Does your skin make it difficult to wear some of your favorite outfits and accessories? Your sensitive skin may be trying to tell you something. For many patients afflicted with atopic eczema, it is an undeniable frustration having to deal with flare-ups from being exposed to even the simplest everyday allergens that others without sensitive have no trouble with. You may not be aware, but you might actually be wearing it on you right at this moment!
Nickel is a metal that is found everywhere in our environment. It is used to coat objects such as earrings, body piercing, doorknobs, foods, and even medications! In some extreme cases, it can even be found in some food items. Unfortunately, up to one-third of people who suffer from atopic dermatitis are allergic to this metal and being in contact with this metal can cause your skin to become dry, red, itchy, and even blister. As vigilant as one can be about protecting their skin, it may be difficult to make the connection because symptoms may not appear until 3 days later!
Because nickel found in so many consumer products, being exposed is often unavoidable. For those who are strict in maintaining a hypoallergenic lifestyle, there are home test kits available to check for nickel content in items. Luckily, there is a cost effective method to avoiding nickel allergy contact dermatitis and that is to prevent prolonged exposure. Here are some helpful tips that may help you prevent eczema flare-ups while maintaining a productive lifestyle and even staying fashionable while you do it!
1. Coat it!
- Various metals such as doorknobs and keys can be coated with a polyurethane lacquer to reduce frequent contact.
- Wear gloves. It is a simple way to handle nickel-containing items if your hands have to touch nickel
- Use duct tape to cover the handles of different household tools
2. Wear hypoallergenic accessories
- Look for jewelry that are guaranteed to be nickel-free. Alternatives include stainless steel, 18-karat gold, titanium, platinum, sterling silver, and copper. Do your best to avoid metals such as cobalt, chrome, white gold, or palladium as you may also be sensitive to these if you have nickel allergy.
- Wear clothing that have non-metallic fasteners. Plastic covers can be used for earring studs.
- Talk to your local jeweler about coating your favorite pieces with a safer metal.
3. Be picky about where you get your tattoos or piercings
- Every state has different regulations for tattoo parlors. Do your due diligence to find out what the regulations are and choose a highly reputable studio with properly licensed piercers.
- Things to consider: Clean work environment, make sure they use sterile, nickel-free needles in sealed packaging, they are able to provide information on metal contents, avoid piercing gun as they may not be sterile and can introduce infections.
4. Don’t Eat It
- In extreme cases, avoid eating foods that are rich in nickel, including fish and chocolate.
- Here is a list of food products with known nickel content: All canned foods and foods cooked in nickel utensils, OTC vitamins, legumes, whole grain flour, oats, soybeans, shellfish, asparagus, beans, mushrooms, onions, corn, spinach, tomatoes, peas, pears, all types of nuts, raisins, rhubarb, herbal tea, cocoa, baking powder, cabbage, sprouts, licorice, potatoes.
Hopefully these tips will help guide your lifestyle decisions and help you manage your sensitive skin woes. Leave your comments below and give us suggestions of what you would like us to talk about.