Is that... Ring Rash?


Few weeks ago, there was an itchy patch on my finger where I usually wear my ring. I noticed it after I finished gardening and washed up. I took the ring off and noticed a small patch of irritated skin. I was wearing the 5mm plain band ring, made of sterling silver, so I don't think it was an allergic reaction to sterling silver since it's supposed to be hypoallergenic for most people.


ring rash
At first, there was a 'stinging' sensation and itch.
Not very obvious here, but there was a patch of redness beneath the ring.

 

Searched up on the Internet and it seems like a common issue for those who often wear their rings over a long period of time. There is even a "wedding ring rash" since most people wouldn't take off their wedding rings. 

 

What is a “ring rash”?

“Ring rash” or “wedding ring rash” is a condition that’s often associated with a wedding ring or other ring that is worn all the time - like literally everyday, you don’t take it off when you do chores, wear it in shower, frequent hand washing etc. The rash normally occurs just under the band of your ring.

Note that the rash is not the result of a new ring being introduced to the skin, but happens after long time of wearing the jewelry. It can come and go, may last for a few days or a few week or even become chronic if left untreated.

 

Symptoms of Ring Rash

May vary from person to person but here are the common symptoms you will see:

  • red or itchy patches
  • scaly patches
  • swelling or burning
  • dry or cracked skin

 

Causes of Ring Rash

Image via Pinterest

Sometimes, ring rash occurs due to contact dermatitis. A lot of jewelry you see today contains traces of nickel in order to strengthen the metal, such as gold. If you are wearing a gold ring, it may be the nickel in the gold that triggered the allergic reaction.

 

Debris, dead skin, moisturisers, cosmetics, soap and dirt gets trapped between the ring and skin. This can build up over time, sometimes they get stuck in between the settings or stay on the surfaces of the ring. This is how it can attract bacteria, causing the irritation and the rash. 

I would think that you would experience ring rash more with rings with larger surface areas because it covers your finger more. What do you think?

 

How do I resolve this?

  • Remove the ring, let your skin breathe

Think of jewellery as adornment, like makeup or skincare. Occasionally, take your rings off your hands and let your skin breathe. 

  • Moisturise

After washing your hands thoroughly with gentle soap and water, apply moisturiser to the affected area. I just use my hand cream, but I think you can use other options such as aloe vera gel which known to soothe irritations.

  • Apply clear nail polish

If you would like to, you can apply a layer of clear nail polish on the inner surface of the ring to prevent nickel from coming in contact with your skin.

  • Consider professional cleaning

For rings set with precious gemstones, the prongs and gaps between the gems and the ring may be tricky to clean with brush and soap. Take it back to your local jeweller for them to be professionally cleaned. 

 

Here's a satisfying video of a ring being cleaned in an ultrasonic cleanser. 🙊

 

Conclusion

Image via Pinterest.

Ring rash is just temporary, it's your body telling you to let your skin breathe. So once in a while, take the rings off. It is also important to develop good habits such as making sure you dry your hands properly and clean your rings to prevent another episode of ring rash (note to self).

If the rash persists after a long time, please see a doctor immediately.

 

References

https://www.medicinenet.com/wedding_ring_rash/views.htm

https://www.healthline.com/health/ring-rash

https://www.healthline.com/health/contact-dermatitis#symptoms

 






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