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How Does Nickel Allergy Affect The Body & What Triggers It?

Nickel allergy is caused in people who are hypersensitive to nickel. Nickel allergy, because of the extensive presence of nickel in daily life, is a common cause for skin allergy. The patient develops various symptoms and various triggers increase the risk of nickel allergy.

How Does Nickel Allergy Affect The Body?

How Does Nickel Allergy Affect The Body?

Nickel allergy is one of the common causes of allergic dermatitis. The patient may expose to nickel at least once during his lifetime. Not all the people exposed to nickel get allergic reactions. Only those individuals develop symptoms that are allergic to metal. Although it is not known why some people are hypersensitive to nickel. The immune system of a hypersensitive individual may act against nickel perceiving the substance as hazardous. This results in the release of inflammatory mediators that leads to various symptoms. Following are some of the symptoms of nickel allergy:

Allergic Dermatitis: Nickel results in allergic contact dermatitis in hypersensitive people. The symptoms began to appear a few hours to a few days after exposure to nickel. Allergic dermatitis may subside within 2-4 weeks. Most commonly, allergic dermatitis occurs in that part of the skin which is exposed to nickel; however, this may occur in other parts of skin1.

Rashes: Rashes and redness began to appear at the site exposed to nickel. The patient may also experience raised bumps over the skin.

Itching: Itching may also develop on rashes. In condition with prolonged exposure, the patient may experience severe itching.

Blisters: Fluid-filled blisters are formed on the skin in case of extended exposure to nickel. These blisters are known as weeping blisters as the fluid is being drained from them.

Dry Patches: Dry patches occur on the exposed part of the skin. If left untreated, the skin becomes cracked and leathery2. The skin may change its cooler and may look like burnt skin.

Respiratory Conditions: Exposure to nickel may also cause systemic effects. The patient may experience asthma attacks, pulmonary fibrosis, and chronic bronchitis.

Cancer: Prolonged exposure to nickel, when seen as an occupational hazard, my result in cancer of nose and throat.

Death: Extended exposure to nickel may lead to fatal consequences.

What Triggers Nickel Allergy?

Various factors trigger allergic symptoms due to nickel. For initiating allergic symptoms, there should be direct contact of nickel with skin, the contact should be for a prolonged period to release inflammatory mediators and the exposure of nickel is in such an amount that it triggers the immune system. Following are some of the triggers for nickel allergy:

Jewelry3: Jewelry is one of the most common causes of skin allergy due to nickel. Female are more prone to nickel allergy because of the piercing of ears. Further, the gold and silver items contain a small amount of nickel, prolonged exposure of which may cause allergic reactions. People who are highly sensitive to nickel should not wear the jewelry made of nickel.

Clothes: Various clothes accessories such as belts, hooks, zip, and buttons are made of nickel and acts as a trigger for allergic reactions. Patient with nickel hypersensitivity may either replace them with plastic or create a barrier between the nickel contains products and skin.

Electronic Items: Various electronic devices may sometimes contain nickel. An individual should cover the device to prevent its exposure to skin.

Utensils: Various utensils in the house are made of nickel. Nickel hypersensitive people should substitute these nickel utensils with utensil made from other materials.

Food: Certain food may contain nickel in the amount substitute to trigger an allergic reaction. These foods include soybean, tofu, cashews, and licorice.


Most symptoms occur on the skin exposed to nickel. However, in severe cases, the allergy may spread to other body parts. Extended exposure results in systemic effects. Symptoms include contact dermatitis, rashes, itching and redness, and fluid-filled blisters. Various triggers for nickel allergy include jewelry, utensils, clothes, electronic devices and food containing nickel.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 13, 2022

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