Both gold and silver are too soft in their natural form, to be moulded into jewellery, so these are usually blended with zinc, copper and nickel to render them hard enough to work and withstand wear. Zinc and copper do not cause contact dermatitis, nickel does. The higher the carat value of gold, the less nickel in it and the less likely it is to cause a nickel allergy. Stainless steel has higher amounts of nickel and I am unable to wear it and that’s why I love my Polar sports watch, there is no metal on the back where it is in contact with my skin, so no allergies.

Eczema from contact allergy runs in my family and as I have just begun to wear a Pandora bracelet I thought I would refresh my memory about how likely it would be that I will develop an eczema type allergy to this and if there is anything I can do to minimise the risk.

I found out that there are things I can do, to help stop my bracelet irritating me.

1/I can avoid wearing it when showering to avoid soap residue or dampness remaining on the jewellery as this helps the nickel to leach on to the skin.

2/ I can remove my jewellery, before exercising as sweat and salt can leach out the nickel on to the skin.

3/ If the worst happened and I did become allergic to the Nickel in the beads, I could coat then in clear nail polish to prevent them coming in contact with my skin. There is a more permanent solution and that is to have them coated in palladium, that sounds a bit to costly for me to consider, I'll use the prevention ideas 1, 2 and 4 and see where that takes me.

4/ Avoid allowing your jewellery to come in contact with bore water and spa water as these may contain traces of sulphur which is corrosive on silver allowing the nickel to leach out faster.