Have you ever bought a new piece of jewelry only to notice a green tinge on your skin after a few hours? The first time this happened, you were probably surprised and maybe even a little worried. Most seasoned jewelry lovers have "been there, done that" with green skin and while it's a harmless experience, no one really enjoys showing off a green glow around a ring or bracelet. So what causes this reaction and how can you minimize it? Let's talk about it!
Let's start with a quick lesson in jewelry composition first. Most of the jewelry you're wearing is a blended (also called alloyed) metal. Pure silver and gold is too soft to use for jewelry - or at least jewelry you want to wear regularly without scratching, denting, or changing it's shape. So these substances are alloyed with other metals, most commonly nickel, copper, or zinc, for durability to create the stunning sterling silver, 10K, 14K, and 18K gold we know and love!
Back to the green tint problem - you're probably wondering what metals can cause that green tint. Commonly, copper is the biggest culprit. It's ideal to be blended with other metals because on its own, its quite malleable but when mixed with other metals, it adds durability. But, copper can react to your sweat resulting in the dreaded green skin! Avoiding copper jewelry can make a big difference if you're trying to minimize that particular reaction.
Sterling Silver and Gold jewelry are also guilty of the green tinge! Silver and gold aren't the culprits but, as mentioned previously, they are alloyed with other metals. These metals can leave the embarrassing green hue on your skin. It's important to denote that just because a jewelry leaves a green tint behind doesn't mean it isn't high quality or "fake". This is a chemical reaction pure and simple, not a sign that your jewelry is low quality.
So what can you do about it? Your green skin may not be harmful, but that doesn't mean you want to sport it all the time. Here are some helpful tips to keep you looking your best:
- Don't wear jewelry that has turned you green before on hot days. Your sweat reacting to your jewelry's metal is the biggest causation of green skin, so try to avoid it. This also means remove your jewelry when working out!
- Clean your jewelry regularly to remove sweat, dirt, soap, lotions, or anything else that comes in contact with your pieces. Letting these build up on your jewelry can cause more reactions.
- Don't swim in your jewelry or wear it while cleaning. Additional chemicals found in swimming pools or cleaning liquids can lead to a green skin reaction.
- Consider applying clear nail polish or a jewelry safe sealer to your jewelry to protect your jewelry and your skin.