Nickel allergy is a common cause of allergic contact dermatitis which is an itchy rash that happens when the skin comes in contact with a harmless substance. It can be caused by earrings and jewelry used for body piercings and nickel can also be found in some items such as coins, zippers, cell phones and frames of eyeglasses.
Nickel allergy can also affect people of all ages and usually develops after prolonged exposure to materials that contain nickel. Once a person develops allergy in nickel, that person will always be sensitive to the metal and needs to avoid direct contact with any material that contains nickel.
- Redness or changes in the color of the skin
- Rash or bumps develops on the skin
- Severe itchiness
- Dry patches of skin that looks similar to a burn
- Blisters can develop that might drain fluid
- Remove any jewelry or avoid being exposed to the metal that causes the condition.
- Wash the affected area using warm water and antibacterial soap.
- Apply calamine lotion to cool the affected area and helps lessen the itchiness. Apply the lotion on a cotton ball and dab it over the rash. Once it becomes dry and hardened, you can reapply again.
- Moisturize the skin regularly by using emollient cream or lotions such as mineral oil or petroleum jelly. Apply cream every 2-3 hours as needed.
- Apply bandages on the rashes in order to prevent it from unintentional scratching.
- Apply wet compress which helps dry out the blisters and lessen the itching. Soak a clean cloth in Burrow’s solution. This solution that contains aluminum acetate and diluted white vinegar which is 1 ounce of white vinegar mixed with 16 ounces of water or tap water. Place the compress over the affected area for at least 15-45 minutes for several times every day.
- Apply over-the-counter topical corticosteroid to help to lessen the itchiness and minimize the rashes. Apply the hydrocortisone on the affected area before applying a wet compress in order to promote better penetration into the skin.
- Take over-the-counter oral antihistamines such as Benadryl which helps lessen the itching for a short time.
- Avoid direct contact with the metal that triggered the allergic reaction.
- Wear hypoallergenic jewelries
- See to it that a piercing studio provides a clean, tidy and professional environment in which sterile, nickel-free or surgical-grade stainless steel needles in sealed packages are used. Make sure that the store sells only hypoallergenic jewelries and provides full information regarding the metal contents. Most studios at the present utilize a sterile piercing gun in order to avoid complications such as bacterial infections.
- Wear gloves when working with nickel. Cover with tapes, buttons, snaps, zippers and tool handles. Apply clear nail polish on jewelries as often as possible.