How To Manage A Nickel Allergy

Unfortunately, there is no cure for a nickel allergy currently. Thus, this means treatment is simply focusing on avoiding reactions from nickel and managing them should they occur anyway. Thankfully, there are a variety of ways individuals can manage this so their nickel allergy does not have a major impact on their daily life. In this article, we look at the best treatments to help individuals cope with a nickel allergy. The good news is many of them involve home remedies too, which makes it not only incredibly easy for allergy sufferers to manage, but also natural and cost-effective as well.

Corticosteroid Creams And Pills

The chemical treatment most common for managing a nickel allergy today is the use of corticosteroid creams and pills. Such creams include the likes of clobetasol-based products or betamethasone dipropionate-based creams. The problem with utilizing them long term is it can cause the skin to break down and thin over time. There are nonsteroidal creams on the market today like tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, though they also have uncomfortable side effects involving a temporary sense of stinging where they are applied. 

Corticosteroids can also be taken orally, as with prednisone. This will help especially in cases where the rash is spread over a bigger area or the reaction itself is severe. The range of unpleasant side effects includes mood swings, weight gain, and higher blood pressure. Two oral antihistamines, cetirizine and fexofenadine, can help with the itching, though they are not necessarily so effective if the skin itching is severe.

Phototherapy

A more radical treatment for a nickel allergy that requires the involvement of a doctor is known as phototherapy. In this form of treatment, patients expose their skin to a carefully controlled quantity of artificial ultraviolet light. This is not the go-to treatment medical professionals recommend up front. Doctors generally only recommend it for patients with a nickel allergy who do not improve with the use and application of topical or oral corticosteroids. 

The biggest problem with phototherapy is it can require months for it to begin to have a noticeable impact on a nickel allergy and the uncomfortable reaction from one. With multiple treatments stretching out over literally months, this particular treatment can get expensive for patients whose insurance will not cover it.

Use Soothing Moisturizers And Lotions

Patients with nickel allergies can also use soothing moisturizers and lotions to help manage their symptoms, particularly the rash. Among the best choice of soothing lotions is calamine lotion, which is famous for relieving itching. In the vein of proactive treatments, patients should always moisturize on a regular basis when they suffer from skin conditions. The fact is the skin possesses its own natural barrier, and it gets disrupted as it interacts with allergens such as nickel. 

Patients can get around this by applying emollient lotions and creams like mineral oil or petroleum jelly. This will help decrease the need to apply topical corticosteroids. In any case, if such home-based treatments do not show improvement or especially if the rash worsens, patients need to call a doctor.

Apply Wet Compresses

A tried and true method for addressing rashes and skin allergies of various types, including a nickel allergy, is to apply wet compresses on them. This can actually do more good than many might think at first. Wet compresses can aid in decreasing the feelings of itchiness and assist patients in drying out unpleasant blisters. 

To make the most effective wet compress for a nickel allergy, patients will want to take a clean cloth and soak it in tap water or alternatively in Burow's solution. This easily available over-the-counter solution is comprised of aluminum acetate. When the compresses dry out, patients will need to change them after re-wetting the cloth. In theory, individuals can use this home remedy as often as they like daily.

Carefully Select Jewelry

A proactive measure for treating an itchy nickel allergy and rash may seem obvious, but patients need to be careful not to come into contact with nickel in the first place if possible. A big source of tactile nickel many individuals are not even aware of comes from jewelry. Patients with a nickel allergy will need to be extra careful not to pick out nickel-based jewelry to wear, which is commonplace.

In other words, individuals have to carefully select any jewelry they choose to wear. The best options are to choose pieces made from sterling silver or real gold, though stainless steel typically works as well. In some cases, jewelry made from nickel or other common allergens can be sprayed with a special coating or brushed with clear nail polish so individuals with a nickel allergy can wear pieces for at least short periods without experiencing a reaction.