Allergy is an elusive disease. Many people do not know what their allergens are. They only know that their bodies will have allergic reactions from time to time, such as after wearing a new necklace, new glasses, or wearing a new piece of clothing. Their body started to itch and break out in rashes everywhere.
If you meet the above conditions, you are most likely allergic to metals, especially “nickel” in metals. We will introduce to you what metal allergy is, which items contain nickel, and what are the symptoms of metal allergy.
What is a metal allergy?
Allergy generally refers to the human body’s reaction to specific foreign substances, whether through inhalation, consumption or contact, resulting in redness, swelling, and inflammation. People with metal allergies develop allergies when they come into contact with specific metals.
Generally speaking, metal allergy affects the skin most commonly, such as contact dermatitis, but it may also occur due to exposure to high-concentration metal environments, such as refineries or factories, inhalation and contact with excessive allergens, resulting in respiratory-related symptoms or anaphylaxis.
Metal allergies are most common with “nickel”
All metals such as cobalt, iron, and platinum may cause allergies, but metal allergies are most common with “nickel”. About 10 to 20% of the population is allergic to nickel.
What is Nickel?
Nickel is a natural element that exists in soil, meteorites and the seabed. It can be alloyed with other metals, such as iron, copper, chromium and zinc, to be made into coins, jewelry and other items. It is also a common material for stainless steel.
Common nickel-containing daily necessities are as follows:
- Jewelry: earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets
- Clothing accessories: glasses, watches, belts, hair accessories
- Clothing structure: buttons, zippers and underwear hooks
- Daily items: keys and key rings, batteries, coins, cigarettes and various nickel-plated supplies,
- Stainless steel products: kitchenware, tableware.
In addition, the following foods also contain high levels of nickel:
- Canned food, canned drinks, or acidic food cooked in stainless steel containers
- cocoa powder, chocolate
- baking powder
- barley, cereals
As can be seen from the above list, nickel seems to be ubiquitous and unavoidable, but in fact, most people who are allergic to nickel are contact allergies, and only a few people will develop sweat herpes and dermatitis due to eating nickel-containing foods.
Nickel is an indispensable trace element for the human body. The amount of nickel in the adult body is about 6 to 10 mg. It is mainly stored in the brain and liver. Only 10~20% of nickel in food is absorbed by the human body, and the rest is excreted in feces.
Nickel allergy causes contact dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is an eczema reaction caused by inflammation such as redness, swelling, itching, papules or blisters due to skin contact with allergens. If the blisters burst, the affected area will go through stages of moisture and dryness, and then develop into scabs, scaling, cracks, or skin thickening.
Generally speaking, contact dermatitis caused by contact with nickel mostly occurs only in parts that are in direct contact with metal, such as the wrist where a watch is worn or the back where the underwear hook touches. It appears as red and itchy raised papules, and Due to repeated attacks, new and old symptoms appear. For example, some rashes are red and some are dark brown after anti-inflammatory.
How is nickel allergy treated?
When contact dermatitis occurs on the skin, usually only the use of allergy drugs or steroid ointments can effectively alleviate allergy symptoms. However, when the allergic person comes into contact with nickel again, the allergic reaction often reappears. Therefore, staying away from nickel is the best way to improve nickel allergy. The best way.
Here are three suggestions for reducing nickel exposure:
- Use non-nickel jewellery, such as pure gold, sterling silver and pure titanium jewellery that are less allergenic.
- Choose clothing accessories that do not contain nickel or contain less nickel, or use hypoallergenic tape in easily accessible areas to prevent direct contact.
- Wear gloves to avoid prolonged contact with stainless steel products, such as when cooking or washing dishes