You come home from a great dinner in a brand new outfit, head to toe. And while you’re getting ready for bed, you notice that your wrist and both your ears are itching. You wonder if you somehow ate something you might be allergic to.
In this imaginary scenario, when you wake up in the morning, the itching has only gotten worse. Now you are also experiencing:
- Rash and bumps
- Redness and other skin color changes
- Dry patches that look like a burn
- Blisters and draining fluid
This would definitely be the most extreme case ever of one of the most common allergies.
An itchy rash that appears on your skin when you haven’t been in contact with anything normally harmful, such as poison ivy, is considered allergic contact dermatitis.
An allergy you may have, but never heard of
A common cause of contact dermatitis is sometimes called a jewelry allergy. But the real cause is nickel. The substance is often found in earrings, bracelets, watches – nickel is everywhere, such as in:
- Zippers, snaps and bra hooks
- Eyeglass frames
- Jewelry associated with all types of piercings
- Jewelry clasps
- Metal tools
A hard metal to avoid
The allergy can develop after just one, or repeated, exposure to any item containing nickel, making you sensitive to the metal for life. One treatment method is to avoid all contact with nickel. But there are treatments your dermatologist can offer, particularly if your reaction to contact with nickel is severe and prolonged.
Come see Dr. Bucay
Any time you develop a mysterious skin rash that doesn’t go away after a few days, you should see your dermatologist, especially if the area has become infected or painful. (If you already know you have a nickel allergy, you can pursue the same treatments she has recommended that have worked in the past.)