I am occasionally asked about allergic reactions to precious metals by customers wearing an engagement ring and so just wanted to write a few lines here which may help as they are also from personal experience.
I have fairly sensitive skin I suppose, but hadn't ever had an allergic reaction to a metal or anything like that. When I started wearing an engagement ring all of the time, though, I got a very red itchy sore patch underneath my engagement ring (a bit like eczema) which really flared up and was very uncomfortable and unsightly - a sort of contact dermatitis or something (totally unmedical so don't know exactly what it was called!).
When I chatted with a friend who is a GP about it, they told me that this was very unlikely to be an allergy to the precious metal (as the precious metals are very rarely allergens and of course our precious metals don't contain nickel or anything nasty like that). However, the friend suggested that it might well be a reaction to liquid soap.
I have always worn a lot of rings, but prior to my engagement ring, I didn't wear a ring with a stone all of the time. Apparently, liquid soap may not cause an allergic reaction when used and washed off normally, but it is an allergen and is very viscous and so it is easy not to wash it off properly without realizing. So if you are wearing a ring with a cavity (eg behind a stone) it can gather there without you knowing because it isn't visible. So you can very easily not wash the liquid soap detergent off underneath the ring and then if left to dry and stay there, this can easily cause this nasty reaction. So my friend advised taking the ring off until the finger had healed up properly (which took about 3 weeks ish) and then starting to wear it again whilst never using liquid soap (only bar soap).
At first I didn't believe this could be the cause of the problem. But I followed this advice and sure enough have never had a problem since.
I have shared this with a few customers over the years who have thought they were having an allergic reaction to the metal and, like me, though skeptical at first, every single one has contacted me later and said 'Yes! It worked! Hurrah!'.
Obviously I am not an allergy specialist or anything so you should see a dermatologist, allergy specialist or other medical practitioner if you aren't sure but the above may be worth a try before you panic and think you can't wear your lovely engagement ring!
- The UCB Institute of Allergy
- The NHS Direct
- The Healthy House Ltd have been recommended to me but I haven't tried anything from there yet.