allergies can worsen if not taken care of, and seem to act up more during the warmer seasons and with jewelry that hasn’t been cleaned properly. Since you realizing this issue, you must do everything you can to prevent nickel from touching your ears.
Coat all of your ear wires with three coats of clear nail polish. It doesn’t matter if the metal that is irritating you “technically” shouldn’t contain nickel – if it bothers you, put a barrier between that metal and your skin.
Dab cortisone cream on your irritated lobes or wherever your skin is acting up because of jewelry contact. It’ll calm it down.
We hope these tips can be pretty helpful to deal with your metal allergies.
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