How do you know if you have a gold allergy? You may have worn your wedding ring or another favorite ring for months or even years with no problems. Suddenly, you develop an itchy rash on your finger underneath your ring. If you leave the ring on, the rash may get much worse.

If this is happening to you, you may have a gold allergy. This type of allergy is called a delayed allergy because it usually takes time to develop. Even if you have a gold allergy, chances are slim that you will develop a rash the first time that you wear the ring.

Other Symptoms of a Gold Allergy

If your allergic reaction to gold is a severe one, you could also develop swelling on the finger or hand on which the ring was worn. The rash will often form blisters that contain liquid and break open if you scratch them. Eczema is another possible outcome of wearing gold if you are allergic to it. If your rash is severe, you should make an appointment with your doctor.

Your doctor will probably recommend removing the ring and letting the rash heal. Cortisone cream may be prescribed for you, or you can buy an over-the-counter cream that should ease the intense itching. Taking an antihistamine such as non-drowsy Benadryl is also recommended by many doctors to relieve itching.

10-Karat Jewelry Is Most Likely The Culprit

Although it may appear that you are allergic to gold, you will probably find that you can wear rings and jewelry with a higher gold content than 10-karat jewelry contains. It may just be 10-karat jewelry that is causing the problem. The lower the karat count of your gold jewelry, the more nickel or other metal it contains besides gold.

10-karat gold has a substantial amount of nickel added to the gold, and for this reason, it is often the least expensive type that you can buy. Most “gold allergies” are actually the skin’s reaction to the nickel in the ring or other pieces of jewelry when it is on the skin for long periods of time. Perspiration reacts with the nickel and can cause a rash and other symptoms to appear. Nickel is also added to white gold, and some people find that if they are allergic to nickel, they are also allergic to platinum.

You May Need To Switch To At Least 14-Karat Gold

Jewelry manufacturers purposely place nickel in gold jewelry because it hardens the jewelry piece and helps it not to bend. Ten-karat gold jewelry has the least amount of gold and costs less than 14-karat gold jewelry. It is also possible to buy 18-karat and 24-karat gold, which is 100 percent gold.

In the United States, 24-karat gold is not sold, but you can buy 10-karat, 14-karat, and 18-karat gold. Each category has alloys added that are non-gold, such as copper, nickel, silver or zinc. Most people who think they are allergic to gold find that they do not have a reaction to jewelry that is 14-karat or 18-karat gold because it contains much less nickel than 10-karat gold.

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