Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Why I have redness and itching after wearing non-precious metal jewelry?????"

ZocdocAnswersWhy I have redness and itching after wearing non-precious metal jewelry?????


I'm female, 23 and experience this problem once in a while for about few years now. I don't have any other allergies. It all started in middle school after wearing regular watch. My cuff got itchy and red under the bracelet. Once I took off the watch after few days everything got normal. Now I can't wear watches or jewelry. Only gold/silver. Even my tungsten carbide wedding ring gives me problems. Sometimes I need to use Anti-itch cream. I never went to dermatologist cause I heard there is no treatment for that...only not to wear things with metal....


This is an extremely common problem. What you are describing is called allergic contact dermatitis in medical terms. It is an itchy red rash that forms when your skin comes in contact with a substance (in your case, non-precious metal jewelry) which is normally harmless. The most common element that causes the sensitivity is nickel. Nickel allergy can occur at any age. Nickel is not only found in inexpensive metal jewelry but also in eyeglass frames, zippers, hooks and belt buckles so be careful with these as well. Treatments can help reduce the symptoms of the dermatitis but you are correct in that once you develop an allergy to nickel you will always be sensitive to it and therefore the easiest, most effective, treatment is simply to avoid contact with anything containing nickel. If you inadvertently come into contact with a nickel-containing substance and develop a more severe rash that does not respond to simple removal of the substance and over the counter anti-itch creams it is important to see a dermatologist or your primary care doctor who can prescribe topical (or sometimes oral) corticosteroids to help your symptoms. Do not scratch the rash as this can lead to secondary bacterial infections.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.