Changes in your body chemistry may cause a reaction between your skin and the jewelry that you’re wearing. This is because of the presence of sulfur/sulfides and amino acids that could be found in perspiration. The acidic nature of your sweat will often cause discolorations to your skin and/or your jewelry and may cause some of your fabulous pieces to fade.
Your body chemistry is one of the main factors that will make your skin react with your jewelry. This may change as a result of hormonal changes, particularly during adolescence. Chemotherapy or the use of certain medications such as antibiotics can also affect your body’s chemistry. The components in some of the cosmetics that you use, such as creams and lotions, can accelerate the tarnishing of silver or lower karat gold jewelry.
Skin discoloration happens when too much acid in your body causes your skin to react with your jewelry. Silver and gold jewelry can turn your skin color green, not because of the type of jewelry you wore or how expensive (or inexpensive) the piece may be, but it is because of the high level of acidity in your body. This especially happens when it is hot and humid outside. Oxidation causes your skin to turn green when it reacts to silver jewelry and gives it a tarnished appearance.
Usually, gold jewelry does not turn the skin green, but this happens when gold is mixed with other metals like silver, copper, and nickel. This is done to make the jewelry more durable and more affordable.
To prevent skin discoloration, some jewelry makers create silver and white gold jewelry pieces incorporated with rhodium to add a defensive layer and prevents the reaction to the alloy.
Copper jewelry may or may not cause a green discoloration to your skin due to your metabolism. Chelated copper deposits react to your body chemistry and give your skin a green stain.
Other inexpensive jewelry that contains nickel can also result in green skin. Although nickel is not detrimental to health in small quantities, it may cause an allergic reaction to some people and result in red and itchy skin, in addition to the discoloration.
Sterling silver, on the other hand, is 7.5% copper. However, this does not give the skin a green stain. Instead, it causes a black stain because of the tarnishing of the metal. Cleaning this type of jewelry frequently should prevent this reaction.