A Gluten-Free Vegan Mom Who Knows

A raw, grain-free, corn-free, soy-free, oil-free, celiac mama raising her two healthy celiac girls.

My Nickel Allergy Triggers My Eczema Flareups: Nickel in Food, Money, Cell Phones, Jewelry and More…

| 97 Comments

After I recovered from two parasites, and herniated disk pressing on my spinal cord and nerve, kidney pain/congestion and toxic beryllium levels (just to name a few of my 2012 health obstacles), my itchy and painful rash that has plagued my life for about four years returned. Why did it disappear in the first place? Because when under the treatment of neurosurgeon number two, I tried taking steroids for four days to see if “the steroids would reduce the swelling and alleviate the debilitating spasms” in my right shoulder, right bicep and right forearm as well as my neck and back pain. They didn’t work (neurosurgeon number three – my hero – explained why they don’t work for back injuries). However, that steroid sure did clear up my nasty eczema, but after approximately two months, it came back for a long stay yet again. At this time, I was under the care of different doctors, and my holistic doctor was the one who first discovered the cause of my eczema of which also allowed it to go away on its own and without toxic topical creams.

Yes, I am atopic (as are both of my girls) but that doesn’t mean that we are not able to find relief from asthma, allergies, and/or eczema. I’ve been told that I have to live with rash for the rest of my life and that there is not “cure.” Not True.

Now knowing that both of my girls also have a nickel allergy (they both have never had their ears pierced – one theory of how people develop the allergy) and that Ainsley too experiences of eczema around her eyes, I am determined to learn all that I can about nickel it food, products, etc.

The following picture is what I constantly experienced before learning about my nickel allergy. This occurred on both eyes and on my arm (still does, just much worse and in larger areas but only when I consume a food containing nickel).

These pictures were taken within 5 days of one another in November 2011.

I admit that for that last 4 plus years and before my doctor discovered the trigger of my eczema flareups, I have occasionally been using topical cream that I recently learned from both my holistic doctor and my eye doctor that Mometasone Furoate Cream can cause glaucoma and cataract when used near the eyes (great!! what damage have I done while seeking relief and while being so vein??).  Yes, the prescribing doctor told mw to use it sparingly and that it shouldn’t be used on my face, but if I only used it when needed, I’d be okay. It was ultimately my decision to fill the prescription and to use the cream and that’s what I did while desperately searching for relief from my symptoms. Nevertheless, the cream helped to stop my raw skin from peeling off in thick layers day after day and it stopped the constant itching while also relieving my pain, so ultimately, I used the cream to find relief and to feel pretty again.

In addition to the Mometasone cream, I was also prescribed Ketoconazole of which my holistic doctor has okayed for further use. He also told me to throw away the Mometasone, and instead, he provided me with HyperOxy.

Please note that the only products I use on my skin are coconut oil (moisturizer), occasionally jojoba oil and RMS Beauty’s coconut-based makeup (I wear makeup 2-6 times a month). Coconut oil is great for so many things and I am sure it helps, but it has not prevented my flareups during the last 2.5 years of use.

HyperOxy Ozonated Olive Oil: Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Olive Oil infused with Activated Oxygen (Ozone) – Ingredients: Olive Oil, Ozone, Oxygen

Now, when I have a flareup, I wash those areas (around my eyes my right cheek by my mouth and on my left bicep) with Ketoconazole, and I then apply a healthy layer of HyperOxy before going to bed. The shampoo helps remove the dead skin while the oil helps provide me with some relief. HyperOxy does not provide the magical qualities that my former glaucoma- and cataract-causing cream did, but I greatly welcome any relief possible during a painful flareup.

This flareup was caused by juice I drank that contained high-nickel fruits and veggies. This picture was taken after I used the shampoo and after I applied my first application of HyperOxy before going to bed.

Thirty hours after juice consumption. The once clear eye had taken a turn for the worse.

After a flareup, it takes a couple of weeks for my symptoms to fade, and my symptoms go beyond my eczema (e.g. headaches, fatigue, irritability, etc.). I have found that just like with gluten and Celiac Disease, the longer I am nickel free, the more intense my symptoms during my next exposure.

The flareup in the two above pictures were taken the past two nights (20 and 21 March 2013) after drinking a small amount of juice that contained a small amount of kale – YES, KALE!!! Oh, I am still grieving… No kale and no cashews!! Cashews are in so many raw vegan creamy/cheese-like recipes.

