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Nickel Me this....

Updated: Aug 7, 2021

Get to know the owner Part 2

A Cactus tree with a set of wedding rings

How can something so beautiful cause so much pain? Nickel allergy. Welcome to my itchy, scratchy world.

Nickel allergy is described as irritation caused by touching an allergen, also known as contact dermatitis. When an area of skin is exposed to the allergen, an itchy rash occurs. For instance, wearing jewelry and certain articles of clothing with metal closures and accessories, i.e., belts. Nickel (Ni) is described as tough, harder than iron, with a silvery-white finish. There is no way to avoid Nickel (Ni) it is found in:

  • Coins

  • Jewelry

  • Eyewear

  • Clothing

  • Vapes

  • Food

  • Soil

  • Animals

  • Plants & plant matter (fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides)

  • Cookware

  • Batteries

While Nickel is great and used in many industries, we are frenemies. 1 and 10 individuals will have contact dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) for a lifetime. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that "1.1million children in the United States suffer from Nickel allergies". As a child, I was not allowed to wear costume jewelry as I would "break out" I could only wear "good jewelry." I learned later it was neither costume nor good jewelry; it was NICKEL.

My wedding ring debacle

In 1998, I married my high-school sweetie. I've had the same wedding ring for over 20 years. From time to time, my ring finger would itch; I removed the ring, gave it a good cleaning, and placed the ring back on my finger after a couple of days. In 2020, the ring finger itch became unbearable no matter what I did. The rash had spread across a quarter of my left hand. I decided to see my dermatologist. My dermatologist performed a skin biopsy (I cried) and prescribed Clobetasol 0.05% ointment. Clobetasol is in a class of medications called corticosteroids; it works by reducing swelling, redness & itching. Well, the story gets better and then the drama. The biopsy was fine (whoop whoop), the Nickle allergy was in HYPERDRIVE. The medicine worked for like a week. The rash and itch were fading fast yes, yes, yes, NO. One night the itching was so intense I couldn't sleep; I took a Benadryl and covered my hands with socks. I felt defeated. Needless to say, I stopped using the medicine and turned to plant-based alternatives. I used Shea butter for added vitamins and minerals plus to even out my skin tone. My left hand had darkened up significantly due to the rash. I also used Neem oil to combat the itch. Neem oil is highly antiseptic and is used in Ayurvedic medicine to heal skin infections and wounds. The score is Nickel 1/me 0. I now wear a rubber ring in place of my wedding ring (bummer). We are researching our next best option. Is it Titanium, Platinum or hypoallergenic? Hmm, we shall see. One thing is for sure healing from contact dermatitis is a slow, lengthy process.

Image of my left hand after biopsy, skin discoloration still visible but healing.


If you suffer from a Nickel allergy, how do you cope? What tips and tricks have worked for you? Leave a comment or suggestion below.

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