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Why Some Jewelry Turns Your Skin Green and How to Wash It Off!

by jj@d

We’ve all been in this situation before: you purchase a new piece of jewelry and can’t wait for the day you can wear it out. The day comes, you put it on, and before you know it, your skin is green! The worst! We know how annoying this can be, and what makes it even worse is that it isn’t always easy to understand why it is happening. Do you feel the same way? You aren’t alone!

So, what does make jewelry turn your skin green? Most people assume it is simply cost. Cheap jewelry will turn your skin green. Right? Not entirely. While cost is a factor (and certainly if you pay for expensive fine jewelry it had better not turn your skin green!) the truth is that not all cheap jewelry will turn your skin green! So, what is the truth? What should you look out for when shopping for more affordable jewelry? We are here with answers!

There are certain metals and products to avoid if you don’t want to turn your skin green. However, if you have certain pieces you just can’t bare to get rid of, or if you come across something in store that you have got to have, there are also things you can do to remove the green tinge from your skin!

Here is everything you need to know about jewelry, why it changes your skin and turns it green, and what to do to get rid of it!

Why so green?

jewelry green markThe main question everyone wants an answer to: Why does some jewelry even turn skin green in the first place? The short answer is the actual metal of the piece of jewelry itself. When it turns your skin green, it is a result of the metal of the jewelry reacting with your skin or with something on your skin such as body lotion.

This most commonly happens with rings, as they have the most direct contact with your skin and do not move around like other pieces of jewelry such as a necklace or a bracelet. For that reason, you may think it is the only rings that turn your skin green, but that is not true. Instead, it is the contact with your skin that is causing the issue! You may also notice this with earrings, and in that case, it is really important to get higher quality earrings so that you don’t cause major irritation or an infection in the piercing hole itself.

Is it dangerous?

While like we mentioned with earrings (or other piercings) you will want to be careful about choosing high-quality metals to avoid infections, for all other jewelry like rings, bracelets, or necklaces, it is important to keep in mind that your skin turning green is not dangerous and isn’t something to freak out over. All the color change is a chemical reaction, but it isn’t anything permanent or harmful. Some people may notice more irritation from it and find it uncomfortable, but on the whole, keep in mind it isn’t dangerous or bad for your health.

Which metals are good, which are bad?

Now that you know why your skin is turning green, you probably want to know which metals are to blame. Like we said earlier, not all cheap jewelry will turn your skin green, but there are plenty of guilty parties out there to look out for!

The first metal to stay away from is copper. Copper is one of the worst metals out there that is almost sure to turn your skin green if you wear the jewelry for any extended period of time. Copper is the most common metal culprit out there, but sadly copper is not the only metal to look out for.

Believe it or not, silver is another metal that can turn your skin green. Not to be confused with sterling silver, actual silver jewelry is known for its skin-changing ways. Silver oxidizes easily and will tarnish which can then transfer to your skin. It’s the same thing that happens to your grandparent’s old tea pot set- if it isn’t polished it will turn dark in color, it is oxidizing!

Sterling silver is slightly different from solid silver but sadly it is also prone to tarnish. Sterling silver is simply silver that is mixed with another metal in order to make it harder and more durable. Typically this metal is copper- and there lies your problem. We already mentioned copper on this list, so you can imagine a piece of jewelry made of silver and copper would also be likely to tarnish over time.

Some gold jewelry as well can cause tarnishing. You always want to check when purchasing a piece of jewelry if it is actual gold or if it is gold plated (and similarly if it is silver plated). This is a big difference from jewelry that is solid gold and can result in your finger turning green. Underneath the plating is almost always a cheaper metal such as copper, and the result yet again will be green skin!

As for metals that are good, stainless steel is a great option that also tends to be affordable. If you’ve found a piece of jewelry that was on the cheaper end and didn’t turn your skin green, it is probably stainless steel. Of course higher quality metals as well are great options such as platinum, pure gold, or white gold. Rhodium-plated jewelry is also a great option which includes most white gold, giving you that option when searching for quality jewelry.

How to avoid green skin

Say you’ve got a piece of jewelry that you really love and don’t want to get rid of. If you know it tends to turn your skin green, you aren’t totally out of luck! There are several things you can do to try and reduce the chance it turns your skin green. Here are our best tips!

