What is nickel?

What is nickel?

Nickel is a hard, strong and pliable silvery-white metal, that is used widely across a number of industries, including jewellery and watch manufacture. Nickel is also the most common cause of Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD). 








Nickel allergies can present in a number of ways including dry skin, rashes, lumps and fluid-filled blisters. Common reactions include redness or itchy earlobes caused by Nickel in earrings, rashes on wrists caused by watches and on the belly, due to metal zips or buttons on jeans. Reactions can be extremely painful and last for several weeks.

A recent analysis by the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergy network based on 2002–2010 patch test data across Europe, showed a high frequency of sensitisation to Nickel, Cobalt and Chromium with prevalence rates of around 23.4%, 9.3% and 5.6%, respectively [1]. Similarly, the North American Contact Dermatitis Group (NACDG) reported positive responses to Nickel in 19.5%, Cobalt in 8.4% and Chromium in 4.1% of the 5,085 patch-tested subjects [2].

Elements considered as allergenic, such as Nickel, Cobalt and Chromium, are commonly used in the manufacture of jewellery and watches. These elements are used widely and therefore the reactions they cause cannot be removed by simply excluding them from the manufacturing process.

AnchorCert Protect goes some way to providing a solution. By testing through AnchorCert Protect and manufacturers can be confident that their jewellery ranges will be kinder and safer for those with sensitive skin. They will also have scientific data to support these claims.


1. Pesonen M, Jolanki R, Larese Filon F, et al. Patch test results of the European baseline series among patients with occupational contact dermatitis across Europe – analyses of the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergy network, 2002–2010. Contact Dermatitis. 2015;72:154–63. doi:10.1111/cod.12333. 
2. Fransway AF, Zug KA, Belsito DV, et al. North American Contact Dermatitis Group patch test results for 2007-2008. Dermatitis. 2013;24ƒ):10–21. doi:10.1097/DER.0b013e318277ca50