How to prevent that green band on your finger

Contrary to popular belief, the existence of discolored skin on your finger, wrist, or neck does not necessarily bode ill for the quality of the jewelry that you are wearing.  While it is true that some metals are more inclined to cause discoloration, metals like copper or nickel for instance, there are other factors that may play into the discoloration.  But let’s look at the metal composites first.



Metal alloys have a mixture of metals from which they are created.  Take brass for instance.  Brass is an alloy that contains copper and zinc.  Brass is a less expensive metal but is extremely sensitive to chemicals and moisture, thus may tarnish. 

Now I know what you’re thinking: “But this ring is sterling silver, it isn’t copper or nickel!” Sterling silver is an alloy metal and because silver is a liquid, other metals must be added to it.  Enter in…..copper and/or….nickel… among other types of metals.  Even if that sterling silver ring were to be made with only 7% copper, it still has copper.  And, if your biology is one that reacts to copper…. hello green.

Rarely, but not impossibly, a gold ring could cause a skin discoloration, and this is because gold is a very soft metal.  Therefore, it is combined with a stronger metal to allow the finished product to hold its shape.  If the stronger metal happens to be copper or nickel, then it is possible that the piece would cause a discoloration. 

Ok, we’ve looked at the metals, what other factors play a part in whether or not a piece of jewelry will turn my skin green?


Sorry to say that one’s own chemical/genetic makeup can play a key role in the discoloration found on one’s skin.  And what’s even more bizarre, is that even two people who are related can have different reactions whereas one might experience green skin while the other does not.  My daughter has a chemical reaction to some metals where I do not.


By environmental factors, I mean external forces that can impact the jewelry.  While your body’s chemical and genetic makeup play a factor, there are ways that you can help minimize the reaction.

drops of water, water, liquid
  1.  Water is not your jewelry’s friend.   Think of Gizmo from the Gremlin’s movie… don’t get it wet!  If you have a favorite ring, consider acquiring a cute ring holder to put next to your kitchen and bathroom sink so you can remove it and put it where it will be safe from being accidentally knocked into the sink and down the drain.  This also includes swimming, especially swimming in a pool where there’s chlorine.  Chlorine is very harsh on jewelry.

2. We all want our skin to be soft and supple, but we must be mindful of when we put on our lotion.  Allow the lotion, crème, or oil to be absorbed fully into your skin before donning your jewelry.  It may even be necessary to wipe away any lingering lotion from the area, such as your finger with a cotton swab dipped in an astringent.

3.  It is not advisable to wear your jewelry while cleaning.  Gone are the days of June Cleaver when she wore a dress, heels, and jewelry around the house waiting for Ward to come home.  Any kind of water or chemicals used to clean with will not be kind your jewelry.  Dusting will cause dust particles to raise and fall in the air and they will fall on you, and whatever you are wearing.  Even if you wear gloves while you clean, it is necessary to take your rings off because of number 4.

4.  As mentioned above, if you wear gloves while cleaning, your hands will sweat and that is a chemical reaction just waiting to happen.  Going to the gym?  Great!  Leave your bling in the locker or at home so you don’t sweat on it.  Remember that individual chemistry is a prevalent cause for skin discoloration.


Some solutions to jewelry causing green skin might be to have the jewelry plated with a type of metal that will create a barrier.  And that’s all find and dandy if you have the extra cash to spend on that.  But, if you’re like me, and I don’t have that kind of money just lying around, I have a simple, easy, and budget friendly method:  clear nail polish.  That’s right.  Clear nail polish has been around forever, and it has been used for anything from stopping runs in stockings to water proofing matches.  And now you can use it as an inexpensive barrier between your jewelry and your skin.  Simply apply a thin coat to the area that touches and skin and allow to dry thoroughly.  Once it is completely dry, you should be well protected.  You will need to reapply periodically to maintain the protection.

Now that you know the  causes of that green band, also know that the jewelry  found in our store is Paparazzi Accessories brand and does not contain nickel.  Nor does it contain lead.  The other alloys are still used, copper, brass, etc., but unless you purchase one of our copper or brass pieces, the amount will be minimal.  That being said, one should still practice proper care when dealing with jewelry of any kind.  Stop on in and say Hi to either Terri or Madi. 

The bling sisters
100 N Summit Ave
prescott, AZ 86301