Q: How can I prevent nickel allergy?
A: Nickel is often found in jewelry, zippers, coins and many other products. When nickel is next to the skin, it can react with perspiration, allowing nickel ions to penetrate the skin, which can produce an itchy rash in susceptible people. Body piercing (including tattooing and acupuncture) can provoke nickel allergy. It may take a while for you to become sensitized— for instance you may not develop a rash until weeks or months after having your ears pierced.
If you are having any kind of piercing, make sure the work is done with surgical-grade stainless-steel needles. Then, for the first month, wear only stainless-steel or gold jewelry that contains no nickel. Look for jewelry labeled “nickel-free” or “hypoallergenic.” Wear stainless-steel, sterling silver or gold (18 to 24 carat) jewelry that does not contain nickel.