Allergies to metal are the result of a sensitivity to certain metals. The most common metals that cause allergy symptoms are chromate, nickel, and cobalt. The popularity of body piercings has caused more people to have metal allergy symptoms, because the constant contact with the metal in body jewelry causes some people's bodies to develop a sensitivity to the metals.
The most common and mildest form of metal allergy symptoms is mild to moderate itching with no other physical symptoms. This is more bothersome than serious, and can be treated with over the counter medications.
Usually accompanied by itching, redness can occur in the areas in which skin came in contact with the metal in question. This can range from pink to very red.
Rash can occur as a symptom of metal allergy. This can be mild to severe, and can even result in broken skin and oozing blisters. If this happens, medical attention is needed as soon as possible.
Testing for Metal Allergies
An allergist can test a patient for sensitivity to various metals. This is usually done in the form of allergy patch testing. An allergy patch test is performed by placing certain substances (in this case, various metals --usually in powdered form) onto the skin, and covering the area for a period of time. Once the time has elapsed, the covering is removed, and the doctor assesses the reaction of the patient's skin to the metal allergens. A diagnosis is made at this time, based on the symptoms that resulted from the patch test.
Treatment for metal allergy is topical, in the form of creams or ointments. Itching can also be treated with oral antihistamines.
There is no cure for metal allergy symptoms. Once you become aware of an allergy to metal, you must simply avoid contact with the metal that you are allergic to.