Nevertheless, during these past four months since being nickel free (my doctor assisted with my nickel/heavy metal detox), I have been conducting tests to see how much nickel my body can tolerate. My findings: one cashew, one scoop of Rockin’ Wellness (I was given a sample last summer and I longed to try it), a kale chip, several sips of juice containing kale all triggered a flareup in less than 30 minutes.

Update: Spinach, dandelion, cilantro, swiss chard, pistachios, pecans, almonds… are also off limits, but I can have beets, beet greens, collards, romaine, bok choy, cabbage, chlorella, broccoli, asparagus, walnuts, macadamia nuts, all seeds… The list is longer than I expected and totally doable (26 November 2013). 

Kale, Soy (no biggie), and cashews are definitely off limits. However, I’ve also cut out most greens and still have to reintroduce many back into my diet. I know that broccoli or asparagus don’t trigger my eczema. I eat tons of avocado (a fruit, but still green) as well as bell peppers, cucumbers…

Pineapple is on Mayo Clinic’s list (my doctor provided me with two lists – neither I have found online but I do have my hard copies), and pineapple was in the juice that also contained kale, so I guess the jury is still out on pineapple since I haven’t consumed it on its own. Update: I can consume pineapple, apples, pears, tomatoes, carrots, yams, coconut, dates, and more (26 November 2013). 

My doctor, from experience, asserts that not all the foods listed as high nickel foods trigger his nickel allergy and that I will experience the same. Together we are working on determining which foods are safe and which are not.

Below I will share the information that my doctor provided for me, but before I get to that, I just did a google search and found that Elizabeth Tehrani over at eHow.com states that raspberries, pineapple, figs (of course I just added three fruitful fig trees to my garden last year and how already reaped a bountiful harvest, so let’s hope that figs aren’t an issue!), dates, and prunes should be avoided. Apples, tomatoes, oranges, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits are low in nickel content but can exacerbate allergy symptoms (another explanation of why I look so hideous after drinking Greg’s green juice – it also contained citrus).

In addition to the painful itchy rash that now resides around both eyes and parts of my cheeks and neck, I am battling headaches, fatigue and irritability.

Do you suffer from a topical nickel allergy while still knowing that you can feel better? If so, get tested, conduct a heavy metal detox, experiment with the elimination diet while avoiding foods that contain nickel in addition to avoiding nickel throughout everyday life. Frequent hand washing also minimizes exposures.

As you can see, unlike living a 100% gluten-free lifestyle, my journey of living a nickel allergy has just begun and I have much to learn. It figures! I get to a place where living GF became second nature as our gluten exposures have become a rarity. Now, I have a new issue to adjust to and to learn about. Wish me luck! This has been a daunting ride so far as, like the medical industry, I still know very little about where nickel is hiding. The great thing is that I am figuring this new lifestyle out more and more everyday and this too will become second nature with rare exposures.

While texting my celiac sister this morning while sharing the above pictures, along with my feelings, she just so happened to flip to this article:

Yay for iPhones being nickel free!!!

 

My Feelings Regarding My Nickel Allergy and Current Eczema Flareup

As for my feelings, here’s what I shared with my sister: “At times, I feel ripped off. First gluten and now this… I though that I found a safe/healthy lifestyle where I wasn’t restricted… (high-raw/raw vegan depending on the season) I could eat any fruit, veggie, nut or seed I wanted, but now my two favorites are off limits. I’m adjusting, and even though I’ve thought many times that I’ll just load up on kale and cashews again and get my body back to the point where my symptoms are less severe just constant, I know what it feels like to feel great and symptom free and I can’t go back. I also don’t know the longterm damage caused by ignoring this allergy. I know what gluten can do to my health but not nickel, and unfortunately, it’s an area with little research.”

Does a nickel allergy suck for a grain-free vegan? Absolutely! It sucks for anyone! Am I upset? Sometimes. I grieve when I come across one of my favorite recipes, walking past kale in my natural food store, seeing a new yummy recipe one of my favorite blogger’s page, but regardless of those moments, I know that I’ll figure this one out just like I figured out how to maintain a 100% GF home from food to non-toxic cleaning supplies and health and beauty products (and that is with sticking with products manufactured in a gluten-free facilities – better safe than sorry). I admit that this will take some time, but I will get better at protecting me and my girls from a nickel exposure.

 

Now, for nickel in food…

The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

“The MFMER provides the following list of foods to avoid if you suffer from a nickel allergy.” (Since I am a gluten-free vegan, I am omitting all animal and wheat products.)

Please note per MFMER: “There are limited data on nickel content of foods. The (below) information is based on known values, and reports from scientific literature.”

