Silver allergy - can it be: symptoms, mechanism of reaction to jewelry, first aid, other metals - allergens

Silver entered human life two thousand years ago and still holds a leading position as jewelry metal, antique tableware, collectible coins. When buying such items, few people think about whether or not allergy to silver. Therefore, the occurrence of unpleasant symptoms is not associated with the wearing and use of silverware.

A variety of forms of silver in human life. The effects of the metal on the body

Silver has accompanied man for many thousands of years. All this time products made of it were highly valued, passed on by inheritance, created collections. Originally, white metal was used to create jewelry, later it became a popular coin alloy. To this day it is still the material for tableware. If a family had "family silver" - it was considered a sign of luxury and aristocracy.

Cleaning silver
Miscellaneous silver jewelry

High appreciated the disinfecting properties of silver. It has long been proven that this metal disinfects water and fills it with healing properties. In the temple they consecrate water with a silver cross. When a child's first tooth erupts, he is given silver spoon.  Это не просто дань традиции.

In addition to breast milk, the baby begins to receive solid food, such a spoon becomes a protection against germs.

Allergy to silver jewelry

When you buy jewelry, the question arises: can you be allergic to silver? The answer is affirmative. It is noticed that before such a problem was not encountered. Allergic manifestations occur at any age. It is related not to the base metal, but to the impurities that are included in the composition of products. Silver itself is a soft metal, to make it stronger, they add other substances.

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Alloy of silver and copper in the compositions of the 8 main tests: properties and applications of various alloys from perfect sterling to elegant shibuichi

Manifestations and symptoms

The allergic reaction is manifested on the skin where there has been prolonged contact with the metal. It can manifest itself in the following ways:

  • severe itching;
  • inflammation and swelling;
  • redness, signs of hyperemia;
  • rashes (small pimples with purulent contents, can turn into crusts);
  • increase in body temperature;
  • erosion (if the condition is neglected)

If several symptoms occur simultaneously, it is necessary to call an ambulance. Quincke's edema is likely to develop.

Mechanism of allergen reaction  

Unadulterated silver It is a 999-grade alloy, but such an alloy is not used in the manufacture of jewelry. Allergies can be caused by an alloying metal, often nickel, which is added to give luster and strength in order to save on more expensive and high-quality alloying additives.

Allergy to silver jewelry
Allergic reaction to silver jewelry

The nickel alloy gradually washes out in contact with the skin, so a reaction may occur after several years of use. The reaction occurs as follows:

  • Metal ions entering the blood through the skin change its composition.
  • Foreign elements are perceived by the immune system in a hostile way. It tries to fight them like viruses or germs.
  • Antibodies are produced. The first symptoms of allergies appear.

This is how our body protects itself against the invasion of foreign cells.

Forms of allergies

Hives  Rash on the skin, causing itching. Appears as blisters with redness
Allergic bronchitisShortness of breath
Allergic runny nose  Sneezing, itching of mucous membranes, nasal congestion. Not a health hazard, but uncomfortable
Eczema  Thickening of the skin, redness, itching, painful wounds. Dry chapped skin
Quincke's edemaInflammation of mucous membranes, burning, itching. Popularly called "giant urticaria

Allergy test

Skin allergies are diagnosed and treated by a dermatologist. When you visit the clinic, you will first have a verbal interview followed by a test in one of two ways to determine the allergen:

  • Application. A cloth cloth soaked in liquid metal salts is applied to the skin. The procedure is performed on an undamaged area of the skin. It is covered with polyethylene to avoid evaporation and other irritants. The result can be evaluated after 6 hours. The application is carried out in a hospital.
  • Patch test. A patch containing common allergens is placed on the skin. For the convenience of the patient, it is attached to the back. The test strip is removed after 48 hours and the reaction of the body is observed. If signs of skin irritation appear, treatment is prescribed.
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Allergy test
Prick test to detect allergies

This method gives a more accurate result, but is time-consuming.

If an allergy is suspected, you must go to a medical facility immediately. Only a diagnosis for the allergen will help select the right medicine to help cure the disease.

Causes of silver allergy in humans

Silver itself is not allergenic. Irritation on the skin is caused by nickel and other metals that are added to the composition to give strength and luster. As a result of contact with the skin, nickel ions enter the bloodstream through the pores and are perceived by the body as a foreign element. As a result, the immune system begins to fight them actively. Hence the allergic reactions.

Alloy composition

In the Russian Federation, approved alloy samples silver, which depend on the amount of precious metal and additives. Depending on the percentage, different items are made.

