Metal Allergy

Being allergic to a metal is a sign of the allergic contact dermatitis. Nickel, cobalt, and chromate are also among contacts that have a high possibility of triggering threatening reactions. People are most vulnerable to metal when they are wearing jewelry because most jewels contain traces of nickel. Any piercings on the body can make a person vulnerable to metal as well. Soil, sea water, cement and leather are among many triggers of allergic reactions to metal.

Causes of the allergy (excluding the metals already mentioned above):
• Antiperspirants
• Belts
• Cigarettes
• Cigarette lighters
• Dental plates
• Eyelash curlers
• Needles
• Pins
• Shoes
• Zippers

Symptoms of metal allergy usually occur within 24 hours of exposure, roughly after 6 hours. A reaction to the skin usually occurs on the spot that was in contact with metal products. The allergens can transfer to other body parts, once exposed to one area on the body. These symptoms include:
• Red, itchy swollen skin
• Blisters
• Crusts and Scales
• Skin darkening
• Leathery and cracked skin

The symptoms, however, can disappear was contact with metal is avoided.

The allergy to metal can be found when a doctor performs a skin patch test on a patient. During this test, an absorbent pad will be soaked with suspected metal allergens will be stuck to the patch for 1-3 days. Anyone with allergies to metal will have a rash or a wheal on the spot where the pad was applied. It is difficult to tell the difference between nickel and cobalt allergies because they are found in everything together. A patient’s history is substantial to determine the source of the allergy. Once diagnosed with this allergy, patients should try to avoid metal at all times.
It does not take a while after the skin is free of contact with harmful metals, for the rash to clear disappear. Doctors may provide a special cream to clear the rashes and reduce itchiness in the process. Anything that moisturizes the skin is recommended to keep the skin for cracking and shedding. Too much scratching on the rash may create a bacterial infection on the skin.

Treatment of metal allergic reactions:
• Wear plastic jewelry, stainless steel, platinum, titanium, or 18 karat gold jewels that do not contain nickel.
• Substitute metal products with other items, such as wood, plastic, paper, or fabric.
• If you have shoe dermatitis should change shoes and socks frequently.
• Wear protective clothing at home or anywhere else.
• Do not wear gloves unless they are completely waterproof
• Avoid latex because it is a common allergen.
• Coat metal items with layers of nail polish and cover then with tape. This can keep metals from contact with skin.
• Check ingredients in every product you buy, in case they contain metals.
If you have any remaining questions that are unanswered, feel free to contact your doctor.