Foods to Avoid

  • all canned vegetables and fruits
  • beans (green, brown, white)
  • sprouts
  • kale
  • leeks
  • lettuce
  • peas (including split peas)
  • spinach – I appear to be okay with spinach
  • fresh and dried figs
  • pineapple
  • prunes
  • raspberries
  • buckwheat
  • millet
  • chocolate and cocoa drinks
  • teas from dispensers
  • nuts: almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts – I react immediately to a single roasted cashew but nut to 1/4 cup of raw almonds
  • sunflower seeds
  • marzipan
  • licorice
  • baking powder
  • lentils
  • linseed
  • soy powder
  • vitamin/mineral supplements containing nickel

Foods Allowed

  • asparagus
  • beets
  • broccoli
  • brussel sprouts
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • corn
  • cucumber
  • dill
  • eggplant
  • mushrooms
  • parsley
  • peppers
  • potatoes
  • peaches
  • pears
  • raisins
  • rhubarb
  • all berries minus raspberries
  • rice cereals
  • yeast
  • coffee and tea (not strong and in moderation)
  • alcohol

Low Nickel Foods that Aggravate Nickel Allergy

  • beer
  • wine (especially red wine)
  • raw tomatoes, onions and carrots
  • apples and citrus fruits and their juices

 

It is interesting to compare the above list with the list provided by The New Zealand Dermatological Society:

Foods to Avoid

  • baked beans
  • green beans
  • broccoli
  • peas including split peas
  • canned fruits and vegetables
  • dried fruit
  • nuts
  • cocoa
  • drinking chocolate
  • chocolate
  • hot water from the tap
  • anything acidic (like tomatoes) cooked in a stainless steel pan
  • leafy green vegetables

Foods Allowed

  • rice
  • lots of wheat products – that list is uber depressing!
  • beetroot
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • leeks
  • parsnips
  • potatoes
  • spinach
  • fruit – raw and stewed
  • tea and coffee
  • cordials
  • beer wine

 

As you can see, the lists contradict one another, and to make the determination of which foods contain high levels of nickel even more daunting, one of my Facebook followers shared this list here (click here) that she has been using (you’ll find even more contradictions to this very large puzzle) when she commented on the picture below.

“When I consume foods with nickel, my eczema flares up around my eyes (red, inflamed skin that flakes off in layers/sheets) and is painful and itchy. My reaction occurs within minutes and takes about 2 weeks to fade.
I wonder if the two organs impacted the most from my allergy are my kidneys and liver or if my flareups primarily appear around my eyes because my skin there is just extra sensitive.”

Do you have known nickel allergy and have advice to share? Or do you have a suspicion that a possible nickel allergy is preventing you from feeling your best? If so, share you story, thoughts and/or experiences in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you!

Much Love! Priscilla

 

97 Comments

  1. Very informative. Sorry you now have this to contend with. I suffer with  eczema – Is there a simple  test your doctor can do to determine if you have a nickel allergy?

    • @DonnaDallas Yes, Donna, Your doctor can do a patch test. The Mayo Clinic describes it here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nickel-allergy/DS00826/DSECTION=tests-and-diagnosis 
      Much Love!
      Priscilla

    • Just found out that my constant allergies were from nickel. I have developed contact dermatitis on my mouth. I have had to cut out gluten kale pineapple banana avacado red wine tea ( but not coffee) orange juice broccoli green beans …shrimp peanuts and cashews dried fruit sun flower seeds (goodies) found in trail mixes etc…..chocolate (I was never really a big fan) . …nail polish and just before I found your website.. i touched my lips with my brand new 18kt gold bracelet and my lips swoll immediately. The Irony is that I am a jewelry buyer…. I could go on but i just wanted to say that your web site is encouraging now I know I am not alone. P.s think this from having braces in my teens. ( I am 39) Read an article about nickel in orthodontist materials.

    • Yes, you can go to a dematologist and he will place three sleves of sample on your back for 2days. In this proccess you can not shower. The second day he will follow up with you and you will see it. Make sure you bring a camera with you., the doctor will take a picture of the out come however, some results make take longer, therefore, taking a picture of your back will give thema baseline. I’t not as complicated as it sounds. Go to a dematologist that will be your best bet.

  2. I wonder if nickel is what has brought my eczema back. In high school I could not wear certain brands of jeans because the buttons had nickel. I would break out where the back of the button touched my skin. I also can’t wear most jewelry as I react to it after only a few minutes. My exzema in inside my elbows, knees and my wrist but I also breakout on my eye lids. I think I will have to look into testing for nickel now.