  • 720, 800, 830, 916: low-grade alloy, yellowish tint due to high percentage of copper, used for the manufacture of springs, needles, utensils, knife handles;
  • 875, 925, 960: high percentage of precious metal, widely used in the manufacture of rings, chains, earrings, brooches;
  • 999 is a pure metal, used for collector coins and bullion.

Product contamination

In addition to the impurities in the silver alloy can be a reaction to contamination of the product. This applies mainly to the rings, because they most often come into contact with other elements and there is an accumulation of bacteria that causes dermatitis.

Regular cleaning of the product is necessary. If the embossed pattern is applied, it is better to take to the master. The clasps of earrings, chains, and smooth rings can be cleaned at home.

Composition for silver cleaning:

  • ammonia;
  • toothpaste;
  • sodium bicarbonate.

After cleaning, wear the product only after the cure of dermatitis.

Dermatitis is an inflammatory skin lesion resulting from exposure to an allergen

Individual metal intolerance

Common reasonThe allergic reaction to the allergic reactions of the wearer is a natural reaction to the allergic reaction. One in three people with allergies has a genetic predisposition to the disease and intolerance to certain substances. That is, it is inherited from parents, and sometimes through the generation: from grandparents.

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First aid in case of a reaction

When an allergic person comes in contact with silver, there are no acute reactions, but it is necessary to have the knowledge and skills to provide first aid in such a situation.

  • exclude touching the allergen to the inflamed area of the body;
  • cool the inflamed area by putting ice on it;
  • give the victim an antihistamine;
  • Lubricate the affected area with an antihistamine ointment.

If the condition worsens, you should seek emergency medical help.

Asking for medical help

Even if you have removed the initial symptoms, you need to go to a clinic. What doctors can I make an appointment with for diagnosis and recommendations?

  • Therapist. In the outpatient clinic the examination should start with him. An initial examination will be performed, allergy symptoms and similar pathologies will be diagnosed. He will also form a plan of basic appointments and issue a referral to a narrow specialist.
  • Allergist. This doctor deals with pathologies related to immune system reactions. He will take your medical history, make a diagnosis, and prescribe immunotherapy. He or she will suggest a diet and possibly refer you to a related specialist.

Important! Do not self-treat allergies in children.

Asking for medical help
Visit to an allergist

Treatment of symptoms with medications  

 Allergies are treated with antihistamines. They are so called because it is the histamine that causes irritation when foreign substances enter the body. The medications block it and relieve the allergy.

Today there are three generations of this type of medication.

  • 1 generation. They have indiscriminate action. They block the receptors of the entire nervous system at once. This results in drowsiness. The effect is strong, but short-lived.
  • 2nd generation. Characterized by less effect on the central nervous system, because they act selectively. Less pronounced drowsiness, but less effectiveness.
  • 3rd generation. High selectivity of action on histamines contributes to a powerful anti-allergic effect and absence of side effects.


Forms of release:

  • Tablets: Tavegil, Zyrtec, Cetrine, Erius, Suprastin.
  • Ointments, gels: Beloderm, Hydrocortisone ointment, Sinaflan, Fluokortolon, Viprosal.
  • Syrup, drops: Tavegil, Phenystil, Zodak.
  • Creams with retinol, accelerating the recovery of the skin: Solcoseryl, Bepanten, Spasatel, Depantenol.
Read also
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Antihistamines to treat allergies

Alternative remedies of traditional medicine  

If necessary, you can use the recipes of folk medicine, which never fail. You can use them in addition to a course of therapy. But it is necessary to take into account the individual reaction of the body.

  • Freshly squeezed juice of carrots, apples, cauliflower and parsley: thanks to the easily absorbed vitamins and minerals, it helps to heal skin infections;
  • Potato, cucumber, apple juice compress: use both separately and mixed to eliminate swelling;
  • decoction of oak bark: wash irritated skin area for anti-inflammatory, disinfecting effect.

Prevention of allergic reactions in the body

Symptoms of allergies will disappear, but you should not forget about preventive measures, so that the disease does not recur. There is a great risk that it will become chronic.

