METAL SENSITIVITY GUIDE
We’ve all experienced it at one point. We spend a whole day wearing our favorite jewelry, running errands and feeling fabulous. We return home, release ourselves from our jewels and the weight of a long day, only to discover a peculiar and unwelcome sight: Green Finger.
What is this phenomenon and why does it happen when wearing certain types of jewelry? Contrary to popular belief, the ring of skin that turns green underneath a piece of jewelry doesn’t occur due to the poor quality of the ring, nor is it harmful. It is a perfectly normal, yet rare, response to certain materials within the jewelry, and can appear when wearing fine expensive jewelry just as much as with more affordable options. But how does it work, and how can it be prevented?
Why does my finger turn green?
The patch of skin in contact with a ring turns green when the materials oxidise. This means they react to the pH levels of your skin and create a tarnish, which then leaves a stain on the skin. People who happen to have a higher acidic pH within their skin tend to experience this phenomenon more often and, whilst rare, it’s worth knowing what to do when such an instance arises.
Another common culprit is the chemicals in your hand creams which will cause the metal to oxidise even if your skin is not sensitive to metals.
The most common ingredient in any piece of jewelry that causes this scenario is copper. Copper is a useful alloy (stabilising material) that is combined with silver or gold-plated jewelry in order to secure the shape and consistency of the piece. Pure gold and silver are naturally too soft to work with, and therefore must be alloyed (stabilised) with other materials in order to create a secure, good-quality piece of jewelry. For example, the 925 sterling silver jewelry that we offer here at SOVENTE JEWELRY, is composed of 92.5% silver, and 7.5% copper (hence, the number 925).
What can I do to prevent my skin turning green?
If you are one of the few people who experience staining when you wear jewelry, there are some steps you can take to prevent such occurrences and better enjoy your accessories.
- Keep the area dry
Take off your rings before you wash your hands, shower, or go swimming. Damp skin can often expedite the process of oxidation and cause a more noticeable green stain on your skin. If you are going swimming, it’s especially important to remove your jewelry, as the chlorine will leave a green stain and also damage your jewelry!
- Pay attention with lotions
Chemicals found in lotions can also react to the materials in your jewelry, therefore causing a darker stain on your skin. Make sure the lotion has absorbed into your skin completely before putting on your rings.
- Ask about what materials are in your jewelry
Whilst green staining can happen from many different types of jewelry—both high and low quality, it is true that lower quality jewelry is more likely to cause a stain. Always be aware of what materials are present in your rings, in order to avoid the Green Finger. Stainless steel, 925 sterling silver, platinum, rhodium-plated and gold-plated materials are all made from safe materials that are good for sensitive skin, and yet can still cause some staining. Try to avoid nickel, as it is the cheapest and lowest quality material that can be found in jewelry, and is known to cause irritation and infection. SOVENTE JEWELRY does not contain nickel. If you are unsure, please contact us.
- Apply a polymer barrier
One of the best and most effective ways to avoid the Green Finger is to apply a polymer barrier on the inner band of your rings. This effectively creates a barrier between the jewelry and your skin, which prevents oxidisation and staining. A jewelry Shield product is cheap to buy, and you will need to reapply every few weeks once it has worn away. This is by far the cheapest and most efficient way of reducing Green Finger, without splashing out on expensive solid-gold or solid-platinum accessories!
- Try clear nail polish
If in dire immediate need, another alternative to a polymer barrier is clear nail polish. Just as with a polymer barrier, you can apply a layer of nail varnish to the inside of your rings in order to form some protection between the metals and your skin. This method is less effective, however, and can also change the appearance of your jewelry.
What do I do to treat a green finger?
Knowing how to avoid jewelry staining is useful, but you’re probably reading this article because you have already fallen prey to the unfortunate Green Finger. What can you do to remove the staining?
The first and most obvious step is to remove the stain by scrubbing your skin with soap and warm water. Use a nailbrush to provide a little more friction.
If this doesn’t work, you can also use make-up remover or rubbing alcohol for more stubborn stains. Wipe over the affected area with some cotton, and then rinse of with warm water and soap.
For particularly dark and troublesome stains, you may also use a non-acetone nail varnish remover. Again, use a cotton pad to apply gently over the stain, and rinse with soap and warm water. This method should be your last option however, and should not be used on a regular basis, as it is harsher on the skin and can cause dryness.
How will SOVENTE JEWELRY affect my skin?
Here at SOVENTE JEWELRY, we only use high quality 925 sterling silver, platinum-plated, rhodium-plated and 18k gold-plated jewelry in our products. You will never find nickel in our pieces, which is a cheap, low-quality metal that is known to cause irritation and infection. If you have sensitive skin, jewelry that contains platinum, rhodium and stainless steel is especially known to be less reactive, and will most likely compliment your skin type.
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