Why Your Skin Turns Green With Certain Jewelry

by Eileen Bailey Health Writer

I'm sure you have had it happen to you at some time in your life. You buy a ring, a necklace, a bracelet simply because you like it. The next day you look down and you have a green ring where the jewelry is. Why does this happen? What causes your skin to turn green when you wear certain jewelry but not others?

Acidity in Your Skin

Metals in the ring or other jewelry can react with the acidity in your skin. The higher the acidity level, the quicker this reaction may happen. Heat and humidity or sweating also increase the reaction. According to Discovery.com, the acids in your skin cause copper in the jewelry to begin to corrode, forming a salt compound. These salts are green and when they are absorbed in the skin, your skin turns green.

Is it an Allergy?

Allergic reactions to metal include redness, swelling and itching. If you are not experiencing any of these but simply have a green area where the jewelry touches your skin, it is not an allergic reaction.

Avoiding a Green Reaction

Understand How Jewelry is Made

One way to avoid having green fingers is to understand how jewelry is made. Gold jewelry is stamped with 10K, 14K, 18K or 24K. The higher the number, the larger amount of pure gold in the jewelry. However, pure gold is soft so usually other metals, such as copper, tin or nickel, are added to make it stronger and more durable. It is these metals which react with the acidity in your skin. When buying gold jewelry, you can make sure it is real gold by looking for the stamp. Less expensive jewelry may be made with cheaper metals and then coated with gold.

Silver jewelry can also cause your skin to turn green or the jewelry could be made of cheaper metals and coated with silver.

Avoid Sweating

Sweating speeds up the reaction. Avoid wearing jewelry that may turn your skin green on hot days or on days you may sweat.

Coating Your Jewelry

Many times, quality silver or white gold jewelry is coated with rhodium, which prevents this reaction. You can talk with the jewelry store to find out if they provide coating for other jewelry that you want to wear but are concerned about unsightly green spots on your fingers, arms or neck. This coating will give your jewelry a bright sheen.

Clean Your Jewelry Often

You can keep silver jewelry clean by using a polishing cloth once per week. Doing this should help stop any reactions from occurring.

Use Stainless Steel Jewelry

If you consistently have a reaction to jewelry because of high acidic levels in your skin, you may want to consider wearing stainless steel jewelry. Stainless steel is untarnishable, strong and should not react with your skin.


"The Reason Certain Rings Makes Your Skin Turn Green," 2009, Aug 29, Integra Project: http://www.integraproject.org/the-reason-certain-rings-makes-your-skin-turn-green/

"Why Does Fake Gold Turn Your Skin Green?" Date Unknown, Staff Writer, Discovery Health Fit & Health: http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/information/anatomy/skin-turn-green1.htm

"Why Rings Turn Fingers Green," Date Unknown, Staff Writer, Gem-Fashion.com: http://magazine.gem-fashion.com/finger-turns-green.html

Eileen Bailey
Meet Our Writer
Eileen Bailey

Eileen Bailey is an award-winning author of six books on health and parenting topics and freelance writer specializing in health topics including ADHD, Anxiety, Sexual Health, Skin Care, Psoriasis and Skin Cancer. Her wish is to provide readers with relevant and practical information on health conditions to help them make informed decisions regarding their health care.