    • @RebeccaAvery I too couldn’t wear ‘cheap’ jewelry, etc. My nickel allergy correlates with when I went high-raw and started juicing and consuming large amounts of kale daily. I will be writing about heavy-metal detoxing in the near future – that may help relieve your eczema. 
      Much Love!
      Priscilla

      • Just found out I have a nickel allergy. It took months to determine the cause of a hyper pigmented rash on my neck. The only thing I was doing differently was juicing with Kale 2x per day. After patch testing it was confirmed!

        Thankful for the diagnosis, now researching how to live nickel free.

      • This is when my nickel allergy also appeared and affects my legs horribly. Where is your article on heavy metal detox? Thanks!

  3. Thanks for sharing! I had this same rash around my one eyelid that first showed up after using an vibrant blue nail polish and cleared up within 24 hours only after I removed all of it. My internet research lead me to this articles linking the chemicals in nail polish and or these types of skin conditions. Unfortunatley, that was one year ago and it is back again although I’m not using any nail polish. I’ll check into the nickel theory! Thanks.

    • My Derm said he treated someone with an nickel allergy resulting in a breakout around her eyes. Turns out it was due to a metal – nickel base fingernail file.

      Touching your face after a manicure my be the issue if a metal file is being used.

  4. Wow! So grateful to have read this!!! I have been suffering from the same exact thing for about 4/5 years as well. My allergy usually appears around my eyes and mouth. I also get it really bad on my scalp, behind my ears. Behind the ears is the most painful.

    Where can I find the HyperOxy cream? Right now I use a cream that was prescribed by my dermatologist. It really helps to relieve the inflammation, but it burns quite a bit. I have been curious to see what other creams I can use.

    I have been suffering from this for a few years now, and have refused to rid myself of the foods that cause the allergy. I am also a vegetarian, and haven’t been able to cut out the veggies that contain nickel! I am going to research which ones cause me to flare up and I will get back to you. Again, thank you so much for this! It has really helped.

  5. This post is amazingly helpful. I’ve had eczema for years, and I was recently diagnosed. I found out that I was eating, daily, almost all of the high nickel foods (whole grains, kale, nuts, etc). I was wondering if you had found any milk alternatives that were safe (I’ve been doing almond milk exclusively for awhile), and what grains you have been eating (I don’t know if I can do so much white flour!)

    Thanks again for what you’ve already posted.

  6. I am very interested in how your heavy metal detox goes! I have a food nickel allergy that shows up on the face map of the large intestines.

  7. Try homeopathic sulphur. Seriously. Even better, visit or consult with a homeopath or naturopath with good experience in homeopathy. You can’t fight allergies and eczema. You can only survive with it. You have to heal it. My daughter’s is healed and mine is in the process. Thanks for the info on nickel!

  8. Yes! Finally something about Dairy Allergies.

  9. Wow. It’s amazing to hear how similar our stories are. I too have had a spinal cord issue where my disc was pushing against it (C4-C5) and on June 11th of 2013 I had surgery to repair this problem. I am still recovering and am hoping to become pain free in the next few months.

    On a side note and also similar to you, I too have had this skin issue for approx 2-3 years. I recently had a patch test done and found out I am allergic too nickel as well as disperse blue although the allergy to nickel is stronger. Disperse blue is found mostly in hair products and clothes.

    When I do have a flare up, it is always on my face. I get red blotches around my eyes although it’s worse around my right eye. MY skin on my face gets really dry and I peel like some sort of reptile shedding it’s skin. It’s painful too and sometimes a bit tiresome.

    I can’t really put my finger on what causes the flare ups but I do not do much to avoid the foods that are high in nickel. I had alcohol, shrimp and lobster over this past weekend and had a bad flare up on the following Monday. I think alcohol for me is what really gets it going. It seems that in most cases I can handle different foods that have nickel but when I drink alcohol, it really accentuates the allergy.

    Anyways, where can I get the HydroOxy? I would love to find something that may help reduce the redness and swelling.

    Thanks!

    Rob

    • I buy my HydroOxy from my holistic M.D. Some of what I buy from him is not sold on the free market and can only be sold through a doctor. I’m unsure if HydroOxy is one of those items.

  10. Do you know of any makeup brands- mascara, eye shadow, nail polish that doesn’t contain nickel? I googled it and can’t find any.

