What to Do About Your Wedding Ring Rash

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If you see a red rash or feel an itch under your wedding ring, you could be allergic to one of the metals used to make the ring. Your skin may also be reacting to something under the ring that touches your skin. Wedding ring rash is an example of a common condition known as contact dermatitis, which can appear anywhere on the skin.

This articles reviews what to do if you experience wedding ring rash.

Woman touching the wedding ring on her finger nervously while having coffee and waiting in cafe.

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What Is Contact Dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis is a form of eczema, which healthcare providers sometimes call "the itch that rashes," because the itch tends to come first. Contact dermatitis, which results from an allergen or something your skin touches, is not the same thing as atopic dermatitis, which is caused by internal factors, including heredity and immune system reactions.

Symptoms

Wedding ring rash symptoms include:

  • Red rash or bumps on the skin (may even look like a minor burn)
  • Itchy skin that may feel hot and painful
  • Fluid-filled blisters

Depending on what's causing it, the rash may appear quickly, over the course of a few days, or not until you've been exposed to the trigger for some time.

Causes

Wedding ring rash can occur for different reasons. It can result from an irritant, which is a reaction to a substance that touches the skin under the ring, or an allergic reaction to one of the metals in the ring.

Irritants

Irritants cause dermatitis by rubbing against the skin. Particles from dirt, soap, chemicals used at work, or other products and materials create friction, which leads to the rash.

Irritants tend to affect people who have sensitive skin.

Allergies

Allergies to some of the metals found in wedding rings are common. Even if your ring is gold or silver, it contains alloys, which are added to make the primary metal more durable.

Nickel and cobalt are two alloys that are known to cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Allergies can develop at any time. In fact, some people can wear the same ring for years with no problem before breaking out with a wedding ring rash.

Types of Metal That Cause Ring Rash

Wedding rings are made from many materials, and some are more likely to cause contact dermatitis than others. Here are a few metals often found in wedding rings:

  • Nickel, added to gold or silver, is a common culprit. It can leach out of the band to make direct contact with your finger.
  • Cobalt is another alloy known to cause wedding ring rash in some people.
  • Titanium is considered hypoallergenic (not likely to be an allergen).
  • Platinum is considered hypoallergenic.
  • Palladium is unlikely to cause wedding ring rash.

Stainless steel, tungsten, or silicone rubber are other possible choices for bands that will not cause a rash.

Excessive Water Exposure

Occlusion dermatitis is an itchy rash caused by excessive water exposure under the ring.

Soap, dirt, environmental particles at work, lotions, and other materials can get caught in the stone setting or under the band. Moisture from washing your hands or from sweat creates an environment where constant dampness irritates the skin.

Additionally, bacteria that grow in the moist area of the skin may play a minor role in the development of a rash.

Treatment

Treatment for contact dermatitis includes removing the source of the irritant or allergen, but in the case of your wedding ring, that may not be a viable option.

If that's true for you, you can address ring rash by:

  • Keeping the ring clean
  • Removing the ring while washing your hands
  • Drying your hands after washing
  • Leaving the ring off or putting it on another finger while the rash heals

An over-the-counter (OTC) anti-itch cream can help relieve symptoms. If the rash doesn't go away, see a healthcare provider.

Summary

Wedding ring rash is a very common form of contact dermatitis. It's a red and itchy rash that may be caused by an allergy to one of the metals used to make your ring, or by debris, chemicals, or soap trapped under the ring. If your ring finger itches, try not wearing the ring for a period and let the rash heal, then keep the ring and your finger clean and dry.

A Word From Verywell

If you find that your wedding ring rash is due to an allergy to a metal, discuss getting a ring coating with a qualified jeweler. Home remedies exist, but talk to a professional before you take a chance on damaging your band or stone. If you haven't chosen your ring yet and suspect you may be allergic to a metal, consider that when selecting your band.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does ring rash look like?

    Wedding ring rash is a red and bumpy area under your skin. You may have fluid-filled blisters in the area as well.

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Mei Eng-Tu, et al. Multiple allergies to metal alloys. Dermatologica Sinica. 2011;29(2):41-43. doi:10.1016/j.dsi.2011.05.010

  2. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Contact dermatitis defined.

  3. Zhai H, Maibach HI. Skin occlusion and irritant and allergic contact dermatitis: an overviewContact Dermatitis. 2001;44(4):201-206. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0536.2001.044004201.x