  • Do not wear more than one at a time silver jewelry: accumulation of the allergen in large quantities can cause a second reaction;
  • If you can't deny yourself the pleasure wear silver things, choose those that are more in contact with your clothes: brooches, cufflinks;
  • buy jewelry made of precious metals only in jewelry salons with a proven reputation. Well-established in the jewelry market are such brands as Sunlight, Pandora and other networks of multi-brand stores, whose reputation is confirmed by many years of work;
  • When carrying out prosthetics, remember to warn your doctor about the reaction to silver.
  • Take off your jewelry when you clean and bathe.
Elements of silver marking on jewelry
Silver Jewelry

Metal allergy in terms of psychosomatics

The cause of allergies can also be psychosomatic. It is not for nothing that the saying "all diseases come from nerves" is still relevant today. It is connected with serious negative experiences or impressions, which on a subconscious level block the feeling of a full life. This also applies to jewelry. Self-analysis will help improve the situation. Recall, perhaps with the silver product is associated an event from the distant past, and the reverberations are manifested now, when you have purchased the ring you like.

You can get rid of psychosomatic allergies before they become chronic by deep introspection and awareness of the problem.

Question and answer section

Can I wear a gold cross if I became allergic to a silver one?

Opinion of an expert
Elena Kibantseva Anatolievna
Allergist-immunologist, Movement Clinic, Saratov
Yes. The crosses are made using an alloy of gold, which includes silver and copper. The allergen is often nickel, which is added for strength, but in minimal amounts. But that does not mean that you will not be allergic to gold jewelry. It is better to be tested at the clinic, so you know exactly which jewelry is excluded for you.

They pierced the child's ears and put 925-grade silver carnations in them. The ears are not healing for a long time. Can silver intolerance manifest itself in this way?

Opinion of an expert
Elena Kibantseva Anatolievna
Allergist-immunologist, Movement Clinic, Saratov
925 is the highest grade of silver. Such items have only 7.5% of impurities of other metals, it is equal to pure silver. Most likely, the ears are not healing well because of the non-sterile needle: germs were introduced during the puncture. Silver earrings have nothing to do with it. Still, you should visit a dermatologist to rule out allergies and get recommendations on how to treat piercing. Don't mess with children's health, even the smallest things.

How can I tell if I'm allergic to silver or gold?

Opinion of an expert
Elena Kibantseva Anatolievna
Allergist-immunologist, Movement Clinic, Saratov
Only an allergist can determine what your body is reacting to by redness, itching and rash. He will test for the alloy component and make recommendations for treatment and prevention.
Gold allergy
Allergic reaction from a silver ring

Can I wear medical steel jewelry if I have a reaction to silver?

Opinion of an expert
Elena Kibantseva Anatolievna
Allergist-immunologist, Movement Clinic, Saratov
Yes, you can. Medical steel is hypoallergenic. This alloy is becoming more and more popular among Russians, especially for ear piercing of children. The advantages are undeniable: scratch resistance, luster that does not fade and, importantly, the price is much lower than that of precious metal products.

Metals that cause allergies

The range of metals that cause allergies is not wide. But it is impossible to exclude them from everyday life because they are part of the alloys that surround us every day.

  • Nickel. Present in both medical device materials and household items. Minor amounts are found in food products.
  • Aluminum. The most common in the manufacture of cookware. In modern cosmetology it is added to antiperspirants deodorants. The food industry uses foil and baking molds.
  • Chrome. As protection of metal parts against corrosion. Component of some paints.
  • Zinc. Allergies are more common in women: a component of hair dye. But with today's style trends, men are also at risk of allergies.
  • Cobalt. Used in dentistry. It is a component of the material for fillings.
  • Copper. Jewelry made of this metal is popular with both women and men.
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Top 10 ways - how to melt silver at home: melting temperature in degrees, the effect of the sample on the temperature, melting the metal at home, the basic steps and tools

If you did identify an allergic reaction to silver, do not hurry to grieve: Today's jewelry industry offers a range of non-precious metals.

  • Titanium. Lightweight, strong, stable, and acquires unusual color when mixed with other elements.
  • Brass. An alloy of copper and zinc. Already popular in Ancient Greece. Items are gilded or silvered for aesthetic appeal. An indispensable accessory for vintage or ethnic styles.
Silver allergy
Allergies from wearing a silver chain

Allergist's comment

Ivan Alekseevich Ryabtsev
Ivan Alekseevich Ryabtsev
Dermatologist, Second Opinion Clinic Yekaterinburg
Ask a question
Doctors recommend that you take allergic reactions to the metal seriously. Once you have given up on silver jewelry and all symptoms are gone, it is still worth seeing a doctor for tests. If the examination shows that a certain component is allergenic to you, you should be careful when choosing a place of work. If your profession involves the use of this metal, it can accumulate in your body for years and then lead to chronic diseases.

The response of specialists is unequivocal: it is impossible to cure allergies, but with the observance of preventive measures, excluding allergens, it is possible to be in long-term remission.

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