  11. First I want to thank you for all the useful information you have provided on your site.

    Yes, I too have nickel allergies along with being allergic to topical preservatives. I found after each outbreak my sensitivity to nickel increased. What started out as getting eczema only on my hands, now I’m getting it on my face, ears, the back of my neck, and inside my elbows. My sensitivity started many years ago to bear and liquor. I’m not a big drinker so I don’t miss it. But if I do decide to have a drink I found tequila doesn’t upset my stomach or cause my eczema to flare up.
    I also found out through the years that I am sensitive to many seed and nut oils. This is challenging because I use nothing but all natural skin and hair care products. Most of these and a lot of home remedies contain oils that I’m allergic to.

    It was refreshing to see you use an extra virgin cold press olive oil cream for relief. I fairly recently discovered I am able to use pure olive oil. For many years I thought I was allergic until I tried a bottle of unfiltered oil which worked well with my skin. So far my difficulty is finding a brand that doesn’t mix other oils I’m allergic to in with their olive oil. This is turning out to be costly as I now have to turn to online purchases to try to find a pure olive oil brand. These are pricey and can get more costly because I won’t know if I’m allergic to the oil until I buy a bottle and try it on my skin.

    So if you or anyone knows of a good pure olive oil brand I can try, please let me know. I’ve come this far coping with these allergies and where there is a will there is a way. 

    Thanks So Much & Take Care

  12. Wow. I recently did a patch test and found out I was allergic to nickel sulfate and propylene glycol. I totally ignored nickel, knowing I don’t wear cheap jewelry, and focused exclusively on the propylene glycol. Changed out all my shampoo, deodorant, etc, and thiought “problem solved.” Well, eczema cleared up for a few days before coming back full force. Prednisone is the only thing to knock back the flare ups, but who wants to take that regularly? So, the newest allergist shows me the list of foods high in nickel content, which I’ve not given a second thought since I found out about my allergy: almonds, canned tuna, spinach, bananas, etc. basically, all the healthy foods I’ve been eating since the start of 2013. No pasta or bread, soda, potatoes, etc, since 2012. Insides feel great, skin is on fire. So allergist says “get rid of nuts and almonds, spinach,etc,but up up can eat all the pasta and soda you want!” Wonderful. So, just need to fully commit to gluten and nickel free diet and see if I clear up. Interesting article, thanks for the insight.

  13. I just recently was diagnosed with a Nickel and Gold allergy. I started eating almonds and onions this past two weeks and have my skin rash back. It comes back in different places each time. But mostly in my trunk area. First it was my stomach, and now my back. I just realized why. Your list above has helped and I will find a way to print this and carry it with me. Thank you so much!!!!

  14. Hey Priscilla,

    I have a nickle allergy and I break out all over, it’s terrible! I found an article, actually written by my allergist that says wheat is high on nickle, so I’ve just started the gluten free diet a couple weeks ago. Do you have any tips getting started? I feel like there is nothing to eat since a lot of g free stuff is on the nickle avoid list! Any helpful tips would be great! Thanks so much for your time!

    -Kelly

  15. Hi Priscilla,
    It was great to read your findings on the nickel front. I, too, suffer from a nickel allergy, as well as a bunch of other things (wheat, gluten, yeast, dairy, nuts, sugar cane… it goes on). So, piling this nickel thing on top of that has been kind of like a bad joke. But, we persevere. What I am really searching for is information with the particular LEVELS of nickel in foods. I have put my holistic doctor on the same search. The conflicting information out there leaves us to gamble with our own bodies… and suffer. It takes about 2 weeks for me to process a flare up as well. While I am fortunate to not react on my face, I have severe itching and eczema on my palms and legs. And I have SEVERE lethargy. Think total zombie. And then I just feel like I have got the flu for a week or so. Not worth the gamble.

    I was pleased to see that cruciferous vegetables may be allowed (cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy), and maybe potatoes, spinach and beets!? It’s a whole new world. I’ve been afraid of developing a reaction to sweet potatoes since they are a total staple.

    I do eat meat, which makes the protein sources easier… but how do you feel about the brown rice being on the bad list? That makes me sad. How are we to be well on a white rice diet? I guess you pick your poison, right? 🙂

    And the chocolate thing…. BAH.

    Glad to have found you on here. I am seriously considering launching a “Nickel Free Me’ blog with recipes and such, for a resource of truth (If I can ever find it!) Stay tuned… 🙂

    Becki

    • Hi Becki
      Have you launched your nickel free blog? I am vegetarian but would be still interested in following you.

