Saturday, November 10, 2012

Allergies Part 1 Nickel & Cobalt

This is not a pity party and I'm not after sympathy, but I ran into a lovely girl at the
 cosmetic counter, I overheard her talking about her eczema. I advised her to get an allergy test, I hope this post  might help others going through these allergies.
2015- Addit- I have since found this interesting information about eczema
I have researched the subject as the information I was given was limited. 
I have had to change careers, as I could no longer work as a Nurses Aid

The picture shows the day that I gave up my 
nursing career, every pore on my face turned 
into a blister and subsequently popped. 
My hands were swollen and my fingers bleeding, my lips & face were swollen  & covered in a yellow crust and it was extremely painful. A swab of my face showed i had staphylococcus aureus and streptococcus.  While I worked in the Nursing Home we had many lectures about infection control & they would tell us the best form of prevention is intact skin, which I didnt have on my hands & that allowed it to be open to infection. I had to wear washing up gloves to shower myself for at least 6 weeks & could only use plastic cutlery as I am allergic to stainless steel as well. 
I am allergic to nickel (slightly) Cobalt (severely) & to Rosin moderately/high some times it feels like i have itchy blisters that feel like I have battery acid on my hands.
........I will break it down into sections, Nickel and Cobalt are very similar
I have actually had an allergic reaction to non allergenic earrings because they are made from Stainless steel. I contacted a company and they said they are allowed to have less than .1% or something like that I cant remember the actual figure
....... you can read about it here
Cobalt is the blue pigment  in porcelain, glass, pottery, ceramics, enamels, blue and green crayons and water colour paints. It is in metal plated objects like buckles, buttons zippers snaps eyelets, jewellery, utensils, tools, metal  medical prostheses  dental plates,  hair dye, detergents, cosmetics (especially shimmery products) deodorant, cement and vitamin B12 shots that are given for anaemia. This means I have to take into considering when purchasing items studs on jeans,  zippers, buckles on a handbag, watches, glass frames, scissors, saucepans, clasp of necklace, metal badges, pens, bra underwire, decorations, clasp and adjusters, zippers and decorations on shoes, handles on doors, car keys and coins are all off limits. Yes I am allergic to money! I also have a reaction to my mobile phone,so I tend to text people. It sounds hard and it was at first but then it becomes a habit and a normal part of your life. Basically I try to avoid everything silver and shiny, including handrails, which is a factor when catching a bus or train to work, especially when you have to stand or go up/ down stairs. It is also a factor when considering a career or workplace and how it will affect you,  Men have a greater frequency of sensitization to nickel/cobalt at work than women and wet work increases the likelihood of a sensitization and assists with the transfer into your body.
You can become allergic after exposure to a large amount or if a material comes into contact with broken skin such as a cut or sunburn. It can also be genetic and often  cobalt, nickel and chromium allergies go hand in hand.
There is no way to desensitize a person with nickel cobalt allergy with shots, pills or any other method avoiding cobalt/nickel is the key treatment. I find the less i expose myself to it the better I can tolerate small amounts of exposure without reacting. Luckily I dont appear to be affected by food containing these metals

Here is some information I found recently on the internet, which i felt was interesting, as I think you can become hypersensitive and become allergic to foods, I'd hate to think I couldnt have salmon steaks again.
Some people are sensitive to metal salts found in certain foods. If so, flare-ups of pompholyx may occur after eating foods containing nickel, cobalt or chromium salts. You can try avoiding the foods in question to see if it helps, although this strategy rarely works. To avoid nickel salts, eliminate canned foods, foods cooked in nickel-plated utensils (including stainless steel, which contains nickel), herring, oysters, asparagus, beans, mushrooms, onions, corn, spinach, tomatoes, peas, whole grain flour, pears, rhubarb, tea, cocoa, chocolate, and baking powder. To avoid cobalt, cut out apricots, beans, beer, beets, cabbage, cloves, cocoa, chocolate, coffee, liver, nuts, scallops, tea, and whole grain flour. Conventional medicine treats pompholyx with steroid creams or ointments and with antihistamines to relieve the itching and stress reduction techniques can help, biofeedback is often recommended as part of conventional treatment. Try visualization or hypnotherapy to take advantage of the mind/body connection in skin disorders. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) can be recommended for eczema. GLA, an unusual fatty acid found in evening primrose oil, black currant oil and borage, has specific nourishing effects on skin, hair and nails. Take 500 mg of GLA twice a day. Try eliminating milk and milk products and using aloe Vera gel, calendula lotion or cream, and try chaparral lotion, salves or a homemade poultice made from steeping leaves of chaparral (Larrea divaricata) in water and placing a cloth soaked in the liquid on irritated skin for 15-20 minutes four times daily. 


  1. My daughter is allergic to Cobalt & Nickel and has eczema on top of it all based on the metal allergy. It took us a long time to find out what was causing the sores, itching and pain. She is in college now and it is a constant battle for her. She occasionally has other issues and I often wonder if they are related. We have found a wonderful specialist and she has recommended very limited exposure but to help combat it she uses Aveno Shower oil to help keep her skin in great condition to help with the result of exposure. It helps a lot. The elidel cream she had taken for some time helped but was later found to be a cause of cancer. I highly recommend to anyone the top dermatologist you can find that specializes in metals and get tested. It can save you a lot of agony. Good luck to all that deal with this.

    1. Robin,
      Who is your daughters doctor? My daughter has cobalt allergy as well as many others and terrible eczema. It is hard to find a good doctor.

  2. thanx for sharing your knowledge about Cause, Symptoms and Treatment Nickel Allergy

  3. My son was diagnosed last year with a severe Cobalt/nickel/blue dye allergy... I started writing a blog about the struggle of it. So happy I found you.

  4. I am happy to find another person who have suffered what I have been through my entire life, and who can understand why I searched for help here. Yet, this posting is dated 2012 and we are already in 2016, which may me think that the blogger interrupted this work a while ago, probably with a strong reason for the interruption.

  5. Let me share a new blog about skin allergies:

  6. My Allergy surfaced after having an implant in my femur that was 98% Cobalt. 8 months of an open surgical wound, many of my systems (thyroid, nervous, skin) failing and over 2 years of severe pain and crutches, it was finally determined that I was severely allergic to Cobalt and mild allergies to Nickel and Chronium. Now if i have anything with B12 in in, my tongue throat and inside of my cheeks blister and my lips swell. I'm constantly battling eruptions on my face, because makeup and skin care products have hidden sources of Cobalt. I wish there was a sight with all the answers. I might just have to create one, as I've done lots of research.