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What Happens When You Are Allergic To Nickel & What Is Systemic Nickel Allergy?

Allergic contact dermatitis is a red, itchy rash that occurs after exposure to an allergen and by direct contact with a substance. Patients encountering this allergy don’t experience any symptoms immediately. You often notice its symptoms probably after 72 hours or more usually at the site of nickel contact. However, there are certain allergies such as Urticaria, also known as hives, red, itchy welts that result from a skin reaction sensitivity when you are in immediate contact with nickel.

Generally, individuals acquire nickel allergy after they are born. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 10 to 20 percent of the population is allergic to nickel. People who have an allergic reaction to other metals have larger probabilities of nickel allergy. But, the medical community is unsure why people develop allergies to nickel.1

What Happens When You Are Allergic To Nickel?

What Happens When You Are Allergic To Nickel?

In the last few years, a new clinical problem evolved that perceived patients who regarded themselves to be suffering from problems caused by wheat and/or gluten ingestion, despite the fact they did not have any allergic conditions such as wheat allergy or gluten allergy. Similarly, reports state that 15% of patients suffer from an allergy to nickel. The pathetic fact is, nickel is the 4th most used metal in the manufacturing arena, therefore, people incur frequent contact to this metal.

Nickel contact dermatitis produces symptoms such as slight itching and redness, or harsh infections. If jewelry make your skin itch or your bracelet leaves a rash around your wrist, you may be allergic to nickel. If your health care provider diagnoses that you are allergic to nickel, the only way to prevent allergic reactions is to prevent exposure.

You can even seek the help of the over the counter medicines or remedies suggested by your doctor. However, when these treatment does not help nor respond, it is often advisable to see a specialist right away.4,5

What Is Systemic Nickel Allergy?

Nickel is a common metal that is found in many metallic items, either electroplated or as an alloy and is used to make many things. Nevertheless, they are one of the most common causes of an allergy that causes itchy and inflamed red skin and rashes. It is characterized by contact dermatitis associated with systemic symptoms after ingestion of foods containing nickel.

Some medical studies recognize systemic nickel allergy syndrome (SNAS) have an association with extra-cutaneous symptoms including the gastrointestinal system.

Nickel Allergy- Symptoms And Causes

Nickel allergies are fast-growing in the United States and this syndrome has the potential to develop at any age. Medical studies estimate that nickel allergy diseases are more common in women and girls than men and boys. This condition is often noticed after 12 to 48 hours your skin is exposed with a substance containing nickel. Symptoms include

  • Rash or bumps on the skin.
  • Increased redness
  • dry patches on the skin that resemble a burn
  • blisters, when the reaction is severe
  • peeling or thickening of the skin

What causes an allergic reaction to nickel? The exact cause of nickel allergy is unknown, however, a clinical trial shows that when your immune system shows some allergic reaction towards nickel or view nickel as a toxic agent. Basically, the normal human body reacts against bacteria, virus, fungi and other harmful substances to protect your body, but for individuals who have an allergy towards nickel, their human body shows a reaction when they come into contact with nickel.

Your immune system’s sensitivity to nickel, trigger once your first exposure or after recurrent or persistent contacts. The nickel allergy may be genetic, be inherited from parents or ancestors.2,3


  1. Systematic nickel allergy syndrome https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4406458/
  2. Quality of life in systematic nickel allergy syndrome https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03731494
  3. Causes and Symptoms of nickel allergy https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nickel-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20351529
  4. Nickel allergy symptoms, treatment and what to avoid https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321400.php
  5. Nickel Allergy and Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02750735

Also Read:

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 14, 2022

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