  16. Hi, I’m gluten free vegan and just found out I have nickel allergy also. I read a couple
    doctors say that taking vitamin C with your food helps take out the nickel from your body and suggest you take some when you eat. Have you heard/tried this? Maybe that could allow an occasional high nickel favorite food like Cashews? I haven’t tried it yet as I’m getting over major rash from nickel now, but plan to try it. I am so upset I can’t eat nuts and kale! At least there are some good vegetables and fruits we can still eat. I think it’s healthy to rotate your diet anyway…too much of anything probably not good. Sometimes I think already dealing with being gluten free and vegan makes it easier to be creative with limitations.

    • I asked my doctor about that months ago (he also has a nickel allergy), and I believe that he asserted that it doesn’t work for him. I’ll have to ask him again to make sure.
      Doesn’t it take FOREVER for a flareup to fade?! I wish they passed more quickly! I too miss cashews and kale the most. I cannot touch either of them. All it takes is one nut or one kale chip.
      Thanks for sharing!
      Much Love!
      Priscilla

  17. I too was just diagnosed with a Nickel allergy. Same type of rash around the eyes, mouth, and on my hands. Seems that the healthiest eaters are now reacting to common/natural elements. I can understand that the majority of the foods we choose to eat are high in Nickel, but they are also high in other nutrients as well. I eat only organic foods, no GMOs, at home. Eating out is a different story, given that it’s so hard to control. It just doesn’t make sense. I wish that I was warned about this before – maybe I would’ve eaten some of the “bad stuff” too.

    • Unfortunately, researching is lacking in this department, but the more people who go plant based and consume a lot of kale, cashews, spinach, soy, etc., the more people who are now suffering from nickel induced eczema because of a triggered nickel allergy. I’m still learning as I go and it helps that my doctor too has the same allergy. I have found that even drinking small amounts of fruit juice and/or eating small amounts of nuts, sets off my eczema, but I have had long stretches with no symptoms when I am militant about my diet. I do love learning, but I have also been experiencing new food allergies after I was glutened in June. I am now highly allergic to watermelon. It makes sense since 80% of our immune system is in our small intestine and when I get gluten sick from cross contamination, my small intestine gets hit hard while messing up and confusing my immune system even more. Luckily, my doctor is trying two homeopathic food allergy treatments that have definitely lessened my reaction to the many foods that I’m allergic too. Unfortunately, those treatments are/will not help celiac disease or my nickel allergy.
      I can empathize completely with eating the healthiest and cleanest of diets and feeling frustrated when dealing with such reactions. I actually went through the grieving process from January into the summer. I’m feeling better now (emotionally and mentally), but I think my food blogging days are over. How can I truly share how I eat when dealing with so many obstacles?? I was a dedicated juicer for over four years and now, I can’t drink more than 8 oz of juice a day without setting my eczema into a flareup. I can still eat collards, broccoli and asparagus (currently the only greens in my diet).
      Instead of blogging above food (as I am still seeing my doctor once a month while figuring out which foods are making me sick – believe it or not, the lists changes more than I ever imagined!), I will be creating a blog sharing how I have been saving loads of money and how I am upcycling discarded wood furniture and more. I am happier focusing on non-food passions, but I am still eating an organic, non-GMO, vegan diet – just a very limited one for now.
      Hugs!!
      Priscilla

  18. I have been dealing with crazy allergies for a year and now, after multiple rounds of testing, throwing out makeup, and steroids, think this may be nickel. ( my eyes are a mess this morning after red wine last night and my glasses and I had a severe nickel issue years ago onmy fingers from my white gold wedding rings). I would appreciate ANY information on foods to include and other tid bits that could help. I am also checking with my physician to see if she even checked for nickel.

    Thanks

    • I have the same hand symptoms. They started while I was nursing my first child and pregnant with my second. My ring finger started to itch under my white gold ring. I haven’t worn rings for years now, but the entire backs of my hands break out in tiny water blisters that itch. I know exactly what you’re saying about the pain and difficulty making a fist! It has been a long, hard expensive road to trying to deal with this confusing systemic allergy. I thought it was gluten and was doing pretty well on a gluten free diet unit I had a terrible reaction. I think now that it must have been all the chocolate almond milk and nuts I was enjoying.

  19. I loved your recent post! I too have a nickel and cobalt allergy. I am also trying to determine my gluten issue. But your post makes this journey seem comprehensible as I am not alone!

  20. I have been suffering for about three years now with a contact dermatitis on my hands. It is absolutely terrible. It’s dry, cracked, my skin splits. I also get these water blisters and they itch like crazy. Then of course there is the swelling to the point that I can’t straighten my hands nor make a first. I work in fast food and I thought it was the gloves. Then I thought maybe the dish soap. my doctor prescribed me every STEROID cream under the sun. Well that dries the skin and also thins it. So when it itches and I scratch my skin comes off. Which is even more painful. Finally got patch testing done. Do far they found out that in allergic to nickel and dispersed blue dye. Now I’m wondering if it’s because I handle money all day on the cash register. So I’m going to try and wear gloves while handling the money. Wish me luck cause this is so terrible. I truly know how you feel!!!!

