I’ve had quite a few inquiries recently from people who suffer from eczema on their fingers, underneath their rings or wedding bands. This often shows up as a red, flaky rash that runs around the fingers where the rings usually sit, and affects even those that don’t usually show any signs of eczema anywhere else on their skin.

Today, let’s look at the two most common causes for this this type of eczema on your fingers, and how to easily get rid of it.

Soap build up under the rings

If you don’t take of your rings or wedding band when washing your hands, there is a good chance that the eczema is caused by a build up of soap on your ring. Your skin’s constant contact with the soap causes an allergic reaction that creates the itchy rash.

  1. To get rid of the skin irritation, follow these simple steps:
  2. Soak the ring in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes to soften any soap that may be stuck to your ring
  3. Use a cloth or soft toothbrush to give the ring a good clean to remove the soap build up
  4. Leave the ring off your finger for a few days to give your skin the chance to heal. You may want to consider using a mild cortisone cream to speed up the recovery
  5. When washing your hands in the future, be sure to remove your ring or wedding band to make sure no soap can get stuck underneath it, and dry your fingers thoroughly

Nickel allergy

In the past, nickel, a type of metal, was often added when making rings, particularly to create “white gold”.

Since nickel was identified as an allergy triggering substance in lots of people, its use in creating jewellery has become less common in most countries. Still, if you are wearing cheap rings or old family heirlooms it may be worth checking whether the ring in question contains nickel. A jewellery store should be able to test the ring, or you might be able to purchase a nickel test kit, depending on where you live.

Whilst nickel isĀ  one of the best known metals to cause allergic reactions, there are other metals and alloys that are added to jewellery, particularly if you are wearing rings that contain less than 9 karat of gold. Karat expresses the purity of the gold used to create the rings. A 9kt ring only contains 37.5% of pure gold, whereas an 18kt ring contains 75% of gold.

It may well be that you’re allergic to one of the other metals added. In this case leave the ring of for a few days, until the skin has healed and either get the ring tested, or try wearing a different, higher karat, ring on the same finger to see whether you get another eczema breakout. If you don’t chances are that you are allergic to one of the metals used in the previous ring.