Is Nickel allergy hereditary?

Hypersensitivity to Nickel or Nickel allergy affects 700 million people worldwide. In this article, we will try to answer one important question for people suffering from this skin condition: is Nickel allergy hereditary? 

It may be good to know that allergy to Nickel is neither hereditary nor contagious. Indeed, according to a recent study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and made with a sample of twins recruited on the basis of hand eczema:

Allergic Nickel contact dermatitis is mainly caused by environmental factors.

So, now that we know the answer to the question “is Nickel allergy hereditary?”, we can underline some risk factors linked with the environment. Indeed, throughout their life, people can become hypersensitive to Nickel. According to the NCBI, the “environmental exposures are important for development of allergic contact dermatitis”.

Certain factors may increase your risk of developing a Nickel allergy like for instance:

  • Being female. Women are particularly susceptible to the allergy and they are more likely to have a Nickel allergy. One reason can be the tendency to have more piercings… which brings us to risk number 2.
  • Body piercings. Nickel is very common in jewelry. So having your ears or your body pierced increases your exposure to Nickel.
  • Working directly with metal.If you are constantly exposed to Nickel or other irritant metals at your job, your risk of developing an allergy may be higher than it is for someone who doesn’t work with metal. For instance, this is the case for medical workers, cashiers, construction workers, hairdressers or croupiers.
  • Being allergic to other metals. People who have a sensitivity to other metals such as Chromium and Cobalt may also be allergic to Nickel.
  1. This contradicts itself
    Says “nickel allergy is neither cobtagious or heritary”
    Later it says “to a lesser degree hereditary ”
    Which is it???

    1. Dear Nicola,

      Thank you for your message and for pointing this out to us.

      There was indeed a confusion in our article. Nickel allergy is not hereditary. It is acquired through prolonged exposure of the skin to Nickel. For instance, an individual can become sensitized to Nickel at any age.
      Also, people with an allergic disposition suffer more frequently than others from hypersensitivity reactions such as hypersensitivity to Nickel.

      Do not hesitate to come back to me if you need anything.

      Best regards,

      Laura from the Skintifique team

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