January 25, 2023 5 min read

Is Stainless Steel Jewelry Safe for Those with Metal Allergies?

Stainless steel jewelry has become increasingly popular in recent years, due to its durability, and wide range of designs. We love it for those reasons, as well as its versatility, brightness and ease of maintenance. However, for those with metal allergies, choosing the right jewelry can be a challenge.

In this blog post, we will explore the properties of stainless steel and its suitability for those with metal allergies. We will also discuss the alternative metals that are safe for those with metal allergies. Whether you are looking to purchase a piece of Carolily jewelry or simply want to learn more about your options as someone with a metal allergy, we'll provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

Why do some people react to metal jewelry?

Often times, when someone reacts to a piece of jewelry, it is because they have an underlying metal allergy. A metal allergy is an immune system reaction to certain metals and their compounds. The most common metals that cause allergic reactions are nickel, gold, and cobalt.

Nickel is the most common allergen found in metal jewelry, and it can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some people. Nickel is a common ingredient in many types of stainless steel, and it is also found in other types of metal jewelry, such as white gold, silver, and platinum.

Gold and cobalt are also known to cause allergic reactions, although they are less common than nickel. Gold allergy is more common in people who have a history of eczema or sensitive skin, and cobalt allergy is more common in people who have had a joint replacement or other medical implants.

The symptoms of a metal allergy can vary, but they often include redness, itching, and rash at the site of contact with the metal.

It is important to note that not everyone who is sensitive to metal is allergic to it. Some people may experience skin irritation or rash due to the metal's reaction to sweat, lotions, perfumes, or other substances on the skin.

What is stainless steel made of?

Stainless steel is an alloy made up of primarily iron, with a minimum of 10.5% chromium content by mass. The chromium in the alloy reacts with oxygen in the air to form a thin, invisible layer of chromium oxide on the surface of the steel, which acts as a barrier to protect the steel from further corrosion.

Other elements that may be added to stainless steel include nickel, molybdenum, titanium, niobium, and copper. The specific composition and manufacturing process used can affect the properties and characteristics of the stainless steel, such as its strength, corrosion resistance, and appearance.

There are several types of stainless steel, such as:

  • Austenitic: made up primarily of iron, chromium and nickel, it is non-magnetic and has good corrosion resistance and formability.
  • Ferritic: made up primarily of iron and chromium, it has good corrosion resistance but is generally less strong than austenitic stainless steel.
  • Martensitic: made up primarily of iron, chromium and carbon, it has good strength and wear resistance, but is less corrosion resistant than austenitic and ferritic stainless steel.

Each type of stainless steel has its own unique properties and is used for different applications outside of just jewelry.

What type of stainless steel is used in jewelry?

The type of stainless steel used for jewelry typically depends on the desired properties and characteristics of the jewelry. The most common type of stainless steel used for jewelry is 316L, which is a low-carbon, high-chromium alloy that is highly resistant to corrosion. This type of stainless steel is also hypoallergenic, which means it is less likely to cause allergic reactions in people with sensitive skin.

Another type of stainless steel used for jewelry is 304, which is also known as 18/8 stainless steel. This type of stainless steel is also resistant to corrosion and has a similar composition as 316L, but it is not as hypoallergenic as 316L.

Ferritic stainless steel, which is also used for jewelry making but not here at Carolily, is made up primarily of iron and chromium, it has good corrosion resistance but is generally less strong than austenitic stainless steel.

It is also important to note that stainless steel is often plated or coated with other metals, such as gold or silver, to give it a different appearance. This can affect the hypoallergenic properties of the jewelry, as the plating or coating may contain nickel or other allergens. If you are someone with a metal allergy, it would be best to wear hypoallergenic stainless steel that has not been plated.

What stainless steel do we use in our jewelry at Carolily?

We only work with hypoallergenic stainless steel!

You can browse all of our hypoallergenic stainless steel jewelry by clicking here.

What makes hypoallergenic stainless steel safe for those with metal allergies?

Hypoallergenic stainless steel is considered safe for those with metal allergies because it contains a low amount of nickel, which is the most common allergen found in jewelry and other metal products. Nickel is a common ingredient in many types of stainless steel, but it can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some people.

Hypoallergenic stainless steel is made with a higher percentage of chromium and a lower percentage of nickel. Chromium is a chemical element that is added to stainless steel to improve its corrosion resistance, and it does not cause allergic reactions.

In addition to being low in nickel, hypoallergenic stainless steel is also usually free of other common allergens like lead and cadmium, which are sometimes found in other types of metal jewelry.

It is important to note that while hypoallergenic stainless steel is considered safe for people with metal allergies, it may not be suitable for everyone. Some people with extreme metal allergies may still experience an allergic reaction to the small amount of nickel present in hypoallergenic stainless steel.

What other metals are safe for those with metal allergies?

There are several metals that are considered safe for those with metal allergies, as they are less likely to cause allergic reactions. Some of these metals include:

  • Titanium: is a strong, lightweight metal that is highly resistant to corrosion. It is often used in medical implants, such as artificial joints, as it is biocompatible.
  • Platinum: is a rare, naturally white metal that is highly durable and resistant to tarnish. It is hypoallergenic and is considered safe for people with metal allergies.
  • Gold: is a soft, yellow metal that is hypoallergenic, but it can be alloyed with other metals, including nickel, that can cause allergic reactions.
  • Palladium: is a rare, silver-white metal that is part of the platinum group metals. It is hypoallergenic, durable, and has similar properties to white gold.
  • Silver: is a soft, white metal that is hypoallergenic but can tarnish easily.
  • Copper: is a soft, reddish metal that is hypoallergenic but can tarnish easily.

It is important to note that even these metals can cause an allergic reaction if they are alloyed with other metals or have been treated with certain chemicals. If you are someone with an extreme allergy or sensitivity, it is best to contact us (or any other jewelry company you are considering purchasing from) before selecting a piece of jewelry.

The Right Jewelry For You

For the vast majority of the population, stainless steel jewelry is a safe option for those with metal allergies as it contains a low amount of nickel, the most common allergen found in metal jewelry.

You can browse our stainless steel jewelry by clicking here. If you have a metal allergy, please contact us at hello@carolily.com prior to making a purchase. We have plenty of hypoallergenic options and would be happy to help you find the right piece!


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Carolily Up Close

Jewelry Material Glossary
Jewelry Material Glossary

January 04, 2023 2 min read

Why This Was Our Last "Traditional" Black Friday
Why This Was Our Last "Traditional" Black Friday

November 28, 2022 2 min read

As we bring our Black Friday Cyber Monday promotion to a close, we are overjoyed and thankful for the support you continue to show us. Like many other small businesses, this has been a tough financial year for us. Black Friday has allowed us to give thanks to our beloved community, attract new clients, and improve cash flow during our most expensive season. It is also an opportunity for you to save on a piece of jewelry you may have had your eye on for awhile.

With all that being said, this was the last "traditional" Black Friday promotion we will ever run and we'd like to explain why.
2022 Holiday Jewelry Gift Guide
2022 Holiday Jewelry Gift Guide

November 03, 2022 5 min read

If it feels like the holidays have started earlier this year, it's because they have. We are going to take the pressure off as best we can! Our new holiday jewelry gift guides are segmented by price and style to make selecting the perfect piece stress free. Take a peek at some of our favourites below.