Wear it for a limited amount of time: It is tempting to wear certain pieces of jewelry all the time, but ones that are prone to tarnishing and turning skin green are not the best pieces for that. Instead, limit the time wearing this jewelry so that it spends less time on your skin, therefore reducing the chance it will react and turn your skin green. Going to a fancy party? Keep the jewelry in your purse until right before you walk in, and remove it right when you leave!

Try to not get it wet: Water is not your friend in this situation. Do your best to keep the jewelry as well as your skin completely dry. If you go to wash your hands or take a shower, make sure you take the jewelry off and completely dry your skin before putting it back on.

Also, do not use with lotions or other products: Similar to the previous tip, try to not wear body lotions or oils or other products when wearing this jewelry, as ingredients in those products could also react with the metal and cause your skin to turn green.

Store it properly: When you are not wearing your jewelry make sure you store it safely. Store it in a cool dark place, not out in open! Remember, the air itself will oxidize silver, so do your best to keep your jewelry contained and away from any elements such as heat or humidity.

Stay away from the beach: The beach is great, but your jewelry doesn’t think so! Salt water is especially bad for jewelry pieces that are prone to tarnishing and turning skin green (and also, the beach is wet- see tip two!). Take any jewelry off before hitting the sand and save it for when you go out in the evening for dinner.

Fake it till you make it: Finally, if you can’t afford higher quality pieces, consider coating your jewelry with a clear coat that acts as a barrier between the metal and your skin. A popular coating option? Clear nail polish! That’s right! Paint a layer on and let it dry before putting the jewelry on. This clever trick isn’t noticeable but will form the barrier you need. Make sure you re-do the polish coat every so often so that it does not fade away.

Clearing up green skin

If everything above hasn’t worked for you and you end up with green skin, don’t panic! First, as we mentioned earlier, keep in mind that your skin turning green (from jewelry that is) is not dangerous, but is certainly annoying and even embarrassing if other people notice. If your finger does turn green, what do you do? Here are some tips for clearing up the area impacted by your jewelry.

Clean the jewelry: First things first, remove the jewelry that has caused your skin to change green and clean it up. There is more than likely some grime or residue (gross, we know) that is on the jewelry. It is best to get this off and clean it thoroughly so that you still have the option to wear it again in the future. Clean it with warm water and soap and wipe it totally dry. Then, we recommend following our earlier tip and putting a coat of clear nail polish on it so this doesn’t happen again!

Clean your skin and wipe dry: There are several ways to remove the green stain from your skin, but be sure to start with the least irritating method and then move up if needed. The first thing to try is simply warm water and soap. Scrub the area (not too hard) and use a good antibacterial soap. Rinse the soap and dry the area entirely. Green still there? Move on to the next step!

Try using makeup remover: If soap didn’t work, try makeup remover! This is a surprisingly effective tool that works a lot of the time to get that green gone. You shouldn’t need a lot and you should see your skin clear up pretty quick. If not, don’t scrub too hard, and move to the next step!

When all else fails, try rubbing alcohol: If soap and makeup remover doesn’t work, you have got a pretty tricky stain on your hands (or maybe elsewhere on your skin!) The last thing to try that should do the trick 99% of the time is rubbing alcohol. Soak a cotton ball or pad and apply it to the affected area. Be careful to not get it in your eyes or in any open cuts you may have. Did that do the trick? It should have! Hooray! Your skin is back to normal!

Moisturize the skin: Finally, if you had to go through all those steps you may notice the area is a little irritated. Apply some moisturizer or vaseline to calm down the skin and let it breathe for a while before putting more jewelry back on. Remember, don’t apply lotions when you are wearing this jewelry, so make sure you keep the skin jewelry free while the lotion is on! Any irritation should go away in just a few minutes and you should be good to go!

Wrapping Up

That’s it! Hopefully, now you know everything you need to about jewelry and why it turns your skin green. Certain metals (copper and silver mainly) react badly with your skin or with lotions or oils, and the result is a weird looking (but harmless) green tint to your skin. Purchase jewelry that is stainless steel, 24k gold, or platinum to avoid this all together.

To protect your skin from jewelry you already have, make sure you keep your skin dry and free of lotions and coat your jewelry in clear nail polish to form a barrier! If your skin does turn green, clean it with soap and water, or resort to nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol for more stubborn stains. That’s it!