iordani/ShutterstockIt has happened to almost all of us. You find the perfect ring, necklace, or bracelet and you wear it all day long—then it turns your skin green. After feelings of devastation dissipate, you’re left with green skin and questions as to why your skin is even that color in the first place. Fortunately, we have an answer.
As it turns out, copper is often the culprit of this mayhem. When the acids on perspired skin combine with the copper in the jewelry, the copper corrodes and creates copper salts. Copper salts are typically green or blue. And so, the salts form a green type of “film” on the jewelry, which then transfers to the skin. (Did you know the Statue of Liberty’s real color isn’t green? It’s because she’s made out of copper!)
Copper isn’t always the metal at fault, though. According to Refinery29, “Other metals can produce similar effects: The silver present in sterling silver—and used as an alloy in a fair amount of gold jewelry—can oxidize when it comes in contact with skin. This causes tarnishing and can leave you with a dark-green or black stain.”
Some people may confuse this sensation with their skin being allergic to copper. However, this is usually not the case. As long as you sweat (which is inevitable), chances are, your skin will react with the copper in your jewelry. Despite this, there are always exceptions. If you’re experiencing an itching sensation or a rash after wearing copper jewelry, this may be a sign of an allergy—here are some other weird things you can be allergic to.
Fortunately, there is good news amidst the bad. There are ways to still wear your copper jewelry without having green skin as a side effect. Perhaps the most popular method is by painting the part of the jewelry that touches your skin with a coat of clear nail polish. This way, there is a type of “barrier” between the jewelry and your skin. (Here are some other things you can fix with nail polish.)
Another way of avoiding this annoyance is by making your own jewelry. Here are five handmade project ideas to get you started.