    • I had exact same symptons when I worked at a supermarket as a checkout operator handling money and coins 44 hours per week. I changed jobs and the problem went awaym

  21. I went thru the contact dermatits testing to find out I was allergic to nickel and lanolin. My dr. sort of brushed off the nickel allergy since I don’t react at all to costume jewellry, but the list of foods to avoid makes huge sense. I am gluten intolerant, which I figured out years ago, but was having a lot of problems with food sensitivities. I did the SCD diet (two guys Jordan and Steve have a whole website about it, and have a phased plan for re-introducing foods that I used and it helped a lot! Got rid of the rashes on my neck and chest, and hands/arms, helped drastically reduce the rashes around my eyes) I found many sensitivities, most of which seem to contain nickel!! I appreciate the lists you have. There is another great one at http://www.athenaallergy.com/Nickel-Allergy-Diet.html

    Obviously, I need to do the intro phase of my SCD again, and slowly reintroduce the low nickel foods to see what I can tolerate. I guess its in the soil so growing my own veggies won’t help, or does anyone have any info on that?

  22. I just stumbled across your blog and not sure its still active or not,
    I read your story and your story and mine are so close together.
    I learned about the nickle allergy first, then learned I have an allergy to grass plants, so although I am not celiac, I can no longer eat grains from the grass family.
    Which includes most of the ones on the low nickle list as well. I am still not sure about sorghum flour. I eat a very limited diet … Plus suffer IBS, which has improved almost 90% , but cant handle raw vegies or fruit. So have precook them all for awhile, and some I have to almost over cook to get them to digest without a problem.
    Anyway, interesting to find someone as limited as I am. Plus I have one daughter with identical problem. Other daughter has allergies as well, just not all the same as mine. Its not an easy life to be sure. Plus an allergy to citric leaves me with less fruit than many as well …. Good luck to both of us. Please feel free to email if you wish to chat more. thanks

    • I have taken 2013 off from blogging, but I am planning to start up again in 2014. I do have much to update in regards to my nickel allergy. Currently my 5-year-old daughter has been dealing with a head-to-toe non-itching, not painful rash that has started to scab up after 8 consecutive wks – the rash appeared on 24 September 2013. She had yet another consult this week and we finally feel hopeful with this doctor’s plan and course of action.
      I hope you and your daughters are well!
      Much Love!
      Priscilla

  23. I too have a nickle allergy which is also contact allergy. I was given a test call the T.R.U.E. Test which is placed on the back it takes about 4 day to complete. Contact allergy is also in and on many things, here is a list my doctor gave me: zippers, keys, scissors, batteries, metal utensils, hand tools, magnets, buttons and snaps, chrome and brass, jewelry, metallic powders, eyeshadow, some white or 14-k gold jewelry, coins, watch bands, some bronze objects, pigments, some objects w/ white or 14-k gold, hair ornaments, knitting needles, eyeglasses. There is tons more and if not sure use cloth gloves or some type of other gloves to cover the hands. Or make sure that they have plastic handles on them.
    Now my problem is learning about the cookware I use, which is stainless cookware, it can leach out nickel too. So now I’m using cast iron, not sure about it, and glassware.
    Another problem is can foods, forget about them, use fresh or frozen or foods in jars. Can goods contain nickel in the cans.
    Also if some smoke know that they contain nickel, not sure how much.
    I just had my test about two weeks ago and I’m still learning my hands would get red, swell, itch with fluid-filled blisters and sometimes bleed so bad some days that I could not touch anything that included washing them. Oh yeah, let your tap water run some before drinking it. Nickel can build up overnight in the lines.
    In the last two weeks my hands feel and look about 90% clearer staying away from most of the thing I mentioned. It hard and flares can come back I know at any time but in the last 12 years i had no clue as to what my problem was. Now knowing some of my problems will be watching out and learning. Learn teach yourself that is the best way to find out for yourself. Good luck to all.

