You’ve had a great day. You’re looking good, you’re feeling good, your jewelry is on point. But as you’re taking off your jewelry, you notice that there are greenish-gray circles around your fingers where your rings were. Alarm bells likely go off in your head.
We’ve all been there. Hey, that’s probably even why you’re here!
We wanted to write this piece to tell you that you can turn off the alarms and still your beating heart, because this reaction on your skin is entirely natural. Though it may not look it, that green tinge is simply a change of color on your skin (like a summer tan) and nothing more. So don’t toss your jewelry in the trash just yet. Let us tell you a bit more about this phenomenon — and best of all, how to stop it.
So, What Gives? Why Are My Rings Turning My Fingers Green?
Let’s bust a myth here first, and simultaneously give you some peace of mind. When your fingers turn green from wearing jewelry, it doesn’t mean that it’s an allergic reaction or that you have a rash! It’s actually a chemical reaction that takes place when your skin touches certain metals found in plated jewelry.
The “Green Finger” Myth
Green just happens to be the color you get when copper (a necessary metal used to mold non-solid gold jewelry) reacts with your skin acids. Different metals will actually react to your skin in different ways. Rose-gold jewelry is commonly associated with “green fingers,” as copper is what creates the rosy coloring while sterling silver pieces (which also often contain copper) can turn your skin green, or even black, given that your skin’s acids cause the silver to oxidize and results in discoloration.
We don’t want to spend this time giving you the Bill Nye speech on the science behind all of it, but what we can tell you: it’s safe Besides your fingers having a slight mark, (which comes off with warm water!), you’re going to be totally fine! And because copper is used to produce almost all metals used in fashion jewelry, buying more expensive jewelry made from “purer” metals may not ensure you’ll be safe from green fingers.
It is important to note though, that if your finger turns red or starts to get itchy — then you may be having an allergic reaction to the material your jewelry is made out of (nickel is likely the culprit here) - Oomiay jewelry is completely nickel free. To learn more about how to shop for jewelry if you have sensitive skin, check out our guide!
Here's How You Can Prevent "Green Finger"
Of course, “green finger” isn’t necessarily very attractive, and most of us would prefer to avoid it if possible. As jewelry lovers ourselves, we’ve picked up a few tricks on how to keep our own rings from turning our fingers green. Here are our top three favorite (and easy) ways to prevent “green finger”:
- Stay dry: Take care not to wear your rings when you’re doing things like showering, putting on lotion, or washing your hands as wetness increases the chance of oxidation. But don’t worry — you can still rock your jewelry on your next beach trip. Just make sure you take it off before you jump in the water for a swim.
- Avoid the cheap stuff: Jewelry made with low-quality materials (aka nickel) can cause irritation. Similarly, fast fashion jewelry that has a very thin layer of plating can cause tarnishing more quickly. Be sure to do your research into the metals that are being used to make the pieces you’re interested in before purchasing.
- Know your skin: It may take some trial and error, but once you know which metals your skin reacts to, you will know which types of jewelry to avoid!
P.S. Our production process at Oomiay allows for a prolonged period of time before tarnishing may set in for your jewelry. The nickel-free base of each piece is dipped three times in 14-karat gold, resulting in plating that is five times thicker than most other plated jewelry out there. To keep your pieces tarnish free for even longer, you can check out our best practices for proper jewelry care to ensure that your pieces stay looking shiny and new long after they’ve made it into your daily rotation.
The (Sterling) Silver Lining
Your fingers may turn a little green every now and then, but with the right TLC, your jewelry should continue to hold its quality even through daily wear. Once you know the types of jewelry that are the best fit for you, you’ll be able to shop much more confidently. Browse collections that offer you a variety of high-quality, diverse pieces that will complement your personal style. Trust us, there’s no better feeling than building a collection of jewelry that you truly love and will stick with you for years to come.
By Jessie Bosley
Jessie Bosley is a contributing writer with specialties in health & wellness, CPG products, and brand strategy. She enjoys loads of sunshine, traveling to beautiful places, and reading a good book.