Cheap Jewelry is Bad

Cheap Jewelry Ruins Skin

By Nikki Martinez

Tween girls and inexpensive accessory hoarders, take heed. A UC-San Francisco study found that nearly one-third of cheap earrings ($20 and under) are causing dermatitis, an itchy, uncomfortable inflammation of the skin. Dermatologists at UCSF determined that the inexpensive trinkets are usually nickel-based and can cause allergic reactions when worn for even a short period of time. Even worse, customers continue to purchase earrings, knowing the high nickel content is causing the inflammation. For those of us who’d rather not sacrifice hygiene for fashion, keep reading.

Howard I. Maibach, MD, and professor of dermatology at UCSF, suggests the only way to avoid dermatitis from a nickel allergy is to avoid it altogether. Here are his tips on how to accessorize wisely:

— Look for jewelry and clothing labeled “nickel-free” or “hypoallergenic”
— Wear only stainless steel, platinum or gold jewelry if you know you are
allergic to nickel
— Discontinue wearing jewelry that causes any noticeable skin irritation,
such as redness or itching
— Use 1% hydrocortisone cream or ointment, which can be purchased
over-the-counter, to treat nickel-induced dermatitis
— See a dermatologist if symptoms worsen or do not improve within
three to five days of not wearing jewelry