Nickel Allergy

What is a Nickel Allergy?

A nickel allergy is one of the most common types of skin allergies.  Nickel is used is many of the things that we come into contact with every day so if you have a nickel allergy, you will likely know about it and you will probably be forced to avoid contact with this material.

Nickel is found in zippers, frames of eyeglasses, money, jewelry, cell phones, keys, and much more. When it comes into contact with the skin, symptoms may occur within a 12-48 hour period.

What are the Symptoms of Nickel Allergy?

The most common symptoms of a nickel allergy are itching and a rash.  The rash is red and becomes more irritated with scratching.  Dry patches are also common.  When you scratch the affected area, it can become swollen and sometimes blisters form.

If they break, they leave scales and crusts.  Untreated nickel allergies can result in cracked skin that appears darker than your normal skin tone and can become leathery in appearance and feel.  The area may even fill with pus.

How is a Nickel Allergy Treated?

Doctors can often tell if you have a nickel allergy by looking at your skin and asking simple questions. They may send you to a dermatologist for a skin patch tests. Nickel allergies cannot be cured but the symptoms can be treated.

The first thing that is recommended is that you avoid coming into contact with anything that has nickel in it.  If you do come into contact with nickel and have a reaction,  over-the-counter antihistamine pills and hydrocortisone creams can help.  If your symptoms are severe, you may be prescribed a steroid cream.  There are also drugs that can be prescribed that help with your immune system.  Medication to deal with infections will help if your skin becomes cracked, blistered, or filled with pus.

Last Reviewed:
October 10, 2016
Last Updated:
August 10, 2017