General Question

erichw1504's avatar

Why are my fingers so sensitive to my wedding band?

Asked by erichw1504 (26391points) February 10th, 2011

I got married last August, so I’ve been wearing my wedding band (white gold) for less than a year. Once Winter hits, I get very dry skin, especially on my hands. So, since December, everytime I try to wear it I develop a rash underneath. Then I have to leave it off for a few days and apply lotion on it often until it heals. I’m pretty sure I’m not allergic to any type of metal. It’s most likely due to dry skin (since this only started in the Winter).

Do you or anyone you know have a similar problem? Why does this happen? What can I do to prevent it? What is a good lotion for dry hands?

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33 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Same here. I’ve found that taking it off at night solved the problem. Leaving it on consistently was causing a lot of irritation. I’m also prone to severely dry skin, my skin is also sensitive, I blame it on those two factors.
Have you tried shea butter for your dry skin?

bobbinhood's avatar

I used to wear a ring and a watch all the time, and my skin would freak out. I have found that if I take them off at night, my skin is happy as can be. It also helps to dry under the ring after showering or washing my hands.

erichw1504's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf I’m going to do that now, just wear it during the day. At least until it warms up here. No, I haven’t tried shea butter, does it work good?

erichw1504's avatar

@bobbinhood Thanks for the tip about drying under the ring!

bobbinhood's avatar

There is some discussion of good lotions within this thread if you want to check it out. You’ll have to sort through the answers a bit since lotion wasn’t really the question. There’s also good tips in some of the answers for preventing skin from getting overly dry.

Soubresaut's avatar

I get horribly dry hands. (But no wedding ring to irritate it.) When my hands are really bad I cover them in a bit of olive oil. Those Greeks knew what they were doing: don’t use too much, and while at first it’s kind of oily, the oil soaks in and the skin feels marvelous. Maybe that’ll help?

Meego's avatar

My mother has dealt with dry skin and issues with sensitivity her whole life, her hands dry out so bad her skin on her fingers crack and causes her pain…I ended up finding this lotion for her, she swears by it now, her hands are soft now.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The winter dry skin may only be part of the cause. White gold contains nickel. The following is a quote from an article “What is White Gold?”

“The commonest metal which causes a significant bleaching effect in gold is nickel, which has the great advantage of being inexpensive, and also providing, in 18 carat alloys, a good colour match for platinum, however its colour matching in 14 and 9 carat alloys is poor. It also has the serious defect that it commonly causes dermatitis, through allergic reactions when worn in contact with the skin…..Most American and Italian white gold alloys use nickel.”

You can coat the inside of the ring with clear nail polish.

erichw1504's avatar

@Tropical_Willie How long will the nail polish last on it?

john65pennington's avatar

My wedding band has never been taken off in 45 years. Sometimes i get the itch from hell underneath. I apply hydrogen peroxide and let it bubble a few minutes. This usually takes care of any problems with my skin thats associated with my wedding band. Might give it a try.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@erichw1504 You may have to “re-paint” once or twice a month.

Buttonstc's avatar

If you prefer an unscented alternative for moisturizing your hands at night, there is a terrific product called Albolene.

Most larger pharmacies carry it but call around first. It’s a terrific product which is not that well known for some reason.

I’ve been using it for years with great success. It’s so difficult to find non perfume alternatives for common products. If that’s what you want be sure to get the Unscented version.

cazzie's avatar

It doesn’t have so much to do with your dry skin as the mix of metal with the gold. White gold is a mix of gold (which is a gold colour) and something that turns it a more white and harder material. Some times, the metal it’s mixed with is nickel. Nickel causes an allergic reaction in some people (me included). You want to find out if your ‘white gold’ is gold-palladium-silver or gold-nickel-copper-zinc. If it is the latter, with the nickel, you’ll have your answer.

Go to your jeweller and have it tested. Forget the moisturisers. That is not the culprit.

