Sterling silver jewellery can cause an unwanted yet harmless green discolouration on the skin. While many attribute this to the quality of the jewellery, the real culprit is the metal composition. Sterling silver jewellery typically contains 92.5% silver, with the remaining 7.5% comprised of other metals such as zinc and copper, which are added to enhance the durability.
Why Sterling Silver Causes Your Skin to Turn Green
The green tint that sterling silver jewellery can leave on your skin results from a chemical reaction between the metal, usually copper, and the pH levels of the wearer's skin. Copper reacts with chemicals, including those from skincare products, as well as with moisture on the skin. While copper reacts differently with each person's skin, understanding the causes can help prevent these unwanted green marks from occurring.
Metal jewellery, particularly copper, can react with lotion, perfume, sunscreen, and soaps causing it to oxidize. When this chemical reaction occurs, it creates that green tint that we find on our skin after wearing.
Like certain skincare products, moisture trapped between your skin and the jewellery can also cause a chemical reaction that leaves a green tint.
How To Prevent Your Skin From Turning Green
Before you decide to forgo your favourite pieces, there are many safe things that you can do to prevent your jewellery from turning your skin green.
- Apply a polymer barrier (jewellery shield product) to the part of the jewellery that touches your skin.
- If you don’t have a polymer barrier and are in need of something quickly, try applying a thin layer of clear nail polish to the inside of your jewellery to create a barrier.
- Clean your jewellery regularly to prevent a build-up of skincare products and dirt caused by sweat. The substance that leaves the green tint on your skin (known as verdigris), also sticks to the inside of your ring.
- Purchase your silver jewellery from a trusted supplier to ensure that it is at least 92.5% pure silver. Silver does not cause the green tint therefore, the less copper, the less likely it is that your jewellery will leave green marks on your skin.
- Dry your jewellery thoroughly if it gets wet or before putting it away.
How To Get Rid of Green Skin From Wearing Sterling Silver
Although harmless, the green tint left by jewellery can be difficult to remove. Start by using a washcloth with warm water and dish soap, depending on the severity of the mark, this often does the trick. If warm water and soap aren’t working, try a cotton pad soaked in rubbing alcohol.
Although the green marks sometimes caused by jewellery can be bothersome, silver jewellery has many benefits. In addition to its natural beauty, harmony with precious gemstones, and lesser price point than gold, silver is known for its health benefits such as improved circulation and protection against infections.
By taking preventive measures such as purchasing your jewellery from a trusted source such as KORITE, and being mindful of the potential causes, you can continue to enjoy your sterling silver jewellery without worrying about getting green marks on your skin.