By guest blogger, Cassie Brewer.
Costume jewelry may be hazardous to your child’s skin and health. Jewelry allergies are common—especially reactions to nickel—and may cause itchiness, discomfort and redness. A report by CBS News in 2012 also found that chemicals and dangerous metals like lead may be lurking in earrings, metal bracelets or fun and funky necklaces and can cause a range of issues.
And, according to a Daily Mail article titled “Could jewellery make you ill?”, a flare up to costume jewelry may pop up at any time. The Daily Mail interviewed a dermatologist at the Cranley Clinic in London who cited that other chemical, materials and metals besides nickel also may cause an allergy.
“Other antigens such as wood, stains and paints – which are also present in some modern costume jewellery – can also cause the condition,” Professor Nicholas Lowe told the Daily Mail in an interview in the article. “Often, when I give patients the diagnosis, they will tell me that it can’t be contact dermatitis because the trigger is a piece of jewellery that they had been wearing for months or even years without a problem. But something can change in the immunological balance in your skin that can suddenly make you more susceptible. And once someone has dermatitis, skin becomes more reactive and sensitive.”
Costume pieces are far from harmless, and parents aren’t always going to be sure about what exactly is in those pieces. Most boutiques and inexpensive shops often don’t indicate a jewellery item’s make and content. The mystery of the jewelry and the possible presence of questionable metals and chemicals should cause parents to take pause before purchasing.
While a child may have an allergic reaction to any item, knowing the purity of the metals used to create a piece of jewelry can help lessen the likelihood of an itchy reaction. When adding to your child’s jewelry collection, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Buy pure metals.
There are many metals that are known to be safe for sensitive skin. Opt for gold or platinum when purchasing rings and bracelets. But for inexpensive pieces, choose sterling silver. Be sure to look for metal stamps of authenticity—karat markers for gold, 925 or sterling stamps for silver.
Watch the weight of earrings.
Little earlobes may be tugged down by heavier earrings—yes, even studs. Earrings that are too heavy and large can stretch piercings and cause irritation. Many parents pierce an infant’s ears, but stay away from larger studs like bigger diamonds or gemstones. If parents want to commemorate a special birthday or religious occasion with a gift of diamond stud earrings, choose smaller carats like 1/3 carat or even more diminutive for tinier lobes.
Make sure rings and bracelets are the perfect fit.
Jewelry should fit properly. If rings are too loose, they will fall off or become a nuisance. Rings and bracelets that are too small will cut into skin or cause indentations and irritation. Tighter jewelry also may trap dirt and debris, which also irritates the skin.
Practice Proper Jewelry Hygiene
Clean jewelry to remove any dirt and debris that may cause skin irritation. Use a soft bristle toothbrush to gently clean the nooks and crannies of rings. Use witch hazel or rubbing alcohol to sterilize earrings after wearing. Also thoroughly clean piercing sites and teach kids not to share earrings!
Choose Screw-On Earring Backs
For babies and toddlers, earrings can be a choking hazard. To keep little hands from prying earrings out of their lobes, make sure earrings feature screw-on backs. These may only be secured by parents and cannot be pulled out.
Children often love having their own jewelry collections. Unfortunately, most inexpensive costume pieces are often comprised of mystery metals. Choose jewelry from pure metals to keep kids safe from dangerous chemicals, toxic metals and allergic reactions. Sterling silver is an inexpensive option for rings, bracelets and earrings, but gold and platinum pieces are perfect gifts for special occasions. Just be sure to instruct children about proper jewelry hygiene and remember to only purchase pieces that are age-appropriate. With the right metals, styles and sizes, your child’s jewelry look will be on-trend…and safe for their health!