It’s a common misconception that “hypoallergenic” is used to describe something that is free of allergens – however, this is not true. “Hypoallergenic” is a term used for a product that carries a low risk of giving someone an allergic reaction, but an allergic reaction is still possible.
Nickel, copper, and lead are common allergens found mixed into jewelry. Nickel allergies are actually quite common – according to the American Academy of Dermatology, it is estimated that over 18 million people in North America are allergic to nickel. Nickel allergies often develop from using products containing nickel such as belt buckles, buttons, and zippers.
If you’re wearing something every day like an engagement ring or a wedding band, you’ll want to make sure it’s it will be completely comfortable for your skin. Here are 5 hypoallergenic precious metals for your engagement ring or wedding band.
Platinum is an incredibly safe option for sensitive skin. Platinum rings are never 100% platinum. Look for 950 platinum for your ring. It’s 95% platinum and 5% another metal – usually iridium.
Aside from being hypoallergenic, platinum is incredibly durable and will last for generations, making it perfect for heirloom pieces. The downside to platinum is that it can be expensive – but it’s worth it for your comfort.
Palladium is very similar to platinum in terms of durability. It’s even more rare than platinum and even harder, making it another great hypoallergenic option. On the Mohs scale, palladium falls at 4.8 while platinum falls at 3.5. It’s also less expensive than platinum.
Another advantage to palladium is that it’s super lightweight. Many palladium-wearers report not even noticing it on their finger. To learn more about palladium, check out our blog post here.
18kt Yellow Gold
18kt yellow gold is the most hypoallergenic of the yellow gold family. 18kt gold is 75% gold (18 parts gold, 6 parts alloy.) It’s commonly mixed with copper and silver. To read our tips on buying a yellow gold engagement ring, check out our blog post here.
18kt yellow gold is even more hypoallergenic than white gold, which is often mixed with larger amounts of nickel in order to give it a silver appearance.
Cobalt is another great hypoallergenic metal option. Outside of jewelry, it’s trusted as an alloy in dental and orthopedic implants for its hypoallergenic properties and strength. Cobalt is incredibly durable, scratch resistant, and less expensive than platinum. It wards off oxidation, so it rarely requires replating. It’s become increasingly popular for men’s wedding rings.
Possible Causes of Irritation
Sometimes people believe they are having an allergic reaction to their ring’s metal when the irritation is actually a result of something else. Moisture from washing your hands can be the culprit of irritation – water can get trapped underneath your ring and irritate your finger. This can also occur from swimming, exercise, or any vigorous activity that makes you sweat. Debris and lotion trapped under your ring can also cause irritation. Take your ring to get professionally cleaned and make sure your fingers are completely dry so you can rule out allergies. If you continue to have irritation from your ring, consult a doctor.
If you’re already aware of a metal allergy that you have, you can contact Ritani customer service to make sure the alloys in the ring you’re interested in are safe for you to wear. Ritani also offers a 30-day return policy so if you discover your ring is giving you an allergic reaction, you can return it for free.