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Could I be allergic to body jewelry?

AAFA's "Ask the Allergist" is a free service provided by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Our allergist will answer your questions about asthma and allergies. We provide only general advice about managing asthma or allergies, medicines and treatments. "Ask the Allergist" does not answer questions about specific consumer products. This information is not a substitute for medical advice from your physician. Always talk with your doctor before changing your asthma or allergy management plan.

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I constantly have infections when I put my jewelry in my ears, belly button, etc. I've tried stainless, 24 karats gold, and even plastic. Any recommendations so my body doesn't keep rejecting a piercing?

One possibility is contact dermatitis to metals or other materials. Contact dermatitis is a delayed allergy and antihistamines would not be helpful. Symptom may include eczema, skin inflammation, and/or itching.

Poison ivy is also a type of contact dermatitis. An allergist can test for contact dermatitis with a test called patch testing. This involves placing patches (kind of like stickers) on your back. These have several different allergens. These are typically worn for two days, removed and then the skin is reviewed again the following day to look for eczema under the patch to determine which allergens are triggers. Nickel and cobalt are common metal triggers. Titanium is often at lower risk for a reaction. Getting a consultation with a board-certified allergist would be a good first step.

Allergy, Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)
Answered by

Douglas T. Johnston D.O. FAAAAI, FACAAI

Reviewed and Answered

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