The Skin Center
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Wedding Ring Rash
Wedding ring rash, also called wedding ring dermatitis, is a fairly common skin rash that occurs under the band of a ring. Individuals with a history of sensitive skin, eczema, allergies, or atopic dermatitis may be more prone to this type of rash. Wedding ring rash is most commonly caused by either an actual allergy to the nickel component of the ring itself, or an irritation from the buildup of soap and/or debris under the ring. Often the rash may occur even after many years of wearing the same ring without any problems. Over the course of a few days to weeks, a small red patch of skin may begin to appear under the ring. This rash may initially come and go spontaneously, and after a while become chronic. Although wedding ring dermatitis is most common in married women, essentially anyone wearing any ring for prolonged periods may complain of irritation and allergic reaction.
Most 14-18K gold jewelry has a small component of nickel used to harden the naturally soft and malleable gold. Nickel allergies are extremely common in the U.S. and worldwide but many people do not know they are allergic to this common metal. Over the last several years, there seems to be an increase in the number of nickel allergic people, and nickel was previously named allergen of the year. Once you are allergic to this metal, the allergy does not go away.
Nickel allergies may be evident to many products like metal buttons on jeans, bra clasps, and metal cases. If you suspect you may be allergic to nickel, a painless and easy patch test is available through an allergist or a dermatologist to help confirm this diagnosis. If you already have confirmed that you are allergic to nickel, there is an inexpensive Nickel test for home use that readily permits checking products for nickel content.
Wedding ring rash may also arise simply from irritation from soap and water trapped under the ring for prolonged periods of time. Wearing a ring on the same finger every day gives no to little room for the skin beneath to air out. Sometimes just wearing the ring on a different finger is helpful. Simply removing the ring for each hand washing and drying the ring and the finger well before replacing the ring may be effective in relieving this type of wedding ring rash.
Wedding ring rash is easily treatable. Most cases improve with avoidance of the triggers and use of a topical cortisone cream like hydrocortisone (Cortaid). More resistant cases may require a short course treatment with a prescription strength cortisone cream like clobetasol or triamcinolone. In mild nickel allergies, regularly applying a thin coat of clear nail polish underneath the wedding ring may help to decrease skin contact with nickel. In cases of severe nickel allergy, changing to a platinum or titanium ring band may help alleviate the symptoms. If the rash does not get better after 5-7 days of avoiding the ring or using cortisone creams, professional medical care may be warranted to exclude other causes.
For more information, please call (949) 582-7699 or visit the practice website at www.lagunaskincenter.com.
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