I will send you one of my intense moisturisers free of charge if your ring comes back cleared of nickel.

erichw1504's avatar

@cazzie So, why didn’t this happen from August to November?

cazzie's avatar

The surface of the skin is more in tact when it’s not feeling dry. Dry scaly cracks = skin more prone to allergic reactions and contact dermatitis. The dry skin simply exacerbates the real problem.

erichw1504's avatar

@cazzie Gotchya, I’ll let you know what type of metals it has.

cazzie's avatar

Do that. I’m very interested to hear.

augustlan's avatar

I also have metal sensitivity, and if this is your problem it will likely get worse over the years. I can no longer wear my wedding band (or any of the silver or white gold jewelry I own) at all. Which really pisses me off, since I’m not a yellow gold kind of girl. :/ Not even for an hour. I used to get away with wearing it for short periods of time, but apparently the more you are exposed to it, the worse it gets. Now, if I wear anything other than gold earrings, even for a short while, my ears actually bleed. Ick.

I’ve resigned myself to having to switch to gold jewelry. I also have to make sure the metal buttons on my jeans don’t touch my stomach, and can’t wear any watch because they all seem to have a silver colored back on them. It’s a royal pain in the ass.

erichw1504's avatar

@augustlan Wow, that sucks. I’m sorry. Well thanks for letting me know that it gets worse the more you are exposed to it.

cazzie's avatar

@augustlan you should be able to wear the gold-palladium-silver blended white metals. Have you tried sterling silver? If you react to sterling silver as well, then you must also be allergic to copper, too. (there’s about 7.5% copper in most sterling silvers)

I can’t wear any off the shelf, costume jewellery from the US. Just the expensive stuff. ;oP. In the EU, all jewellery must be nickel tested because allergies to nickel have become so epidemic here.

Some cheaper earrings I have bought make my ears itch and ooze after just an hour or so, so there’s just no hope, but sterling silver still works for me, fortunatly.

augustlan's avatar

@cazzie I can’t wear any white metal at all (including sterling silver, white gold, and surgical steel) or rose gold, either. Since the buttons on my jeans eat my stomach, I’d guess I’ve got the copper allergy, too. :(

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@augustlan There is nickel in all of the metal alloys you mention. I have been in the jewelry business, we had a customer that could only wear PLATINUM or nothing.

cazzie's avatar

Oh, btw, my wedding ring is titanium and platinum. No problems with it.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

There’s is a high carat Gold and Titanium alloy. Called 990 Gold, it is limited in availability.

NO nickel. Big bucks….

augustlan's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I’ve been reluctant to try platinum, due to cost issues. The 990 gold sounds interesting, but it’s still gold in color, yes? I really like my silver colored jewelry.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It is GOLD in color. If you are reluctant to try platinum, try pure titanium. (They use it for medical implants.)

augustlan's avatar

I’ll definitely look into that. Thanks!

erichw1504's avatar

Well, here’s what happened: I took it to the jeweler and they suggested to get it rhodium plated on the inside and see if that helps. I wore it overnight and it still gave me a reaction. So, it’s definitely not just from dry skin. I’m allergic to it.

I ended up having to buy a whole new ring (tungsten this time) and I plan to just wear my original on special occasions with plenty of nail polish applied to it. My new ring will come in about two weeks from today, so I’ll let you all know if I am also allergic to this one!

cazzie's avatar

Cool! Tungsten! I had to look that one up… and was fascinated.

I’m sorry it wasn’t just a matter of the right moisturiser, but at least now you know and you can avoid costly mistakes, and avoid buying jewellery that you are allergic to.

I have customers come to me all the time and talk about their eczema. I’ve done a lot of research into contact allergies and the use of tungsten in jewellery is a new one to me, so thank you for that!

augustlan's avatar

Tungsten! Definitely let us know if that does the trick. I’m in the market for one that won’t eat my finger, too.

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erichw1504's avatar

Tungsten did the trick, folks! This saga has now ended. Thank you all and have a nice evening.

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