Copper Allergies - Issues and Resolutions
Over recent years copper has become a more regularly used metal within the jewelry industries and does seem to be appearing in more and more items. That is because copper has been found to have some excellent healing properties and can help with many health issues. They include problems such as Arthritis, repetitive strain injury, and other muscle and bone-related health issues.
Copper is also one of the most accessible metals to work with on its raw form and one of the most straightforward metals to be able to merge with other metals. Copper was one of the first metals known to be used by man.
Unfortunately, not everyone can use copper for its health benefits as part of their jewelry as they can find that they are allergic to this metal. In this article, we will look at what copper allergies are, what their symptoms are, alternative jewelry that you can use in place of copper, among other things.
What is copper
Copper is a mineral and can be found in plant life, the human body, and, of course, in rocks in the earth. It is a soft, malleable metal in its raw form and has many uses. It is believed that one of the first peoples to make use of this metal was the Sumerians. The Sumerians' work with copper brought it to the attention of the ancient Egyptians, who then went on to use it for everything: those included jewelry, tools, decorations inside and outside the pyramids.
Copper was most commonly known to be mined in Cyprus by the Romans, who then went on to use the copper to create pans to be able to cook with and also went on to use the copper to make money and even piping.
The chemical compound of copper is CU, and it is number 29 on the atomic table. Copper appears as a reddish-brown and is excellent as a heat and electricity conductor. Copper is one of the few metals in the world that you can use in the mined form straight from the earth.
Copper can be re-melted and recycled, there is nothing that needs removing, and it does not lose any of its quality, meaning that it is 100 percent recyclable. With this in mind, it is no surprise to find that most of the first copper mined is still in circulation today and is even known to be the third-highest recycled metal available.
Copper Allergy Symptoms
Copper is one of the most common metals that we come into contact with in our daily lives. Today it is used in so many things such as doorknobs, kitchen utensils, cooking equipment, and bathroom fittings, to name a few.
The symptoms of a copper allergy can range from mild to severe. If you have a mild allergy, then you will see that rash and some itching at the site of contact on your body. The more severe allergic reaction results in dermatitis.
If you have allergic dermatitis, then the symptoms will be a skin rash, itching, and small blisters will appear on the skin.
Copper IUD Allergy
Although we are a jewelry retailer, we believe that having as much information about allergies as possible is a great thing. Therefore, we have included this section.
Copper is also in IUDs (Intrauterine Contraceptive Devise). So, if you are female and looking at having this device fitted, then it is best to check that you have no allergies beforehand.
The symptoms of copper IUD allergy reoccur each month in women with their menstrual cycle. These symptoms will show as a skin allergy of hives and itching all over the body. With a typical copper allergy, the skin irritations are local to the area that has come into contact with the copper. However, with a copper IUD allergy, the symptoms can spread all over the body.
You may also find that there is irritation to the genital area, and there can also be swelling on the lips and tongue. If you show symptoms of a copper IUD allergy, see your doctor and have the IUD removed as soon as possible.
What is Dermatitis
Dermatitis is a medical condition that causes the skin to become red, sore, itchy, swollen, and blistered when coming int contact with something the skin is allergic to, in this case, copper. The first signs and symptoms of allergic dermatitis are that the skin will be extremely itchy and burning. The early physical signs will be small red bumps or blisters on the surface. These are known as papules or vesicles.
Dermatitis can be treated easily with topical creams and other home remedies, but if you do notice that you are developing dermatitis as a result of jewelry, then remove the items immediately.
Test for Copper Allergies
If you have worn copper jewelry and have noticed that your skin reacts to it negatively, then you may wish to have a test for copper allergy. If this is the case, then you will need to visit your doctor and ask for them to refer you to a Dermatologist.
The Dermatologist will then conduct a patch test on you, also known as a contact hypersensitivity allergy test. The patch test is typically on the upper area of the back by applying potential allergens, such as Copper, Nickle, Chromium, and Cobalt to the skin. These are applied to the back in the form of patches and then left in place for 48 hours.
Once the 48 hours pass, you will then go back to the Dermatologist, and they will remove the patches. If, when these patches get removed, the skin underneath has inflamed them, you are allergic to that particular metal.
What Happens Next
So, you have found that your everyday copper jewelry has made your skin irritated and uncomfortable, and you have visited the Dermatologist and found out that you are, in fact, allergic to copper. Does this mean that you can no longer wear jewelry?
Unfortunately, it does mean that you will no longer be able to wear the copper jewelry that you already own, and you will have to be more aware of this when looking into new jewelry pieces.
Thankfully, you are not the only one with this allergy. As it is an allergy that seems to be becoming more prolific, there are now some fantastic ranges of hypoallergenic jewelry that can be purchased. That means that you can still have beautiful pieces of jewelry, but they will no longer cause your skin to itch and suffer. Take a look at the information we have on hypoallergenic jewelry here.
You can also find lines of hypoallergenic jewelry here on Antteros. There is the Schimata line, which combines the metals Zinc and brass. You can find this line by clicking here. There is the Atsa collection, which is made from stainless steel and is in our stainless steel section. The 3rd collection is Argy collection, but please be aware that this collection does contain 7.5% copper. If you do have a copper allergy, then please avoid this collection. For this reason, we have not linked this collection here, but you can always find it on the home page should you wish to look at this collection.
Having a copper allergy can be very inconvenient, especially with the number of things used in day to day life that are made from or contain copper. If you do believe that you have a copper allergy, then it is advisable to get tested so that you know the severity of your allergy.
But just because you have an allergy to a metal used so regularly in jewelry does not mean that you must stop wearing jewelry altogether. Have a look through our collection, and we are confident that you will find some beautiful pieces at very reasonable prices to replace your old copper jewelry pieces.