Why Does Your Skin Turn Green When You Wear Some Jewelry?

Why Does Your Skin Turn Green When You Wear Some Jewelry?
Tori Dundas

on March 12, 2022

Have you ever dealt with jewelry that looks pretty but turns your skin green? It can feel so frustrating to get excited about showing off a new piece, only to have it turn on you.

Why does your skin turn green? 

This happens when the metals in your jewelry react to the oils on your skin — causing oxidation and that dreaded green color.  Think of it like rust that your jewelry is creating. 

Basically, jewelry is made from mixing several different types of metals, called ‘alloy’ — the mixture of metals melted down to create that piece of jewelry. Alloy can be tweaked to create the perfect mixture of color, integrity, solidity, and of course purity of the jewelry.

When cheaper metals are used, or copper, they react with the skin’s oils, sweat, and other products you may have on, causing the green.

The discoloration happens almost exclusively with fashion jewelry because the alloy isn’t made using precious metals. That’s why we advocate for fine jewelry— we don’t want impure metals touching the skin. After all, we want to take care of our body’s largest organ. Especially for those with allergies. 

What type of metal causes the green? 

Copper is usually the culprit. However, we never know for sure which mixture of metals are in the alloy in fashion jewelry — so shop smart. For example, nickel is a common skin allergy so many people need to specify that their sparkles are nickel-free. Unless it’s listed exclusively as gold or platinum, tread carefully. 

There is an exception to the rule when it comes to avoiding the green: solid rose gold. Even though rose gold is a solid gold, it very well may have some copper in order to get that beautiful pink shade. This can still cause your skin to react.

Does the green go away? 

Yes — it can wash off. But each time you put that jewelry back on, your skin will turn green again.

How do you stop jewelry from turning your skin green? 

At True, we only use solid gold jewelry because we believe in putting quality above all else. The better the quality of the alloy, the less likely it is that you'll have to deal with green skin -- as an added bonus, the longer your pieces will last. Solid gold fine jewelry is forever. Even gold-plated fashion jewelry will turn your skin green after wearing it for some time. This is because the gold-plating will wear off and your skin is will be in direct contact with the base metal alloy.

I've heard of people coating their jewelry with gold or rhodium plating, or clear nail polish, but my best recommendation is to wear solid gold, fine jewelry

Pure gold not only holds and increases in value, but it also looks gorgeous forever. Adorn yourself in stunning jewelry that fits into your lifestyle. Pieces you can wear on your everyday adventures — in the shower, while you get your sweat on, and on all your life’s adventures — without turning green.