Hypoallergenic Jewelry? What is that?
Hypoallergenic Jewelry is for those who experience an allergic reaction to specific metals. Most people are allergic to nickel, which is why their bodies react to some jewelry. An allergy to metal means that your immune system sees that specific metal as a threat to your body. It then uses instruments like an irritation to fight the metal as if it is a virus or bacteria.
Jewelry is hypoallergenic when it contains high grades of pure metals, like gold, sterling silver, platinum, titanium, and stainless steel. Metals such as gold and silver tend to have other metals alloyed in them as they are too soft to be purely used in jewelry. That is why sterling silver and 14K gold-filled jewelry are very popular as they contain only 7.5% of other alloys in them.
The absence of nickel and copper in jewelry makes it hypoallergenic. It is estimated that up to 17% of women and 3% of men are allergic to nickel. These two metals are the most common allergens in jewelry, and they are the most common alloys. Labels that include nickel-free do not mean that the product is free of nickel. It means that the jewelry is not plated with nickel, instead it most likely has nickel in the metal itself. There are other allergens in jewelry, such as copper, cobalt, brass, and chromium.
These rarely cause any skin reactions but could still do for some people, except for brass, which will also turn green after a few wears causing discoloration on the skin. Brass is a combination of copper and zinc. It turns green on the skin when it oxidizes. Jewelers use brass as it is cheap and durable, but it is not worth it because it oxidizes quickly, causing the jewelry to tarnish and change color.
Being allergic to some metals does not mean a person needs to stop accessorizing. Instead, one should be careful when deciding on jewelry. Always check/ask to see if the jewelry has nickel in it, if it does then it will cause an allergic reaction and should be avoided. Do not give up on your fashion styles instead, find ways to make a statement while taking care of yourself.