It has been seen in many women that wearing certain types of jewellery can lead to rashes on the skin, irritation and other skin problems. These symptoms have been brought on by various types of metal alloy earrings, necklaces, etc. Studies have found that even coins and belt buckles have brought on such symptoms when they rub against the skin. Many scientists have wondered why it is that the skin reacts peculiarly to some alloys.
Studies conducted at the University of Giessen in Germany have now found out why some earrings cause painful blisters to appear on the skin while others are perfectly comfortable. They have identified the culprit to be one single metal: Nickel. It is the presence of nickel in several metal jewellery items that cause these uncomfortable skin reactions, the research team claims.
Their contention is that nickel tends to bind to a particular kind of protein that is present in the immune system of human beings. This protein is very important in the process of detecting harmful invaders. When nickel binds to this protein, it activates the response of the protein that is otherwise activated by harmful stimuli. Thus, said the report that was quoted in the British newspaper Daily Mail, the skin recognises the presence of nickel as some kind of infectious agent, and breaks out in blisters and rashes – a sure sign of an inflammation.
Dermatologists, therefore, recommend that you always try on a new piece of jewellery at home for a few hours before wearing it to a party or for a longer duration. It is the only way to ensure that there are no substances in it that can trigger such a reaction. Alternatively, check the packaging for details of metals used. “Sometimes,” says Delhi based medical practitioner, Dr. Suresh Mathur, “some other impurities in metals can also trigger allergic reactions in the skin. So, one should always be very careful to use superior quality metals in places where contact with the skin is direct.”
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