Office Chic: Choosing Jewelry When You Have Nickel Allergy

Envious of your colleague’s exotic, long dangly costume earrings? If you have no issues with fake accessories, then go ahead and wear whatever you like. It’s a totally different story, however, when you have nickel allergy. You won’t have the luxury of choosing what accessory to wear. Still even if you have allergies, it doesn’t mean you can’t look chic at the office with your choice of jewelry.

Nickel What?

 Before tackling the challenge of nickel allergy, we need to define first what it is. People are allergic to many things and even certain metals can be an allergy trigger. Nickel allergy, which is also known as jewelry allergy, causes contact dermatitis when an allergic person’s skin is exposed to nickel. Some people have had their metal allergies since childhood. Others would develop this allergic reaction later on in life. Piercings can play a factor in triggering this allergy due to the fact that the open wound is often exposed to various metal particles, including nickel. An important thing you should know about metal allergies is that they never go away. Repeated exposure can actually worsen this condition if you have it.

Familiarize Allergy Symptoms

 Just because you don’t have nickel allergy doesn’t mean it can’t develop when you grow older. This is why you should at least have an idea of some of its symptoms in case you suddenly develop an allergic reaction to metal someday. The very main symptom of metal allergies–nickel allergy included–is contact dermatitis. The initial reactions can happen within 24 hours of being exposed to the allergen and they will disappear if the said cause is immediately removed and avoided. Although symptoms usually surround that patch of skin that has come in contact with jewelry that has nickel, it can spread to various parts of your body. The intensity of reactions ranges from mild to severe and may increase your vulnerability to other infections. In mild cases, the skin will only become red, swollen or itchy. In more serious cases, your skin can become dry and cracked, leading to the formation of painful blisters.

How to Choose the Right Jewelry

 Having jewelry or nickel allergy doesn’t mean you should just swear off jewelry forever. You can still wear accessories as long as you pay attention to certain factors. Stick to quality stuff and invest in either sterling silver or gold jewelry. The latter should be at least 14-carats. Although it’s a bit expensive, it is a very effective remedy. So that you won’t burn a hole in your wallet, invest in classic jewelry pieces that you can wear everyday to work and perhaps a couple of dressy ones for more formal affairs. You can check out sites like David Yurman and browse through their sterling silver collection for designs that you might like. Aside from sterling silver, another option you have is to purchase hypoallergenic jewelry, which has been specially treated and designed for people who might have mild metal sensitivities. Always check the metal composition of the jewelry before you buy so you can be sure it’s nickel-free.

About the Author

Based in San Diego California, Tiffany Matthews is a professional writer with over 5 years of writing experience. She also blogs about travel, fashion, and anything under the sun at, a group blog that she shares with her good friends. In her free time, she likes to travel, read books, and watch movies. You can find her on Twitter as @TiffyCat87.

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