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Eczema Skin Sufferers May Find Relief Eliminating Nickel

Updated on June 10, 2013

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Eczema Skin Sufferers May Find Relief Eliminating Nickel

Eczema is a skin disorder, the general definition being ‘any itchy skin dermatitis’. The severity different people suffer with varies greatly among individuals. It can be mild, from simple dry itchy skin, to redness, swelling, and even weeping blisters that are very painful.

Eczema has many different classifications. These include the following:

  • Atopic dermatitis – usually a person gets this form in childhood, and is usually the most severe and chronic.
  • Contact dermatitis – is contracted by skin coming into contact with substances that cause a reaction.
  • Dyshidrotic Dermatitis (Pompholyx) – a blistering eczema found more in women than men.
  • Nummular Dermatitis (Discoid) – this form is dry, non-itchy round patches, more commonly found in men than women, and more common in winter.
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis – red, itchy rash found frequently on scalp, face, and includes dandruff.
  • Hives – also called welts and can be painful and itchy.
  • Angioedema – similar to hives except the redness and swelling is below the skin’s surface.

There are mixed opinions about what causes eczema. Some medical professionals claim the cause is unknown. However, other experts believe a relationship between eczema and the metal nickel exist.

The Nickel Eczema Connection

The U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health did a study on 112 people suffering eczema and put them on a low nickel diet. The results of this low nickel diet after 4 weeks were that in 39.28% of the people, the eczema symptoms were controlled. The study concluded, “in some patients with concomitant contact allergy, intolerance to ingested nickel salts might be the real cause of the onset and perpetuation of widespread, chronic, allergic-type dermatopathies.”

External Sources of Nickel

People with eczema should consider reducing their exposure to nickel in various forms to see if this alleviates or eliminates symptoms. Some external sources of nickel exposure to look for include (but are not an exhaustive list):



Bra straps

Buttons on jeans and pants


Eye glasses

Cosmetic holders

Cell Phones


Pocket knives

Key rings



Paper clips

Pins and needles

Kitchen utensils and cupboard handles

You can buy a nickel test kit from a pharmacist or dermatologist to check your specific items. The kit contains two bottles of chemicals. When they are mixed together in the presence of nickel, a pink color occurs. The chemicals will not harm jewelry, but be sure to follow the kit’s detailed instructions.

Low Nickel Diet

You may want to try a 4 week low nickel diet to see if your symptoms improve. General suggestions are:

Foods that are allowed

Cereals, bread, flour, rice, pasta

Most vegetables

Fruit, raw & stewed

Tea, coffee, soft drinks, cordials, beer, wine

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, margarine

Foods to avoid

Canned spaghetti & baked beans

Green beans, broccoli, peas including split peas, canned vegetables

Canned fruit, dried fruit, nuts, cocoa, drinking chocolate, chocolate

Nickel in Drinking Water

In his book Water Technology: An Introduction for Scientists and Engineers by N.F. Gray states, “nickel (a precursor for eczema) is reduced from 50 to 20 ug” as a revision put in the November 1998 of the EC Drinking Water Directive, by World Health Organization.

Consider getting your drinking water tested for nickel levels. An alternative would be to use only pure, bottled water.

Another suggestion is to put a filter on your shower head.

It may be worth your time to further research the eczema and nickel connection and what you can do to reduce your exposure.

Warnings and Disclaimers

The statements of this article are not meant to substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. Its contents are not meant to diagnose, cure, treat, or provide relief for any condition.


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