Why did my jewelry turn my skin green?!

If you've ever removed your jewelry to discover that it has turned your skin a greenish or blackish hue, this article is for you.

Everyone has a different chemical makeup so the way that your jewelry interacts with you may not be the same as how my jewelry interacts with me.

Allergies, skin sensitivies, perspiration, the oils in your skin, the things you eat, the perfumes, soaps, lotions and potions you use on your skin, and even the cleaning products and fragrance sprays you use around your home can affect the way your body interacts with a piece of jewelry.

Most jewelry is made of alloy metal which is a mixture of metals. 

Even your fine jewelry is actually an alloy.

In its purest form, gold is hypoallergenic. However, because pure gold is very soft it has to be mixed with other metals in order to create durable jewelry. 

The gold to "other metal" ratio is measured in karats. The most popular karats of gold jewelry are 22K, 18K, 14K, 12K and 10K. The lower the karat, the less pure gold the jewelry article contains.

When you combine these metal alloys with the culprits mentioned in the list above, they can react, causing a form of oxidation on your skin.

Reactions with brass can cause a blackish, gray hue and copper is most often the perpetrator behind a greenish or bluish tone. 

This discoloration will dissipate on its own over a few hours or a day but if you need to help it along, a quick swipe with nail polish remover will do the trick.

Now that we have that out of the way, how can you prevent this skin discoloration?

First and foremost, keep your jewelry clean. Wipe it down with a jewelry polishing cloth before and after wearing.

Keep it away from water, perfume, beauty supplies, soap and other chemicals. 

Don't wear your jewelry while cleaning, swimming, putting on your makeup, exercising or during activities when you know you're going to get sweaty. 

You can also coat your jewelry with a thin layer of clear enamel to prevent the offending metal from reacting with your skin. However, this should only be done by a professional jeweler and only on areas that actually touch your skin. ie. the back of a pendant, inside of a ring, back of a bracelet, etc.

If you're in need of a quick, less expensive fix, you can coat your jewelry in a thin coat of clear nail polish. Again, this should only be done on the areas that actually touch your skin. This will have to be done every few months or so, depending on how often you wear your jewelry.

If you discover that you have overly sensitive skin you may find yourself not being able to wear jewelry as often, as long or even at all.

Metal allergies can usually be curbed by purchasing platinum, silver and higher karat gold jewelry. 

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