What Causes Nickel Allergy?

Nickel allergy, like other allergies, may develop at any age. We don’t know why some persons become allergic to nickel while others never do. Once you’ve become allergic to nickel, you’re likely to have the allergy for many years.

Nickel allergy is especially common in women. It often prevents them from wearing jewelry. Persons allergic to nickel may break out from contact with nickel-containing or nickel plated objects such as bracelets, earrings, zippers, bra hooks, and metal eyeglass frames. Although many coins contain nickel, they don’t usually cause rashes.

Some persons are highly allergic to nickel and get a rash from even brief contact with nickel-containing metals, while others break out only after a long period of skin contact with nickel. All jewelry contains nickel; there’s less nickel in 14 or 18 karat gold jewelry than in costume jewelry. As a result, many are able to wear high quality gold jewelry but break out when they wear costume jewelry.

Persons allergic to nickel can touch stainless steel without trouble—unless it’s nickel plated. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about contact with stainless steel instruments, tools, sinks, cutlery, or cooking utensils.

Treating Nickel Allergy

Nickel allergy rashes usually clear up once contact with nickel-containing metal is stopped and a cortisone medicine is applied to the rash. Preventing nickel contact rashes means avoiding skin contact with nickel-containing metals. This may be awkward, especially as far as wearing jewelry is concerned. When you want to wear your wedding ring or other “essential” jewelry, please try this compromise approach: Wear the jewelry only for short periods of time when you’re away from home, and apply a cortisone cream to your skin before putting your jewelry on.

If your ears are pierced, you can obtain hypoallergenic earrings.


There’s no way to desensitize a person with nickel allergy with shots, pills, or any other method. Nickel allergy stays on for years, although sometimes it gradually becomes less severe.