Home Guest Contributor 5 Facts About Nickel Free Jewelry

5 Facts About Nickel Free Jewelry

Ear piercing can be a great way to accessorize and show off your fashion sense with beautiful precious metals and stones. What happens when you choose the wrong earrings and end up with an allergic reaction, or worse, an infection? This is an all-too-common reaction to earrings that many women (and men) experience due to the metallurgic content of the earrings they’ve chosen.

Nickel is a  popular metal used in jewelry. Known to be a carcinogen and an allergen for a percentage of the population, the metal is simply an unnecessary component in most modern jewelry. There are plenty of alternatives, but be sure your jewelry is labeled and verified as “nickel free” and not hypoallergenic if you want a true nickel-free experience.

Nickel free earrings can help reduce these reactions by removing the cause of many adverse effects: nickel. Here are five facts about nickel free earrings you need to know.

Nickel is…? 

Nickel is a metal that a large percentage of the population actually have an allergy to. It’s silver-ish in color and was once actually mistaken for copper due to the reddish hue of its ore. The problem? Most jewelry and even metals like stainless steel contain some nickel. That’s why your earrings make your ears red and itchy; they probably contain nickel!

  1. Nickel Free Earrings Can Reduce Inflammation 

Nickel-free earrings won’t contain any of the irritating metal that is causing such discomfort to your ears when you wear them. You’ll notice immediately that your body reacts completely differently to nickel-free jewelry, but you must be sure that what you’re buying is really nickel free.

Some stainless steel variants that claim to be “nickel free” can still contain trace amounts of the metal, bringing out those allergenic symptoms you’d hoped to eliminate buy purchasing the stainless steel variant. It’s important to purchase from a reputable source and be certain that what you’re buying is truly nickel free.

Metals such as pure gold, medical-grade titanium, and sterling silver won’t normally contain any nickel, so if you want to be certain you’re avoiding the metal, go for higher-quality metals like gold and silver. Titanium is a good option, as its incredibly tough and resistant to corrosion and damage, and can be shined to a beautiful luster.

  1. Hypoallergenic Doesn’t Always Mean Nickel Free 

You’ll likely come across jewelry that’s labeled as “hypoallergenic”, but this doesn’t mean it’s completely nickel-free, and could still cause an allergic reaction. Hypoallergenic in the jewelry industry simply means the piece was created using fewer allergenic metals like nickel. Nickel makes an excellent, cheap filler for metal alloys, and is thus used in a variety of applications besides jewelry.

If you have an allergic reaction to nickel, it’s best to simply find jewelry that’s completely nickel free to avoid any complications. Even medical-grade stainless steel can contain trace amounts of the metal, and sometimes that’s all it takes to warrant a reaction.

  1. Nickel Free Isn’t Always Metal 

Let’s say you’ve found a piece of jewelry that’s nickel-free, but it feels different. It doesn’t quite feel like metal because it’s likely plastic. Not the cheap plastic you’d find in grocery bags, but rather medical-grade plastic, which is anti-microbial and lightweight and comfortable. This is the sort of plastic used by doctors in sutures and other medical applications, so it’s designed for use with the human body.

If you’re looking for alternatives to metal jewelry, this is a great option. Plastic doesn’t rust, and will likely last for much longer than a metal piece would. You also don’t need to be as vigilant with plastic jewelry since it won’t corrode. With lower maintenance and a cheaper price tag, medical-grade plastic jewelry is an effective alternative for those with metal allergies.

  1. Less Nickel Exposure is Better for Your Body 

Did you know that nickel can be found in our food, water, and other places where we’re exposed to it on a daily basis? Nickel is known to be a carcinogen, meaning it can cause cancer.

According to this article by The Center for Disease Control on the effects of nickel exposure, “The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that nickel-metal may reasonably be anticipated to be a carcinogen and that nickel compounds are known human carcinogens”.    

In short, the less nickel you expose your body to, the better. Wearing nickel-free jewelry is one way to reduce your exposure to the metal, and thus reduce the risk of negative side effects beyond an allergic reaction. Choose nickel-free alternatives like medical-grade plastic or titanium or pure gold/silver.

  1. Nickel Free Earrings are Just as Stunning 

Sacrificing nickel in your jewelry doesn’t mean you also have to sacrifice the beauty of the piece. Nickel-free jewelry will simply be more pure, containing fewer fillers (or different ones of higher quality), and still retain the beauty of traditional nickel-infused jewelry. Nickel-free jewelry comes in thousands of varieties, each with their own unique patterns and arrangements, so you’re sure to find one that’s just right for your unique fashion sense.

Nickel-free jewelry ranges in price as well, meaning no matter what your budget is, you’ll be able to find a piece of jewelry that won’t invoke an allergic reaction.