Jewelry is common among both men and women. People wear it to announce their marital status, as simple decorations, or even as statement pieces.
While not quite as common as wearing jewelry, approximately 25 percent of the US population has an allergy of some kind. What many people don’t realize is that there is some crossover between allergies and wearing jewelry.
Some people who wear silver jewelry seem to develop allergy symptoms. Still, how can you know if you have a sterling silver allergy or if you’re reacting to something else?
Keep reading to learn how to tell if you have a jewelry allergy.
What Is a Sterling Silver Allergy?
What most people think of as a silver allergy isn’t a silver allergy. Pure silver is a very soft metal. In fact, it’s so soft that it makes for poor jewelry. That’s why there are different types of silver, such as fine silver and sterling silver.
What separates fine silver from sterling silver is that sterling silver is an alloy. In most cases, sterling silver has a bit of nickel in it. The nickel makes the silver a bit more durable, which makes it practical as a jewelry metal.
So, what most people consider a silver allergy is actually a nickel allergy. As you wear the silver jewelry, your body absorbs nickel ions.
Your immune system reacts to the ions as it would react to invading bacteria or viruses. This causes itchiness, rashes, hives, and other allergy symptoms on the skin.
The most reliable way to discover if you have a nickel allergy is through laboratory testing. Your doctor can take a blood sample and send it off for testing.
The lab will see if your blood reacts to the nickel ions or not. If your blood does react, you have a nickel allergy. If your blood doesn’t react, your allergy symptoms stem from something else. For example, you might have an allergy to your jewelry cleaning solution.
If a lab test isn’t in the cards for you, there are other options. One choice is for you to stop wearing that particular piece of jewelry.
You can also consider switching your current jewelry to jewelry made with hypoallergenic metals. Some hypoallergenic metals include rhodium, platinum, and titanium.
If you’re not sure where to get jewelry made with those metals, you can check out this store for hypoallergenic jewelry to see an example.
Sterling Silver Allergy and You
While a sterling silver allergy or nickel allergy isn’t that common, it does exist. If you have allergic symptoms to one or more pieces of silver jewelry, there is a chance that you have the allergy.
You can find out for sure by getting a lab test done on your blood. If lab testing isn’t for you, you can stop wearing silver. You can also change out your jewelry for jewelry made with hypoallergenic metals.
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