Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Certain factors may increase your risk of developing a nickel allergy, including:
- Having ear or body piercings. Because nickel is common in jewelry, nickel allergy is most often associated with earrings and other body-piercing jewelry containing nickel. If the first jewelry you wear after a piercing contains nickel, your body is constantly exposed to the metal during the healing time. And people who have piercings often wear jewelry every day. The more piercings you have, the greater your risk of developing a nickel allergy.
- Working with metal. If you work in an occupation that constantly exposes you to nickel, your risk of developing an allergy may be higher than it is for someone who doesn't work with the metal. In addition, people who have regular exposure to nickel while doing "wet work" — as a result of either sweat or frequent contact with water — may be more likely to develop nickel allergy. These people may include bartenders, people who work in certain food industries and domestic cleaners. Other people who may have an increased risk of nickel allergy include metalworkers, retail clerks and hairdressers.
- Being female. Women and girls are more likely to have a nickel allergy than are men and boys. This may be because females tend to have more piercings and get them at a younger age.
- Having a family history of nickel allergy. You may have inherited a tendency to develop a nickel allergy if other people in your family are sensitive to nickel.
- Being allergic to other metals. People who have a sensitivity to palladium, cobalt or chromium may also be allergic to nickel.
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