Does Gold Really Cause Gold Allergy?
All that glitters is not gold. Literally, that is the statement which saves the reputation of this precious metal. In this article we will see how it does so. Does gold really cause Gold Allergy?
A lot of people complain of being sensitive to this metal. A study in North America tested 4041patients. Out of that number, 388 or a mere 9.5 % were actually found to be positively reacting to the patch test. Of the subjects tested positive, the percentage of women was 90.2 %. This helps us to appreciate the fact that the primary source of this allergy is jewelry made of it.
By far, gold in its purest form is known for its hypoallergenic properties. What in gold actually causes the undesirable reactions could be best understood by having a look at the grades of gold established for making jewelry and accessories.
Gold Jewelry could be of five types:
– This is jewelry made of pure gold. Gold is its purest form is extremely malleable and the jewelry made from is susceptible to lose its shape. Out of 24 part of metal in it all the 24 parts would be gold without any alloy mixed in. Jewelry made of it is expensive and the most hypoallergenic.
22 ct. Jewelry
– This is jewelry made of gold and alloys such as silver or copper mixed in. The proportion would be such to ensure a minimum gold content of 916 parts out of every 1000 parts of the metal. Relatively lower amount of sensitivities are reported from this type of jewelry unless one is allergic to the traces of silver or copper in it.
18 ct. Jewelry
– Gold in this composition is the most sought after in jewelries. It has to contain a minimum pure gold content of 750 parts out of 1000. Mostly it is made up of 75% gold, 16% silver and 9 % copper. This makes for very enduring jewelry. However, a lot of people suffering from sensitivities to silver and copper, have a tough time wearing them.
14 ct. Jewelry
– Most popular choice for gold jewelry in the US, this has a minimum pure gold content of 585 parts out of 1000. A sample of 14 ct. gold could contain 58.33% gold, 32.95% silver, 8.97% copper and 0.2% zinc or nickel. Anybody allergic to nickel, silver or copper would suffer from 14 ct. jewelry.
9 ct. Jewelry
– This is generally called the cheap gold and contains a minimum gold content of 375 parts out of every 1000. It has 37.5% gold, 12.1% silver, 44.4% copper and 6 % zinc. Thus this is what gives gold the bad name of being allergic. In reality, it is the inexpensive silver, copper and zinc in it which is the real culprit.
Causes of being allergic to the yellow metal
- Perspiration, surging hormones around menstrual cycles in women can bring in more discomfort. The body chemistry causes the metals in the jewelry to react unfavorably sometimes.
- Fragrances, deodorants, perfumes, hair sprays in contact with the metal can have a corrosive impact on it thereby making it more vulnerable when it comes to causing allergies.
- Storage boxes may contain organic compounds (sulphur) which in contact with the metal sets off chemical reactions that might cause skin problems.
- Cooking can bring the metal in contact to a lot of acids and organic compounds. Juices from onions, lemons and other vegetables may react to one of the alloys in the jewelry and cause allergies.
Symptoms of Gold Allergy
- Itching in body parts in contact with the jewelry.
- Mild swelling and redness.
- Contact dermatitis may set in with eczema. The skin would be filled with bumps and rashes. If severely infected, the little zits would have pus in them.
- Rarely, but hives too could be a possible outcome of such sensitivities.
Treatment of Gold Allergy
- Avoiding wearing the jewelry causing it is the best solution. Or one could move to 24ct. jewelry or the ones made of palladium, platinum or titanium.
- Over the counter Vitamin E supplements or Vitamin E cream helps. They help the wound to heal quicker.
- Aloe vera, a herbal coolant softens the skin and and repairs it.
- Flavonoids such as Quercitin are powerful antioxidants. They heal skin wounds faster by establishing proper blood circulation in the area. They are known to block the release of histamines and improve allergy symptoms.