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What to Avoid if You’re Allergic to Metals

If you’re newly diagnosed with an allergy, it can feel overwhelming. Staying well involves avoiding the substances you’re allergic to. 

Metal allergies arise when the body is extra sensitive to certain metals, most commonly nickel and copper. Metal allergies are easier to manage once you know what to avoid. Metals, such as nickel and copper, are found in many places, and since even small quantities can cause a reaction, patients must show care to avoid these metals.

At Riviera Allergy Medical Center, Dr. Ulrike Ziegner diagnoses metal allergies based on your skin’s appearance, medical history, and a patch test. Once a metal allergy is confirmed, Dr. Ziegner will work with you to create a treatment plan that revolves around avoiding the metal you’re allergic to.

Understanding metal allergies

Metal sensitivity happens when the body overreacts to metals that normally cause no problems for other people. People who have a metal allergy usually develop a skin rash when their skin comes in contact with the offending metal. The rash may remain for up to two days after exposure. The following are things that often affect people with metal allergies:


Jewelry can be made from a wide variety of metals and is the most common source of contact for people with a metal allergy. Check jewelry carefully before wearing it if you have a metal allergy.

If you’re allergic to nickel, the easiest way to avoid exposure is to steer clear of costume jewelry and stick to high-quality jewelry. Manufacturers typically use nickel in lower-quality jewelry.

Tattoo inks

According to recent national surveys, an estimated one in five adults in the United States has at least one tattoo. Tattoo ink pigments can contain nickel, chromium, and other metals. What’s more, the quantities of metals in the tattoo ink can vary significantly.

Cell phones

Mobile phones are everywhere. They’re celebrated for keeping us connected and making our lives easier, but for people with metal allergies, cell phones are a surprising source of nickel and cobalt exposure. There are reports of cell phones causing contact dermatitis due to nickel and other metals that are in them.

A study published in Pediatric Allergy, Immunology and Pulmonology found that some popular phones tested positive for nickel and cobalt. Results showed that newer smartphones were less likely to test positive for these metals than older mobile phones.

Personal care products

Before you wear that makeup, slather on that soap, or rub on that lotion, check the label. Personal care products can contain derivatives of metals, such as chromium.

Treating metal allergies

If you experience a reaction from exposure to certain metals, Dr. Ziegner may prescribe medication to reduce irritation. Corticosteroid creams, nonsteroidal creams, and antihistamine creams can help reduce inflammation and relieve itching.

The best way to avoid allergic reactions is to avoid the metals you’re allergic to. Dr. Ziegner will work with you to identify the lifestyle changes you will need to make to avoid the metals that affect you.

To find out the metals that are giving you allergic reactions and to get treatment and guidance, book an appointment online or over the phone with Riviera Allergy Medical Center today.

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