Metal Allergy


A met­al aller­gy occurs when your immune sys­tem over­re­acts to con­tact with a spe­cif­ic met­al. Your immune sys­tem’s sen­si­tiv­i­ty to met­al may devel­op after your first expo­sure or after repeat­ed or pro­longed exposure. 


You can be aller­gic to any met­al, but the most com­mon met­al aller­gies come from 

  • Nick­el
  • Cobalt
  • Chro­mates

These met­als are most typ­i­cal­ly found in:

  • Jew­el­ry
  • Cloth­ing fas­ten­ers, such as zip­pers, snaps and bra hooks
  • Belt buck­les
  • Eye­glass frames
  • Coins
  • Met­al tools
  • Cell­phones
  • Keys
  • Med­ical devices
  • Lap­tops or com­put­er tablets


An aller­gic reac­tion can present with­in min­utes or days after expo­sure to met­al and may last up to 4 weeks. The reac­tion typ­i­cal­ly occurs where your body came into con­tact with the met­al but can some­times show in oth­er places of your body. 

Com­mon symp­toms of a met­al aller­gy include

  • Rash or bumps on the skin
  • Itch­ing
  • Red­ness or changes in skin color
  • Dry patch­es of skin
  • Blis­ters and drain­ing fluid


To diag­nose a met­al aller­gy, you can meet with an aller­gist who will dive into your health his­to­ry look­ing for any con­sis­tent trig­gers to deter­mine if your symp­toms are aller­gic or non-aller­gic. Your aller­gist may also rec­om­mend a skin test or blood test to deter­mine if you are aller­gic to a spe­cif­ic metal.

Man­age­ment and Treat­ment

The best way to pre­vent a reac­tion if you are aller­gic to met­al is to lim­it your expo­sure. You can look for items that are usu­al­ly made with met­al that are made with safer sub­sti­tu­tions like cloth, plas­tic, or hypoal­ler­genic met­als. You can also cre­ate a bar­ri­er between your skin and the met­al like wear­ing gloves or cov­er­ing the met­al with things like cloth or clear nail pol­ish. There is no spe­cif­ic med­ica­tion or treat­ment that can cure a met­al allergy.