Stainless steel jewelry rings are one of the most popular ring choices and also one of the most versatile and affordable. Because of the potential for heavy usage, it is important to know how the continuous use of the stainless steel rings would affect your skin, especially as you’ve most likely had your fingers green because of using some stainless steel rings or you have seen someone who got their fingers green, and utterly unattractive distinction.
Can stainless steel jewelry rings turn your finger green? Stainless steel jewelry rings can turn your finger green but that only depends on the metal content of the stainless steel grade used to make your stainless steel rings. Having green fingers from the discoloration of your skin is generally not harmful, although it may be for people with severely sensitive skin.
As you most likely know, stainless steel is an alloy, or a combination of metals such as chromium, titanium, molybdenum, but to mention a few. Now, what you may not likely know is that some of these metals react unfavorably with your skin.
Metals that React with Human Skin
There are different types of metals that react with human skin. Here are we discussed about five metals that will react to your skin.
- Sterling Silver
- Bronze and Brass
Copper is a metal that once it mixes with air, especially in the area of high humidity or moisture, it forms a copper oxide element. A piece of jewelry with copper in it will also do the same; the copper in it will react with your body oils and fluids and then form a copper oxide that reacts with your skin and discolors it, giving you green fingers.
2) Sterling Silver
Silver generally reacts with acids, and silver is used in gold plated stain steel rings. Now, when the silver in the gold plated jewelry reacts with acids from your body or any other source before the ring comes on your finger, it would react with that acid and make the ring tarnish, leaving you with a dark green circle on your finger.
Nickel is a general culprit when it comes to such matters. It is a metal that is predominantly an allergen, and its presence in your stainless steel jewelry causes problems in your skin.
Sometimes, a reaction of nickel with your skin may cause, in addition to discoloration, inflammation, itchiness, skin rashes, and in rare, serious cases, pus build-up.
4) Bronze and Brass
These two metal alloys have copper content in them (bronze is copper and tin while brass is copper and zinc). The copper content in them reacts with creams, perfumes, and sweat, causing them oxidization and discoloration to your skin.
Gold is a very soft metal, and as such, jewelry pieces made with gold have to possess some other metals to strengthen the entire thing. Some of those metals may be nickel or copper, and as such, even some 18k good are not safe for one to wear when it comes to the area of avoiding green skin/discoloration. Only 24k gold is really hypoallergenic.
Why Your Skin Turns Green
- Acidity level
- Corrosion of base materials
- Wearing Jewelry with Copper, Nickel or Sterling silver
1. Acidity level
The acidity level of your body matters a lot, especially in this area. The higher the acidity level is, the faster the reactive metals discussed above will react with your skin and turn it green. An example is a reaction that goes on between copper and sweat.
When both come in contact, the salt content of your sweat which is slightly acidic mixes with the copper, making copper oxide and causing discoloration on your skin.
2. Corrosion of Base Materials
Some base materials used in jewelry aren’t corrosion resistant and will tarnish and cause green discoloration to your skin.
If base materials in your stainless steel rings that aren’t corrosion resistant get in contact with moisture, then they will react with the moisture, oxidize and cause problems for you by giving you a discolored finger.
4. Wearing Jewelry with Copper, Nickel or Sterling silver
If you wear jewelry with any significant amount of copper, nickel or Sterling silver, (such as in gold plated stainless steel rings) and these jewelry pieces come in contact with any moisture or body oils or lotions, then you most likely will have issues with finger/skin discoloration.
Preventing Your Skin from Turning Green
Avoid cheap stainless steel rings: Using cheap stainless steel rings puts you at serious risk of suffering skin discoloration because cheap stainless steel rings would be made from low-quality stainless steel grades such as grade 202, and these cheap grades are very prone to rust. When they do rust, your skin will be affected.
Dry Skin: The discoloration is because of the chemical reaction between body oils, creams, sweat, etc and the metal composition of your stainless steel rings. Keep your skin dry and you’ll be able to seriously reduce the chances of suffering discoloration.
Also, take care to remove your rings when swimming or doing chores at home.
Go the Hypoallergenic Jewelry way: Hypoallergenic jewelry is guaranteed not to cause you problems with metals oxidizing and reacting with your skin, so this is still your best bet if you don’t want to suffer green fingers. Metals that are hypoallergenic include palladium, high karat gold, etc.
Wear your jewelry for a limited time: This helps to reduce the chances of wearing your jewelry when your hands are wet or you’re sweating or you have some oils or lotions on.
Store your stainless steel rings properly: Make sure you store them in a cool, dark place not an area with humidity so oxidation doesn’t occur and make your fingers green when you use your rings.
Use Nail Polish: Coat the underside of your rings before wearing nail polish. Allow the polish to dry so it would act as a shield to your finger.
Conclusion & Final Thoughts
Jewelry is generally good, though some are made with literally bad materials, as we’ve shown you. Try to get stainless steel rings devoid of those materials, and do well to avoid cheap jewelry too.