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Everyone loves jewelry.
A white gold necklace with rubies or a diamond ring, jewelry always increases the joy of life.
However, sometimes it causes irritation and allergic reactions.
This leads us to questions like:
- Is sterling silver jewelry hypoallergenic? or
- Does hypoallergenic only mean nickel-free?
These are important questions which should be answered to prevent any metal allergies.
After all, beautiful design is a must but it is not enough.
You wouldn’t want to make an appointment to the hospital just because of a cheap bracelet.
Always pick safe hypoallergenic metals for jewelry and stay away from allergies.
1 . What does hypoallergenic mean?
Hypoallergenic is a term used in cosmetics and jewelry.
It means the materials used in production are less likely to cause any negative reactions.
Nevertheless, this is a not a guarantee: zero allergic effects cannot be guaranteed.
Especially in skin care, such a claim cannot be made.
In jewelry, as the items are worn for many hours, irritation may occur.
Thus makers do opt for hypoallergenic metals to reduce unintended reactions, as much as possible.
These metals are preferred due to their skin friendly properties.
Hypoallergenic metals usually do not contain nickel.
This metal is the common cause for allergies of people with sensitive skin.
Hypoallergenic jewelry is recommended for people with metal sensitivity.
In this article, you will learn about metal sensitivity symptoms and the most common hypoallergenic metals.
2. What Is Metal Sensitivity?
Metal sensitivities are inflammations that often arise from using pieces made from allergenic metals.
Some of these symptoms include; rashes, blistering on the skin, joint pain, muscle pain, reddening of skin, and swelling.
A recent study reveals that metal hypersensitivity is a common health condition that affects about 10 to 15 percent of the world.
The estimation shows that close to 17% of women and 3% of men are allergic to nickel.
Also, about 1% to 3% of people is affected by cobalt and chromium.
Metal sensitivity should especially receive more consideration for sensitive ears and piercings.
Thus, it is imperative that you choose hypoallergenic jewelry, to stay safe from metal allergies.
3. Main Hypoallergenic Metals and Their Properties
Some of the common hypoallergenic metals include pure and near pure metals such as platinum, titanium, copper, stainless steel, fine silver, argentium silver and sterling silver.
3.1. Sterling Silver
Sterling silver is one of the most widely used metals used for jewelry.
And happily, it is mostly hypoallergenic, especially when it does not include any traces of nickel.
So, if your skin is not sensitive to pure silver, a sterling silver piece is unlikely to cause any irritation.
Sterling silver is a stronger version of silver, which is too soft for jewelry.
Also known as 925 Silver, sterling silver contains 92.5% of pure silver and 7.5% of other metals like zinc and copper.
As long as the remaining part has zero nickel, there should not be any problems.
Because only a very small number of people do have allergy to silver.
3.2. Argentium silver
It includes germanium to make it harder.
Two most common percentages of Argentium silver are 93, 5% and 96% rich in silver.
These are known as Argentium silver 935 and 960, respectively.
Just as in sterling silver, if the user does not have direct allergy to silver or germanium, there is a tiny probability that it will cause any allergic reaction.
Aluminum is another pure hypoallergenic metal commonly used for making jewelry.
The base metal is free of lead and nickel.
So, if you’re looking to avoid skin irritation and other allergic reactions, you can opt for jewelry made from aluminum.
3.4. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is among the most popular jewelry metals.
It is fashionable and comes with a very approachable price tag.
Just make sure you pick 316L stainless steel pieces.
This type of steel has a low-level of carbon and zero nickel in its alloy.
It is surgical stainless steel widely used in implants.
With surgical level 316L stainless steel jewelry, allergic reactions can be minimized.
Therefore, most 316L steel jewelry is suitable for sensitive skin.
Another pro of stainless steel is that is its easiness to clean.
Gold jewelry is the king of precious metals, but not all shiny lovely pieces are safe.
Luckily, gold is a hypoallergenic metal.
Furthermore, gold is very special: it is extremely non-reactive to the body.
This is why it has been used as a teeth crown for hundreds of years.
Gold comes in different karat counts.
Fine gold is 24K gold.
18-Karat gold has 18 out of 24 parts in gold or it is 75% rich in gold.
The 24K gold is 100% pure gold, making it too soft for jewelry.
The 14K gold is the suitable alloy for jewelry.
The 14K gold can be mixed with other metals in varying proportions to make jewelry of different colors.
For instance, rose gold can be made with an alloy with copper, while white gold can be made when mixed with palladium.
There are also many gold-plated or gold-filled jewelry on the market.
Always check the metal content to avoid picking gold jewelry with allergenic metals.
Niobium is another hypoallergenic metal that is used for jewelry.
When it is free of lead and nickel, there is a high bet it will not cause any itching or similar unwanted effects.
Hence, it is good for people with metal allergies.
Your jewelry should not only look great, it should also feel wonderful when you put them on.
So, when next you’re out shopping for jewelry, check for the metals and make sure they are all hypoallergenic.
A simple rule of thumb is to stay away from nickel.
This is especially true when buying a jewelry as a gift.
You may not know if he or she is allergic to nickel, so just exclude those pieces.
By making a little effort to check the metals, you can safeguard yourself and your loved ones from metal hypersensitivities.
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