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It's the annoying itch you just can't seem to scratch (or get rid of for that matter): wedding ring rash! And the weird thing is, you've been rocking your ring for awhile now, so what's the deal and why is your skin suddenly freaking out now? According to diamond expert Megan Reynolds of Union Diamond, "There are many reasons why a wedding band may be causing a red rash, from a common nickel allergy to irritation from moisture and soap or other products getting trapped between the band and your skin." While you should definitely see a doctor or dermatologist if your symptoms escalate, here are a few at-home remedies you can try first to help resolve the rash.
Take your ring off
One of the best ways to fight a wedding ring rash is to simply take your ring off when you rinse your hands. That way, grimy stuff won't get caught up in it. "Remember to dry your skin thoroughly after you finish washing as well," advises board-certified dermatologist Debra Jaliman, author of "Skin Rules".
Switch your soap
For some folks, it's not the soap itself that's causing contact dermatitis, but the type they use. Instead of washing with a detergent, deodorant or sudsy soap, Jaliman suggests switching to a mild soap.
Clean your ring
As gross as it sounds, soaps, lotions and even dead skin can get stuck and caked on underneath and in the crevasses of stone settings, explains jewelry maker Andreas Argentinis of Metal Pressions. "Combine that dirt with a little moisture and you have a great environment for bacteria to grow that could potentially irritate your skin." A good cleaning will often solve the problem though. "If you have a valuable or complex ring, you might consider taking it to a local jeweler for cleaning to avoid damaging the settings or stones." Otherwise, dermatologist and founder of Dr. Bailey Skin Care, Cynthia Bailey, MD, recommends using a jewelry cleaning solution, being careful to brush under stones where soap residue can become trapped and harden.
Apply a non-greasy hand cream
Bailey says people with really sensitive skin may need to do more to heal their irritant hand dermatitis. "This is especially true when your hands are in and out of water all day," she warns. "Get in the habit of applying a good, non-greasy, hypoallergenic hand cream after washing." You can also use a lotion that contains ceramides, as this will protect and moisturize skin, adds Dr. Purvisha Patel, owner and dermatologist at Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Associates.