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Nickel Allergy Responsible for Eczema

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Q. I suffered with eczema for years. It was so bad that my sheets were bloody when I woke up. The intense itch in my hands was torture.

I saw numerous doctors, including dermatologists, who prescribed steroid creams and prednisone. I was at the end of my rope when a doctor suggested the nickel in my dental partial was affecting me.

Once I got rid of the metal, my hands started to clear. Surprisingly, so did my depression. I doubt that I am the only one suffering with eczema and depression as a result of nickel toxicity. I am so glad that my eczema is finally almost all gone.

A. Dermatologists have known about nickel allergy for years. Usually it is seen as contact dermatitis. This can show up as a rash or irritation where the snap of a pair of jeans touches the belly. Rings or earrings may also trigger a reaction.

Dentists have reported reactions to nickel in orthodontic appliances and other dental fixtures. Thank you for sharing your story.

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20 Comments

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This sounds EXACTLY like my situation, wish I could communicate with the person who wrote the message. I have been tested positive for nickel allergy.

My sister and I both found that DAWN soap and any kind of anti-bacterial soaps gave us eczema on our hands. I take a bar of Dove soap with me whenever I go on vacation with a tiny bar in my purse for airport bathrooms. I don't seem sensitive to nickel, however.

Is it possible for someone to be allergic to titanium dental implants??

I have heard that you can do your own test for nickel allergy. Get a hold of a "buffalo nickel" coin and tape it to your skin. It should cause a reaction if you are sensitive. I haven't tried this but I have the allergy. The reaction happens quickly and takes a long time to heal. The skin really over-reacts to tiny amounts of nickel. The destruction is astonishing.

How can the nickel in a dental partial be possible for itch on the hands? It's not like it's handled very long before placement in the mouth. I believe I also have a nickel allergy (though I've never been tested), but it has always shown up as contact dermatitis. My son, as an infant, had complete red circles starting at his neck going all the way down his stomach. The pediatrician pointed out that he was allergic to the nickel in the snaps on his onsie. You would have thought the dermatologist would have been able to diagnose it (that's who we went to first).

My son had a nickel allergy that presented as a rash where the button of his jeans were. Topical meds prescribed by the doctor worked just fine. However, as he grew, he would not tell me his tummy was broken out, and within a few weeks, we'd see the rash on his elbows, back, knees, even on his neck. The nickel allergy had moved to a systemic state and the topical no longer worked. So, I now cover all of his jeans buttons with a tiny piece of fabric I sew on by hand (he's 20 and still brings his jeans to me to "fix" and he's careful about jewelry that has nickel in it. He no longer gets a rash at the spot where the nickel touches, it comes out elsewhere, so he has to be cautious.

I had a nickel allergy as a teenager, but seemed to have outgrown it by the time I was in my 20's, but I was also careful not to expose myself to nickel, and I think that helped.

anything you put on the skin or the mucus membranes can be absorbed into the bloodstream where it can cause allergic reactions or other not immediately recognizable symptoms.

We used to coat the snaps on the onesies and the snaps of blue jeans with fingernail polish. That seemed to work for us.

I've had a decade of eczema, fibromyalgia, IBS and depression. I finally worked out I was allergic to the nickel in my fixed retainer in Jan which I had removed ASAP. I got much worse (suddenly) after the removal and figure I swallowed some. After three months I am finally starting to get better :)

I'm trying to figure out if my problems are also related to my fixed retainer. I have CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome). Since I got my fixed retainers about a month ago, I've had a huge relapse, am fatigued, have serious brain fog and just feel generally horrible. I taped a nickel to my arm for 24 hours and I do have a nickel allergy.

I contacted the doctor to find out what wire she used so I can know if it is that for sure. I need a retainer, so I guess I'll get stainless. It was good to hear that it took someone 3 months to see results.

Hi Jan, fixed retainers are usually around 10% nickel. I'm in the process of having a MELISA metal allergy test but have pretty much worked out I also have chromium allergy as my improvement plateaued until I stopped my supplements with chromium. A multi and one specific for fibromyalgia ironically! I took a chromium tab the other to see what happened and had a flare. Nickel allergies often occur concurrently with chromium & cobalt which are also probably in the retainer. You need to get it off and get one of those moulded plastic ones if it's bottom teeth. Not sure if that do that for the top.

I spoke to the dentist and both fixed retainers are made with stainless steel so it is not the retainers. That doesn't mean that I don't have a metal problem since I had mercury toxicity and had DMPS for that. But since I have chronic fatigue syndrome it is mostly likely a crash that I'll just have to get through. And by the way, not all ortho problems can be fixed with a Hawley retainer, like mine for example.

Stainless steel is not a naturally occurring metal but an alloy and often containing nickel & chromium & cobalt.
I have the most straight teeth from my orthodontic work but I would've happily given them up if I could've traded them for my health.

Stainless steel is not a naturally occurring metal but an alloy of several metals.

Yes that is true but from what I understand there is much less nickel and it is bonded in such a way as not to be a problem. And I am feeling better so I believe it was related to my other illness.

I have lived with a chronic, incurable and progressive disease for 16 years. The slightest thing can cause a relapse which is what happened.

For me this was just a blip on the radar.

Feel better.

I go Friday to have a nickel test done and I also have eczema, and IBS. I never thought about them all coming from the other.. I feel just bad most of the time.. I really hope I find something to help.. I guess I'll try the finger nail polish...

My daughter started complaining of itchy hands about 1 month after her retainer was applied. She would pick at her fingers til they would bleed. This was in Spring of 2011, By fall she was complaining that her hands were on fire with discomfort up to her elbows. By Christmas it had spread to her back and feet. She has seen every type of specialist possible and she has stumped them all.

I gave each doctor a health history of my daughter's problems that began with braces 4 years ago and none of them thought the retainer was causing the problem. Last week I came across this post and immediately had her retainer removed. I was wondering if anyone else has had similar problems that expand past the itchy hands and tell me how long it may be before she starts to feel better. Also, if anyone has had testing done for an accurate diagnosis. Any info is appreciated. Darlene in Cleveland.

Foods also contain nickel do you should watch out for almonds, spinach, and others. I was getting intense indigestion and discovered that's what it was.

Jan, I have exactly the same thing! Dawn, any other soaps or cleaning products and I will be itching for months! Only use Dove. Now my 5 year old daughter has the same story. I've had this start since I was about 11, when I came to US. It is something with the products here, I came from Russia and I never had issues there with my skin.

I am now 25 and I have been suffering with this for the last 14 years. I am allergic to some chemicals, so I avoid anything but Dove but I really don't want my daughter to have to live her life like this. Please let me know if you have any breakthroughs with this.

Jan and KD:

You both mentioned dermatitis on the hands in association with cleaning/grooming products. You may be sensitive to a preservative called methylisothiazolinone. In recent years it has been used in many, many personal care products.

I have had mild to moderate eczema on my hands for years causing some slight itchy discomfort. The worst part for is the unsightly peely rash.

Avoiding the above named ingredient has helped me to reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks.

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