Is Nickel Allergy Hereditary & Does 14k Gold Has Nickel In It?

Nickel is a metal and vital trace element for the human body. It is widely present in the environment and is required for different industrial purposes. This is why it is also included in many everyday items. In general, nickel is harmful only in higher doses, but in people with a nickel allergy, even small amounts can cause skin irritation.1

If nickel-containing objects get in contact with the skin of people with nickel allergy, the sweat present on the skin can dissolve the nickel ions out from the metal and trigger allergic reactions. Since this is a contact allergy, the simplest solution for those affected is to avoid using nickel-containing objects. Unfortunately, there is no specific therapy available to counter this problem.2

Is Nickel Allergy Hereditary?

Is Nickel Allergy Hereditary?

Environmental exposure levels are significant for contact allergy development. But genetic factors are also an important issue in contact dermatitis due to allergy. Genetic factors have recently been shown to be relevant for eczema on hands. The impact of genetic or hereditary factors on the growth of nickel allergy is assessed by scientists in recent times. Therefore, if you have others in your family with nickel allergy, there is a higher chance of you developing the same tendency.

It is not always a nickel allergy when the common symptoms of nickel allergy appear, such as a red rash, skin irritation, and itching. These symptoms are common for other allergies and skin irritations. You must have a proper diagnosis of the allergy through a nickel allergy test. Seek the help of a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and following treatment. If you find that you are allergic to nickel, take extra care to avoid direct contact with nickel-containing objects and ingestion of food contaminated with nickel.3,4

Some Of the important points on nickel allergy:

  • Nickel causes skin irritation in people with a nickel allergy
  • The contact with nickel must be avoided in these cases
  • Nickel can be found in jewelry, but also in other everyday objects
  • There is no specific cure for the problem
  • Nickel allergy can also happen after ingesting food contaminated with nickel
  • You will be more prone to nickel allergy if you have a family history of it4

Does 14k Gold Contain Nickel?

24K is gold contains 100% gold, while 18K gold has 25% other metal alloys and 75% gold. On the other hand, 14K has only 58% of gold and the rest 42% is different metals. Therefore, nickel may be found in 14K gold, which is an alloyed metal and may still trigger nickel allergy to individuals allergic to the metal.5

How To Know You Are Allergic To Nickel?

The typical signs of nickel allergy are detectable at the skin sites that have come into contact with the metal after a few hours or days following the contact. The most common signs are itching, redness and the appearance of the rash. The rash usually goes away once the object containing nickel is no longer in contact with the skin. But sometimes it may remain even after removing the nickel-containing object, which is known as chronic contact dermatitis.

Whether you are affected by a nickel allergy or not can be easily detected by observing your skin at the site of nickel contact. Development of itches or red rash is a typical sign of nickel allergy. Remove the causing object (jewelry, watches) immediately to stop it getting aggravated.1


Nickel is a metal which is necessary for trace amounts for the normal function of the human body. Nickel toxicity happens when the exposure through contact, ingestion or breathing is in high concentration. However, some individuals have a nickel allergy. For them, low exposure to nickel can trigger an allergic reaction. Nickel allergy can be hereditary with people having a family history of it are more prone to the allergy. 14K gold is an alloyed metal with 58% gold and the rest consisting of other metals, including nickel. Thus, 14K gold can cause nickel allergy to susceptible individuals.


  1. Goldenberg A, Vassantachart J, Lin EJ, Lampel HP, Jacob SE. Nickel allergy in adults in the US: 1962 to 2015. Dermatitis. 2015;26(5):216-223.
  2. Ahlström MG, Thyssen JP, Wennervaldt M, Menné T, Johansen JD. Nickel allergy and allergic contact dermatitis: a clinical review of immunology, epidemiology, exposure and treatment. Contact dermatitis. 2019.
  3. Bryld LE, Hindsberger C, Kyvik KO, Agner T, Menné T. Genetic factors in nickel allergy evaluated in a population-based female twin sample. Journal of investigative dermatology. 2004;123(6):1025-1029.
  4. Lidén C. Metal allergy: nickel. Metal Allergy: Springer; 2018:423-434.
  5. Song J, Noh Y, Lee H, Choi M, Song O. Properties of the Master Alloys for White Gold Products with Silicon Contents. Korean Journal of Materials Research. 2015;25(2):90-94.

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