Originally published on 9-12, 2007

The Problem-Nickel Allergy, The Solution-Nickel Solution – Nickel Allergy Information News and Solutions


Athena Allergy, Inc., founded in 2003, has a mission to provide unique products to meet underserved markets and is dedicated to enhancing health and the quality of life through these products. Specifically, Athena Allergy offers Nickel SolutionTM, a unique two-part system that detects nickel in metal items and then protects against a rash, a side effect of nickel contact. This product stands to serve the 22 million women who are not able to wear jewelry due to nickel sensitivity or allergy.

The Problem

Nickel allergy is a common problem, especially among women.  In the United States, 15% of women are clinically diagnosed with nickel allergy. However, “self-diagnosed” nickel allergic individuals comprise 35-40% of the population, thus leaving this group with limited choices for jewelry.  Until now, no product was commercially available addressing both the need to detect and protect individuals from nickel.

Nickel allergy is growing at alarming rates due to the increase in ear and body piercing, and it is shown to affect men as well as women. Athena Allergy developed Nickel Solution to give consumers with nickel sensitivity or allergy the opportunity to wear jewelry and other items that would otherwise cause an allergic reaction.

Items that may cause a reaction in the nickel-sensitive population include:

Earrings Heirloom jewelry Buttons Silverware

Watches Fine jewelry Belt buckles Eyeglasses

Necklaces Costume jewelry Zippers

Rings Nickel-free jewelry Jean studs

Hypoallergenic jewelry

An allergy or sensitivity to nickel, a life-long ailment, can cause ACD – allergic contact dermatitis. The symptoms include a red, itchy rash that may swell. The skin can also develop welts or hives and cracks or fissures. The most common sites of nickel-related dermatitis are the earlobes, neck, and wrist, where metal makes skin contact.

Nickel is widely used because it adds durability to softer metals like gold and is a common component in the base metal of plated items. As plating wears, even in “nickel-free” items where nickel is still present in the base metal, exposure can occur.

In the past, physicians advised their patients with nickel allergy to coat the offending items with clear nail polish. This supposedly created a buffer between the skin and the nickel-containing items; however, these patients began exhibiting signs of allergic contact dermatitis. It was determined that clear nail polish contained the chemicals toluene, formaldehyde, or dibutyl phthalate – chemicals responsible for creating allergic contact dermatitis in nickel-sensitive individuals. Nickel Solution does not contain any irritants, making it suitable for all individuals with nickel sensitivity or allergy.

The Nickel Solution

The Nickel Solution kit contains two solutions: Nickel AlertTM and Nickel GuardTM. Nickel Alert tests for the presence of nickel – even in trace amounts – in jewelry and other articles. Two drops of Nickel Alert are applied to a cotton swab (included in the kit), and then rubbed on the metal item. If the cotton swab turns pink, then nickel has been detected. The test takes less than one minute.

Nickel Guard, the second solution, uses a proprietary clear coating that forms an invisible micro-bond with the metal to protect the user from nickel exposure. Nickel Guard is brushed on nickel items where metal makes skin contact. Nickel Guard does not contain toluene, formaldehyde, or dibutyl phthalate, which could cause secondary contact dermatitis in nickel-sensitive individuals. The solution, recommended by dermatologists, is easy to use and will not harm even the most valuable items. The Nickel Solution kit is available through online retailers and skin care specialists. Details may be found on the Athena Allergy Web site.

The Visionaries

Athena Allergy is an employee-owned business located in Huntersville, North Carolina. Lea Dow, President and Co-Founder of Athena Allergy, has twenty years of experience working in the dermatology and allergy fields of healthcare. Ms. Dow previously held high-level positions with Ferndale Laboratories of Ferndale, Michigan and Allerderm Laboratories of Phoenix, Arizona where she was responsible for educating physicians and other healthcare providers nationally regarding allergy products and related procedures. These positions have contributed to Ms. Dow’s in-depth knowledge of allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) and skin allergy diagnostics, treatment, and protection. Ms. Dow’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with concentration in finance from the University of California, Sonoma (magna cum laude).

Michael Dow, Vice President and Co-Founder of Athena Allergy, has sixteen years of experience in the medical fields of dermatology and allergy. While previously employed with Allerderm Laboratories of Phoenix, Arizona as Product Manager and Director of Marketing, Mr. Dow was responsible for patient and healthcare provider education materials and product development, as well as product packaging. Mr. Dow possesses extensive knowledge of allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) and skin allergy diagnostics, treatment, and protection. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of West Florida.


Athena Allergy, Inc. produces a revolutionary new product, Nickel Solution, which is dedicated to enhancing health and the quality of life of those who suffer from nickel sensitivity or allergy. Nickel Solution is the result of approximately four decades of dermatology and allergy expertise, and is recommended by leading physicians nationwide.

For more information, please contact: Lea Dow, President

Athena Allergy, Inc.




The Problem-Nickel Allergy, The Solution-Nickel Solution

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