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Why Does Gold Turn My Skin Black?

Why Does Gold Turn My Skin Black?

Most people get super worried when gold jewelry, like a ring, turns their skin black. They begin suspecting that the discoloration is harmful to their skin. Other people even start questioning the quality of their jewelry. 

The truth is, skin discoloration caused by your gold jewelry is not harmful. Skin discoloration due to wearing gold jewelry happens for several reasons.

1. Metallic Abrasion

Metallic abrasion is the first answer to the question, "why does gold turn my skin black." Metallic abrasion occurs when tiny metal particles rub off your gold ring, necklace, watch, or bracelet to form a black substance on your skin. 

Lotions and oils are often responsible for metallic abrasion. The reason is that lotions/oils contain strong chemical compounds that wear off particles in your jewelry. These fine metal particles usually appear black, and when they come into contact with an absorbent surface like your cloth or skin, they stick to form a black smudge. 

So, how do you prevent metallic abrasion from making your gold jewelry turn your skin black? First, you can switch your current lotion and oil products to better alternatives that don't stimulate metallic abrasion. 

If this solution doesn't work for you, remove your jewelry items when using lotion or oil products. Then, use water and soap to clean body areas in contact with the gold ring, necklace, or watch to prevent exposing your jewelry to areas of abrasion. 

2. Metallic Corrosion

    Another cause of blackening skin when wearing gold jewelry is metallic corrosion. Pure gold does not corrode, but its primary alloys like silver, zinc, and copper can quickly tarnish in specific conditions to blacken your skin. 

    For instance, body fats, sweat, and fatty acids facilitate the corrosion of metal components in gold jewelry. The corrosion worsens in semi-tropical and seacoast areas, where chemicals like chlorides combine with moisture to accelerate the corrosion process. In such a case, wearing your gold jewelry increases the blackening of the skin.

    On the other hand, copper in gold jewelry can result in green discoloration on the skin. The discoloration is extreme in humid and acidic conditions, like sweating due to high heat. Acidity stimulates the oxidation of copper in your gold jewelry to create a green substance that discolors the skin. This substance isn't permanent—just remove your gold jewelry and wash the affected area. 

    So, how do you prevent it? Remove your gold jewelry before using detergents and soaps to prevent corrosion that blackens your skin. Even more, use a damp cloth to clean your gold jewelry regularly to eliminate particles that may accelerate the blackening of the skin. Applying petroleum jelly on the area in contact with the gold jewelry can also reduce the dark substances on your skin. 

    Prevention Measures: How to Avoid Skin Discoloration Caused By Gold Jewelry

    The blackening of the skin caused by gold jewelry raises the worry of infection, and if it persists for long, some people can easily replace or get rid of their favorite necklaces, bracelets, rings, and watches. Well, don't do that. Instead, follow the solutions below to avoid the blackening of the skin. 

    Keep Your Skin Dry

    Take off your gold ring before showering, swimming, doing dishes, or applying lotions. As a result, you'll prevent gold alloys in your jewelry from reacting with chemicals, ensuring you won't ruin your jewelry and prevent your skin from blackening. 

    If you live in a humid environment or sweat most of the time, buy absorbent powder to eliminate moisture before wearing your ring. You can apply the powder to your fingers, neck, and wrist.

    Opt for 18 KT Instead of 14KT

    While this isn't a fix for everyone, it is an option to try if you are experiencing irritation. As mentioned earlier, pure gold offers superficial resistance to tarnishing. Hence, buying jewelry with more gold percentage solves the discoloration problem. Jewelers measure the gold purity of a jewel in karats. One karat (kt) contains 4.166% gold, while twenty-four karat equals pure gold. With most gold jewelry made of a mixture of gold and other metals, high-quality golden rings, bracelets, and necklaces have a gold composition between 14 and 18 karats. The higher the gold composition in your jewelry, the lower the chances of skin discoloration.

    Happy Jewelers products are always made with 14 karat gold unless otherwise stated in the description. In addition, all items can be made in 18 karat or platinum.