Jewelry Trends

How To Prevent a Jewelry Rash

Rachel Akmakjian


How to Prevent Jewelry Rash: No More Unsightly Allergic Reactions 

You’ve purchased a beautiful new piece of jewelry. You wear it for the first time. You get loads of compliments and love how the piece looks … and then you realize you have a jewelry rash. Is there anything you can do to prevent jewelry allergies, or will your new jewelry live out the rest of its days in the bottom of your jewelry box? 

We’ve got great news if you’ve ever thought you were stuck, never wearing a favorite piece of jewelry again because it caused slight allergic contact dermatitis. It is possible to avoid jewelry-related allergic reactions. 

Here’s how to treat jewelry rash when it happens and how to prevent jewelry rash in the future.

What You Will Learn

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What is Jewelry Rash?

Before we can get into how to treat jewelry rash, we must understand what a jewelry rash is. 

How to prevent jewelry rash

A jewelry rash usually presents with a few expected, typical, rash-like symptoms, including:

  • Red or flushed skin
  • Bumpy, swollen, or dry skin
  • Itchy skin that can range in severity
  • Skin that’s warm to the touch

A jewelry rash can be mild or severe and usually appears just a few hours after your skin comes into contact with the rash-causing jewelry. 

In most cases, a jewelry rash or jewelry allergy is, more specifically, a sign of a nickel allergy. Nickel alloys are commonly found in costume jewelry, where nickel is used to strengthen or supplement another metal. 

You don’t typically need to go to a doctor to get a nickel allergy diagnosed. If you’re wearing costume jewelry frequently and your jewelry rash appears after wearing said jewelry but then subsides after you remove the jewelry, you can make a pretty safe bet that you’re allergic to nickel. Typically, a nickel allergy develops because your body views the nickel as some sort of threat, but nickel allergies can also be genetic.

How to Treat Jewelry Rash

If you’re currently dealing with a jewelry rash and in desperate need of some relief, there are a few things you can do.


Remove the Jewelry Right Away

If you suspect that your costume jewelry is causing a rash, remove it immediately and do not put it back on until your inflammation is completely treated. If you are still determining if the rash is jewelry-related, once the rash is healed, you can wear the jewelry again to see if the rash returns only when you’re wearing that jewelry.

Treat the Rash (the Right Way!)

You can apply over-the-counter rash remedies, such as a cortisone or steroid cream, so long as the skin isn’t broken (this will only be the case if you’re dealing with a severe rash), to soothe your symptoms. However, steer clear from antibiotic creams. A nickel allergy treated with antibiotic creams may worsen over time.

Use a Cold Compress

If you don’t have appropriate anti-itch creams on hand and desperately need relief immediately, try using a cold compress to soothe the irritated skin until you can apply the proper creams.

See a Dermatologist as Necessary

Suppose your jewelry rash does not go away within a week. In that case, you should see a dermatologist to discuss a more robust treatment method.

How to Prevent Jewelry Rash

Have you had a run-in with a jewelry rash in the past? Or just know that you’re at risk for jewelry rash (like if your family has a genetic history of being allergic to nickel)? 


Whatever your reason for wanting to prevent jewelry rash, there are several ways you can do so.

  • Avoid cheap jewelry
  • Apply clear nail polish to your jewelry
  • Use earring cushions
  • Avoid wearing your jewelry for prolonged amounts of time
  • Keep your jewelry dry and clean

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Avoid Wearing Cheap Jewelry

The first and most obvious way to avoid a jewelry rash is to stop wearing cheap jewelry or costume jewelry that contains nickel. Opt for nickel free jewelry, such as jewelry made from pure sterling silver or nickel free stainless steel. 

Look for jewelry labeled as “hypoallergenic,” often made from safer metals, such as surgical grade stainless steel or sterling silver.

If you prefer gold jewelry, avoid gold plated jewelry, which usually masks nickel or other irritating metals beneath the thin gold layer on the exterior.

Apply a Thin Layer of Clear Nail Polish to Your Jewelry

However, you already have favorite pieces of jewelry that contain nickel or are irritating for any other reason. In that case, you can still wear those pieces with the proper precautions.

Try applying a thin layer of clear nail polish to your jewelry wherever it touches your skin (like on the inside of your rings, for example). You’ll need to reapply the nail polish regularly, but this should create a thin, invisible layer between the metal and your skin that’s enough to keep any rashes at bay.

Use an Earring Cushion

No clear nail polish on hand? Suppose you’re explicitly getting a jewelry rash around your earlobes due to your earring posts. In that case, you can buy earring cushions that fit between your earlobes and the backs of your earrings, creating a protective barrier. 

Avoid Lengthy Wear Times

If you only notice allergic reactions after wearing your jewelry for long periods, like overnight or all day, try reducing the time you wear your jewelry. You can wear your favorite pieces for a few hours without ill effects.

Keep Your Jewelry Dry

Suppose water, sweat, or any other moisture is trapped between your jewelry and your skin. In that case, this can irritate you as well. Keeping your jewelry dry will not only help you avoid a jewelry rash. Still, it can also keep your jewelry in better condition over time. 

Clean Your Jewelry

Likewise, keep your jewelry clean to avoid environmental irritants from being trapped between your jewelry and your skin.


Jewelry Allergies FAQs

What causes jewelry allergies?

Nickel alloys — found in costume jewelry and other cheap jewelry — cause most jewelry allergies.

Should I see a doctor for a jewelry rash?

While most jewelry rashes will clear up with at-home treatment, speak with your doctor if your rash is severe or does not go away.

What jewelry won’t give me a rash?

Look for hypoallergenic jewelry, often made from metals suitable for sensitive skin, like surgical grade stainless steel or sterling silver.

Protect Your Skin, Protect Your Jewelry

Once your jewelry rash woes are sorted, it’s time to consider protecting your jewelry just as much as you protect your sensitive skin. 

No matter your favorite pieces or how frequently you wear them, the right jewelry insurance can keep you covered when the worst of the worst — loss, theft, damage, etc. — happens. Learn about BriteCo’s comprehensive coverage options and get your quote today!

Also Check:

How to Clean Silver Jewelry | BriteCo Jewelry Insurance
How long does permanent jewelry last?
What is Permanent Jewelry?
The Ultimate Guide To Cleaning Fine Jewelry
How to Clean Stainless Steel Jewelry? | BriteCo Jewelry Insurance

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Rachel's expertise is further enhanced by her distinction as a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America, equipping her with exceptional knowledge in gem identification and grading. Her education and experiences have given her an in-depth understanding of the demands and expectations facing jewelers and customers in today’s evolving retail marketplace.


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