Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Nickel Allergy from your Ring?

Yesterday, there was an interesting article in the Wall Street journal on nickel allergy. Check it out at

Nickel allergies have been on the rise in North America in recent years and now affect 24% to 36% of women and
7% to 15% of men, according to the North American Contact Dermatitis Group, which named nickel the 2008 "Allergen of the Year." Women are more likely to have pierced ears, which can facilitate a sensitivity to nickel if earrings containing the metal contact broken skin. But men are closing the gap due to the popularity of body piercing.

As with other allergies, a reaction to nickel can develop seemingly out of the blue, even years after a person's first exposure. Once the allergy is triggered, it will persist lifelong. A reaction to a particular piece of jewelry may occur suddenly because nickel salts tend to come to the surface years later, or after protective coating has worn away. "You get more exposure to nickel the older the piece of jewelry is," says Jeffrey Benabio, a dermatologist with Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. "That's why you can wear a ring for 20 years and suddenly it starts
causing problems."

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