What Types Of Jewelry Can You Wear If You Have Sensitive Skin?

Jewelry can be a creative way to express yourself, from favorite everyday pieces to costume jewelry for celebrations to sentimental pieces gifted by loved ones. You may even find yourself drawn to the resurgence of mood rings in a throwback to the '90s era (via Complex). There are so many ways to be creative and unique with your jewelry choices, but sometimes you may find your skin becoming irritated after wearing specific items in your jewelry box.

Using the nostalgic mood ring trend for example, many pieces of jewelry are made from metals and materials that don't mesh with everyone's skin. Like other jewelry, mood rings can be crafted from an array of materials that range in quality and purity, per Thought Co. Often, mood rings are made from sterling silver, but it isn't uncommon to find mood rings made from plated metals, meaning that the primary metal composition is coated in a thin layer of another metal or material. Mood rings with plated solutions frequently involve brass with layers of gold or silver on top. People with sensitive skin can be prone to developing irritation from metals like these. It may be thought that the more expensive a piece of jewelry, the higher its quality and less likely it is to cause a skin reaction. However, it really comes down to the materials used to make jewelry, not the price tag. Here's what you should know about certain types of jewelry when you have sensitive skin.

Determine sensitivities to different materials

For everyone, sensitive skin or otherwise, it can be extremely helpful to determine the specific materials in jewelry and other apparel that may interact negatively with your skin. When it comes to jewelry, metals are usually the culprits in skin reactions, particularly on sensitive skin (via Long's Fine Jewelers). Materials in jewelry that can cause allergic reactions, irritation, or adversely affect skin include alloy metals, nickel, and scratchy fabric or string used in some jewelry pieces. On the flipside, platinum is a material that can help prevent sensitive reactions by acting as a barrier when used to coat materials that would otherwise pose potential irritation. Knowing where your jewelry comes from and all of the materials used in its creation is essential in determining which pieces are safe to wear and which aren't, especially if you have sensitive skin. You can always ask a jeweler for background on a piece you're interested in buying, or email a company for more information on the jewelry they sell so that you can be educated on the materials used to create various pieces.

Metal hypersensitivity is the medical term for sensitive reactions to certain types of metals, per The TMJ Association, Ltd. Metals like chromium, cobalt, and nickel are common causes of metal hypersensitivity. To determine which metals and other products you may be sensitive to when it comes to jewelry, your healthcare provider can administer allergen and metal sensitivity tests to discern information about your body's unique reactions to materials used in jewelry.

Treating jewelry-related reactions on sensitive skin

Should you have a reaction to a piece of jewelry, knowing how to identify the root cause and treat your symptoms is important. You may be surprised to learn that nickel is one of the most common allergic reactions experienced on the skin, according to WebMD. From earrings to necklaces to rings or even clothing, products made from nickel can lead to an allergic reaction on the skin called contact dermatitis. You may not notice an allergic reaction to jewelry immediately since it can take as long as 12 hours to a full day for symptoms to become visible, but if you find an area of skin where you've recently worn a piece of jewelry becoming itchy, dry, blistering, or developing a rash, then you may have a nickel allergy.

There are many at-home methods you can use to treat irritated skin following nickel exposure, but always be mindful of potential infection and seek an assessment from your healthcare provider if you become concerned about symptoms. TheĀ Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding jewelry you think may be causing an allergic reaction so that your symptoms don't worsen. For itching and irritation, antihistamines can have some effect in relieving symptoms, as can topical corticosteroid and nonsteroidal creams. In intense cases, your doctor may prescribe prednisone or another oral corticosteroid.

Go with hypoallergenic metals

Though there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to finding jewelry for sensitive skin since each person's skin is unique, there are popular types of jewelry for people with sensitivities to metals like nickel. Known as hypoallergenic metals or hypoallergenic jewelry, pieces with this label are void of reaction-causing metals like copper and nickel, per Lexie Jordan Fine Jewelry. Jewelry pieces made from alloy metals are typically a combination of copper, nickel, and other metals that are prone to cause reactions in those with sensitive skin. Finding jewelry specifically labeled as hypoallergenic can help you fill your jewelry box with a collection of pieces free from nickel, copper, and alloy metals.

Another option for expressing yourself and enjoying the adornment of jewelry without having to worry about contact dermatitis or irritation from reaction-causing metals is to go with metal-free jewelry (via Hollywood Life). Silicone, resin, wood, beads, acrylic, and even shells are materials found in metal-free jewelry options. You can even rock a string or threaded friendship bracelet for another throwback to the '90s as a way to both wear jewelry that won't irritate your sensitive skin and serve as a visible symbol of your friendships.