Recently there’s been a lot of discussion in the news and among professionals about the relationship between metal allergies and eczema. While many people have metal allergies, their presence isn’t always obvious. We touch and interact with a variety of metals and metal blends pretty much every day, so it can be really hard to look at metals as a possible trigger for eczema and other allergy-based issues. While most metals are considered to be safe and hypoallergenic, there are some that are notorious for causing issues – and it turns out that there may be a correlation between these metals and the occurrence of eczema breakouts in kids.
The issue with metal allergies is that metal is everywhere. From coins and jewelry to household appliances and toys, metal seems to be all around us. If a child has a metal sensitivity, the reaction may not pop up until hours after the contact happened, and by them it may seem impossible to figure out what the trigger was.
The good news is that professionals have narrowed most eczema issues down to nickel exposure. Nickel is a common metal used in everything from money to clothing, so knowing if your child has a hidden sensitivity can be extremely helpful.
Saying No To Nickel
If your child has a nickel sensitivity, their skin will usually show signs within minutes of a direct contact. Identifying something with nickel and asking your child to hold it or place it on the inside of their arm will usually give you the answer pretty quickly. If you see intense signs of allergies or no signs at all, it may still be helpful to consult an allergy specialist or request a nickel test on your next allergy panel.
Nickle is in a lot of things. belt buckles, rivets on jeans, jewelry, watch bands, and some household appliances. Nickel is typically light weight and may have a very light magnetic effect.
If your child has a nickel sensitivity, it may be hard to get rid of all the nickel in your life but there are some things you can do to make the burden lighter.
- Avoid jewelry and toys with light metal parts.
- Paint rivets and zippers with clear coat nail polish to prevent the metal from ever touching your child’s skin.
- Keep metal jewelry away from children.
- Keep a journal about flare-ups, and see if they tend to happen on hands or in areas where contact to metal surfaces would make sense.
When in doubt, consult your allergy specialist to see if nickel is an issue for your child and to learn more about identification and treatment.
Here are some great metal allergy resources you may find helpful…