The Real Reason Why Your Jewelry Is Turning Your Fingers Green

Written by Adeline Hocine — July 13, 2017

It's happened to the best of us. You've daydreamed about the perfect ring, made the purchase, and excitedly slipped it on only to notice a faint green line around your finger hours later. While the common assumption has been to write off the piece for its poor quality, there's actually an entirely different reason for this phenomenon. 

Copper is one of the most popular culprits, as the metal tends to corrode when put in contact with anything from sweat to hand lotion. This leads to the creation of copper salts which then ultimately cause the faint green mark we've so infamously come to know. 

Other metals can also cause similar effects, though sterling silver tends to be the second-most common. Due to so many gold-plated and gold vermeil rings hosting sterling silver as its base, they tend to be grouped into this category as well. Rather than a faint green mark, the oxidation of silver when put in contact with skin can lead to a more dark green or even black ring around your finger.  

If a green hue on your finger is accompanied by itching, it's possible that you actually possess a specific metal allergy. Even then, the allergy can be easily treated or avoided altogether by opting for different metal options. 

Luckily, these marks are never permanent, and are more so a sign of how your own body chemistry reacts to various metals than it is a testament of the metal's quality.

To lessen the likelihood of your skin turning green, you can always line the inside of a ring with clear nail polish or opt to invest in solid gold pieces. Regardless, jewelry should always be removed when washing your hands, coming in contact with household chemicals such as dish soap, or engaging in exercise. 

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