Originally published January 23, 2014 by Rita Arrup

Allergic to exercise?  We’ve heard that excuse many times, but it seems some people are allergic to their exercise equipment.  Recent news has been pinpointing the Fitbit Force, a fitness tracker, as a source of nickel allergy reactions!

Fitbit owners state that the surgical stainless steel used in these monitors contains nickel.  As many of our Certified Nickel Safe™ products are made of stainless steel, we wanted to provide a little more background.  Controls in producing stainless steel are not always as rigid as they should be, often depending upon the location of the manufacturing plant.  In Europe, stainless steel must contain less than .05% nickel ion migration, but other countries have no directives governing the manufacture of this product.  Surgical stainless steel, when correctly produced under rigorous guidelines, results in a product with any nickel being so tightly bound that it will not leach out and contact the skin.  NoNickel products are tested to assure they meet these strict guidelines and come with the guarantee to never test positive for nickel and to never cause a nickel allergy reaction.

While the owners of Fitbit have been quick to respond and are allowing customers to return or exchange these products, it left us wondering about other exercise equipment.  We’ve heard reports of nickel allergy rashes resulting from using weight lifting equipment and from some heart rate monitors, but with the amount of metal at the gym we questioned if there have been more instances that have been improperly diagnosed.

Sending owner Michael Dow to the gym to investigate was no problem, since he is on a daily exercise regimen.  Looking at the variety of equipment, he notes that most everything is shielded from any nickel plating with the use of padding or other protective coatings.  As only those with hyper-sensitivity to nickel would have issues from occasional touching of uncoated metal, he feels confident in saying that the vast majority of people would have no nickel allergy reactions resulting from gym equipment, even when used on a routine basis.

However, it is important to note that exercise (or more specifically the perspiration from a workout) is associated with the exacerbation of nickel allergy.  Moisture causes a breakdown of nickel ions which penetrate the skin and cause nickel allergy reactions in nickel sensitive individuals. Simply put, working up a good sweat may cause a nickel rash from the metal in your sports watch or sunglasses even when wearing these same items in cool, dry conditions would not create that problem.

Luckily there are easy solutions to the problem of being “allergic to exercise”!    First of all, consult with an allergist or dermatologist who can pinpoint the cause of allergic reactions.  If nickel is the culprit, the best solution is locating the source of the nickel and then avoiding it.

Nickel Solution™, a kit containing Nickel Alert™ and Nickel Guard™, provides an easy way to detect nickel and then protect the skin from contacting that nickel.  Nickel Alert was developed as the first pre-mixed and pre-measured dimethylglyoxime spot test for nickel to be offered for public sale.  The formula of this easy to use test is highly accurate, detecting nickel in levels as low as 10 parts per million, a threshold below which only a few highly sensitive individuals would experience a reaction.

Nickel Guard, a lacquer that has been clinically recognized for its effectiveness, can be applied to non-movable metal parts that contain nickel.  This lacquer will provide lasting protection for the skin from the nickel in that metal.  Nickel Guard will gradually wear off through repeated use, but can be safely re-applied as often as needed.  With this barrier in place, there are no worries of the skin contacting nickel even in sweaty work-out conditions.

None of us here at NoNickel have the Fitbit Force to make a call on the effectiveness of Nickel Guard on that product, but some of us have used Nickel Guard on our sports watches with great success.  And for those times you like to run with your lucky earrings (that unluckily contain nickel), Nickel Guard will allow you to continue your winning formula.

But maybe it's time for some new lucky gems - check out our jewelry designer's latest styles!  We love the New Look Lavender Earrings with vintage beads - just exquisite!  Perhaps the Sterling Silver studs are better suited for your exercise routine, though.  We are adding to our hypoallergenic jewelry designs on a regular basis, so keep checking back- we hope titanium earrings are in our future!

We are also excited to introduce a few new belts - our latest arrivals are the handcrafted Silver Square Tan belt and the Ridgeline Trail Double Pin Roller Belt.  Our belt maker is currently producing some new nickel free belt styles with titanium buckles - from what we've seen you are going to love them.

So, keep healthy with routine exercise and keep nickel allergies at bay with the nickel free solutions at NoNickel.com!

Allergic to Exercise? Or could it be nickel allergy?

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