Find out why this strange reaction happens and keep your skin from discolouring

By Marlene Rego

Why does some jewellery turn your skin green?

Ever notice a tinge of green on your digits after wearing costume jewellery, sterling silver or fake gold? Don't worry, it's probably not an infection or allergic reaction.

That green hue is just your skin’s response to the copper and other metals commonly mixed into some of your jewels. When the compounds in copper come in contact with acid in sweat, they react to form salts that are green, which leave a residue on the skin. That’s why on a sweltering day, you may notice the staining is even more pronounced. Some soap and patience will take care of it.

Are you allergic to nickel?

Some clues that you have a real allergy to metals: Watch for red, irritated and itchy skin (possibly in addition to staining). It's thought that nickel allergies are fairly common. Nickel is often mixed in with gold and other metals, and when it comes in contact with foundation makeup, it can even create black marks.

It largely depends on body chemistry, including acidity and lotions on the skin. 

If this regularly happens to you, there are a few steps you can take to alleviate it. Look for stainless steel jewellery and keep your baubles tarnish-free. Try switching the soaps and lotions you use to see if you notice a difference.

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Web exclusive, November 2011

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