- By sahlhealth
- May 18, 2021
- 65 views
Nickel allergy is a common cause of allergic contact dermatitis — an itchy rash that appears where your skin touches a usually harmless substance.
Nickel allergy is often associated with earrings and other jewelry. But nickel can be found in many everyday items, such as coins, zippers, cell phones and eyeglass frames.
It may take repeated or prolonged exposure to items containing nickel to develop a nickel allergy. Treatments can reduce the symptoms of nickel allergy. Once you develop a nickel allergy, however, you'll always be sensitive to the metal and need to avoid contact.
An allergic reaction (contact dermatitis) usually begins within hours to days after exposure to nickel. The reaction may last as long as two to four weeks. The reaction tends to occur only where your skin came into contact with nickel but sometimes may appear in other places on your body.
Nickel allergy signs and symptoms include:
Rash or bumps on the skin
Itching, which may be severe
Redness or changes in skin color
Dry patches of skin that may resemble a burn
Blisters and draining fluid in severe cases
There's no cure for nickel allergy. Once you develop a sensitivity to nickel, you'll develop a rash (contact dermatitis) whenever you come into contact with the metal.
Your doctor may prescribe one of the following medications to reduce irritation and improve the condition of a rash from a nickel allergy reaction:
Corticosteroid cream, such as clobetasol (Clobex, Cormax, others) and betamethasone dipropionate (Diprolene). Long-term use of these can lead to skin thinning.
Nonsteroidal creams, such as pimecrolimus (Elidel) and tacrolimus (Protopic). The most common side effect is temporary stinging at the application site.
Oral corticosteroid, such as prednisone, if the reaction is severe or a rash covers a large area. These drugs can cause a host of side effects, including weight gain, mood swings and increased blood pressure.
Oral antihistamine, such as fexofenadine (Allegra) and cetirizine (Zyrtec), for the relief of itching. However, these may not be very effective for skin itching.
This treatment involves exposing your skin to controlled amounts of artificial ultraviolet light. It's generally reserved for people who haven't gotten better with topical or oral steroids. It can take months for phototherapy to have an effect on a nickel allergy reaction.