Nickel Allergy Info

Nickel allergy. Most people learn they have it after a painful, itchy rash appears. Some will blame their “cheap” jewelry. Some will look to animals in their house as the cause. It gets even more confusing when the rash begins to fade away on its own, only to return with a vengeance later. It is estimated that nickel allergy affects up to 15% of the world’s population, although most people do not realize they have it. 

Nickel allergy is classified as an Allergic Contact Dermatitis, very similar to poison oak and poison ivy. It is an overwhelming response of the immune system. When nickel comes in contact with the skin it gets absorbed, triggering the killer TLR4 cells to attack the affected area. The result is redness, swelling, and itchiness. If the item causing the reaction is not removed it will progress to blisters and open fissures. At this point, infection becomes a danger. Nickel allergy and sensitivity may even be causally linked with other problems like IBS [1].

So if nickel allergy is a problem, why is nickel used at all? Because it is a phenomenal anti-corrosion metal, used in nearly all industries, to harden other, softer metals it is alloyed with (e.g., gold jewelry is alloyed with nickel to make it durable and usable, as pure gold is much too soft on its own for jewelry use).

Some of the areas of contact one has to be wary of are:

  • Jewelry.
  • Metal in clothing, such as snaps, belt buckles, zippers.
  • Eyeglass frames.
  • Cutlery.
  • Surgical implants.
  • Orthodontics.
  • Foods can contain high nickel of levels, causing systemic problems.
  • Coins, especially for cashiers.

Basically, any metal object you come in contact with, usually repetitively or for a long duration, could be the culprit causing an allergic reaction. There is no cure for nickel allergy yet, but there is promising work being done. 

For now, the only cure is avoidance. If you suspect you might be allergic to nickel, see your doctor. ALWAYS mention your nickel allergy if you are having any implants or dental work done! This cannot be stressed highly enough! 

Shop nickel free. A nickel-free belt will spare your belly, and your ears will prefer nickel-free earrings.

Educate yourself. Learn how nickel can affect you and your family. Be aware of what foods are high in nickel.  

We developed this site because we, too, suffer from nickel allergy, and we want you to enjoy shopping with us!  

Thank you for shopping at!



  1. Coşgun S, Polat U, Kaya M, et al. (September 13, 2023) Nickel Sensitivity in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Cureus 15(9): e45196. doi: 10.7759/cureus.45196


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