West Houston Dermatology

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Atopic Dermatitis and Nickel Exposure: A Quick Fix

Nickel & Atopic Dermatitis

Many patients with atopic dermatitis experience significant skin reaction when exposed to nickel.  Nickel can be a ubiquitous exposure found in common items such as costume jewelry and buttons or snaps on clothing – especially for jeans.  The best policy is to avoid exposure to the irritant, but one cannot always do that – especially during the holiday season when one dresses up with costume jewelry and other adornments.  A simple solution is to paint a layer of clear nail polish on the item.  The clear polish will not change the appearance of the item, such as a pair of earrings, but it will prevent the release of nickel and thereby skin irritation.  However, dermatologists recommend that clear nail polish be reapplied after every 1-2 uses since the polish tends to chip off.  Controlling one’s atopic dermatitis can be challenging, but at least there are some simple ways to minimize the effect.  We welcome our patients’ comments about their tips and tricks so that West Houston Dermatology physicians and nurses may pass them on to other patients who may find them helpful.