When I was younger, Claire’s Accessory Store was all the rage. Whether you were there to buy a necklace, earrings, or get your ears pierced, it was the staple of every preteen’s trip to the mall. The first time I went to Claire’s, I was in awe at the amazing array of chunky jewelry in multitude of colors, I thought I had found my happy place. I purchased a necklace with matching earrings and a very cute ring, I couldn’t wait to go to school and wow everyone with my bling. After about two days though, I noticed that my finger started turning green, I was so confused as to why my mom made me throw out the ring, but later on I learned that your finger turning green was a sign that you were wearing fake jewelry. To this day though, I still don’t understand WHY this happens.
Turns out, the idea of only cheap jewelry causing the alarming green color is untrue. According to Chemistry expert Anne Marie, the discoloration can happen with sterling silver and gold rings as well, the chances are just a lot lower. The main culprit with finer jewelry is sweat, the mixing of sweat with the metal over time causes a faint discoloration of the finger. The metals that typically cause the biggest problem are silver and copper, which also happen to be among some of the cheapest metals. The reason behind the actual color change can be explained by a chemical reaction between your skin and the metal of the ring. Other factors, like lotion use or sweat, can also explain the change of color. The oxidization through contact with oxygen of the materials on the ring is what causes the discoloration on the skin, and although the color can be alarming there are no real health hazards that arise.
So now the question that comes up is can you stop this from happening? And if so, how? Preventing oxidization is probably a bust because well…oxygen is all around us. And even expensive authentic jewelry can cause some discoloration, so what’s the solution? The answer is that although there is no way to completely avoid this, there are ways you can greatly reduce your chances. One piece of advice is to minimize as many liquids from touching your ring as possible, try to remove rings when washing your hands with soap, using lotion, or swimming. Some people repeatedly apply a coating of nail polish on the inside of their rings to prevent the metal from touching their skin.
Whatever you decide to do, just remember that your finger turning green because of a ring is not the end of the world. Wear what you want and what makes you feel good, but following some of these tips can keep you from encountering this problem.