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What Leads To Nickel Allergy & Can It Be Cured?

What Leads To Nickel Allergy?

A nickel allergy is the body’s contrary immune reaction when an individual comes into contact with a substance containing nickel. The immune system in the body usually fights against bacteria and viruses and wards off the illness.

However, when you are suffering from nickel allergy condition, your immune system mistakenly considers nickel as an intruder and begins to produce dangerous chemicals resulting in an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction to nickel is perhaps the commonest cause of itchy skin and rashes.

Nickel is one of the typical reason for causing allergic contact dermatitis: a red itchy rash or irritation caused by direct contact with a substance or an allergic reaction to it. Your doctor can often identify a nickel allergy by examining your skin and checking the history if you’ve exposed to metal.

If the cause of your rash is not apparent, then your dermatologist may recommend a patch test (hypersensitivity allergy test). These skin tests are typically used to help diagnose allergies that include airborne allergens, foods, insect stings, and penicillin and can help identify the substance that triggers the allergy.

What Leads To Nickel Allergy?

Certain factors may increase your risk of developing a nickel allergy, including items such as jewelry for body piercing, watches made out of nickels, hooks in clothes and bra, coin, toys, utensils, devices, e-cigarettes, and many others. Also for people who have an occupation in manufacturing or industrial areas may probably have longer exposure to metals, therefore, they have higher chances of developing nickel allergy.1

Other people who may have an increased risk of nickel allergy include metalworkers, tailors, and hairdressers. They’re more common in women and girls when compared with men and boys (17% and 3%, respectively). Female who become sensitized to nickel have a higher prevalence of nickel allergy because they tend to do piercing and wear jewelry made of nickel (chain, bracelet, and earrings).

Nickel allergy is also caused due to hereditary (genetic factors) and sensitivity to metals. Some theories that say that nickel allergy is neither contagious nor hereditary however there is no proven evidence to justify the fact. Normally the rashes due to nickel allergy spread later on even areas which haven’t come into contact with the metal and become red and itchy.

It is often advisable to see your doctor. If you think you are infected with this disease and if you have symptoms such as increased redness, pain, pus in the infected area, blisters, dry patches on the skin talk to your doctor right away.2

What Leads To Nickel Allergy & Can It Be Cured?

Can Nickel Allergy Be Cured?

Although there is no cure for this syndrome yet it is often advisable to avoid the allergen that causes sensitivity to nickel allergy. Topical treatment is the first-line treatment for nickel sensitivity problems. Some of the medications used to treat nickel allergy are lotions and creams, oatmeal baths, and other medications called topical corticosteroids that decrease inflammation. Let us see a few medications that can improve this condition

  • Corticosteroid Cream- These cream have the potency to reduce the severity of dermatitis. However, this is not recommended for prolonged periods because it can result in possible side effects such as atrophy and telangiectasias
  • Oral Corticosteroid- Oral prednisone suppresses allergic but not irritant patch test reactions in individuals hypersensitive to nickel.
  • Oral Antihistamine- Oral antihistamines, such as fexofenadine and cetirizine provides immediate relief and suppress the intensity of itching.3,4


There is no complete cure for contact dermatitis. The best treatment to improve the condition is to avoid the allergen causing this condition. Also, medications prescribed by your doctor help reduce the skin irritation caused by a nickel allergy.


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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:June 3, 2021

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