    • Hi, If you reply, please send it to my email. I too was just diagnosed with nickel allergy; what a surprise as I have gone through life for over 50 years with no such trouble. I was told verbally about what not to eat and things to avoid, but your list is more helplful., If you know of nickel free cooking utensils, I would apreciate hearing from you along with all your other good information. At times I just cry and quiver wondering what made this happen. Then I get on the computer and try to learn all the information possible. Prior to my testing two dermatologists wanted me to take Cellcept which is a drug for transplant surgeries; I refused as the results could be horrible. Hope you are doing better. Take care, Elaine

  24. I am also allergic to nickel. I had an T.R.U.E done almost two week and the doctors gave me a list of everything that had nickel in it. Not only do foods contain nickel but items such as zippers, key, scissors, batteries, ect., also foods in cans even down to some cookware (some stainless steel cookware). I was told to wear gloves on most metals I touched if I had no clue what it was made of. This also includes jewelry down to eyeshadows, metallic powders the list just keeps going. Also Check out you cookware it may leak nickel.

    THIS IS THE LIST THEY GAVE ME:

    Your T.R.U.E. TEST results indicate that you have a contact allergy to nickel. This contact allergy may cause your skin to react when it is exposed to this substance, although it may take several days for the symptoms to appear. Typical symptoms include redness, swelling, itching and fluid-filled blisters. Nickel is one of the most common metals in the modern environment, both at work and at home and reportedly causes more dermatitis than all other metals combined. Exposure to both metallic nickel (only after corrosion) and nickel salts may cause sensi- tization or the elicitation of an allergic response in a previously sensitized individual. The corrosive effects of human sweat, saliva and other body fluids on metallic nickel and nickel alloys being of primary importance.
    It is used in metal alloys, nickel plating,metal and chemical manufacturing, and the production of batteries and coins. Nickel is often used to coat other metals to give them a shiny metallic finish. Nickel is found on the sur- face of common metallic and metal plated items such as; metal jewelry, watchbands, keys, tools, equipment, scis- sors, kitchen utensils coins and clothing fasteners such as buttons, zippers and snaps and is occasionally found in eye cosmetics. While nickel is found in stainless steel, allergic reactions to products made with stainless steel (for example, dental and surgical instruments) are rare because typically only minimal amounts are released.
    Where is nickel found?
    At work, you may find nickel in or around:
    • Metal alloys
    • Welding and cutting
    • Copper-nickel tubing for salt water
    • Nickel plating
    • Machine parts
    • Metalworking fluids and oils
    • Chemical catalysts
    • Batteries
    • Aluminum electrical joint compounds
    • Dyes
    • Equipment
    • Insecticides
    • Orthodontic and dental appliances
    • Some bronze objects
    • Pigments
    • Some objects with white or 14-kt gold
    • Hair ornaments • Knitting needles • Eyeglasses
    At home, you may find nickel in or around:
    • Zippers
    • Keys
    • Scissors
    • Batteries
    • Metal utensils • Hand tools
    • Magnets
    • Buttons and snaps
    • Chrome and brass • Jewelry
    • Metallic powders • Eyeshadow
    • Some white or 14-kt gold jewelry
    • Coins
    • Watchbands

    Test yourself on some of these:
    Dietary exposure to nickel can provoke dermatitis in sensitized individuals. Foods reported to be high in nickel include: legumes; whole grain flour; oats; soybeans; shellfish; fish; asparagus, beans, mushrooms, onions, corn, spinach, tomatoes, peas, pears, all types of nuts, raisins, rhubarb, tea, cocoa, baking powder, cabbage, sprouts, all canned foods or foods cooked in nickel utensils, licorice; chocolate and potatoes. A recent study reported sys- temic contact dermatitis to nickel was also found in several complementary and alternative remedies (CAR), in- cluding preparations advertised to treat asthma, acne, atopic eczema, seborrhea and psoriasis. Herbal remedies, herbal teas and some OTC multi-vitamins have also been listed as sources of potential nickel exposure. Food containing nickel is generally not a problem but if you are severely allergic discuss with your physician about avoiding foods that are rich in nickel.

    How can you avoid nickel?
    • Minimize skin contact with nickel. Aluminum, yellow gold, silver and platinum are usually safe alternative metals.
    • Avoid wearing jewelry that may contain nickel.
    • Look for clothing with non-metallic zippers and fasteners.
    • Use scissors, kitchen utensils, combs and other metal items with plastic or wood handles.
    • Never wear earrings that are not guaranteed to be safe for nickel.
    • Select a watch with a controlled stainless steel back.
    • Metallic items that are difficult to avoid contact with such as door keys and doorknobs can be coated with several layers polyurethane lacquer.
    • Minimize wet work without protective clothing as moisture increases the penetration of nickel into the skin.
    • Only use products that do not list nickel or related chemicals on the label, ingredients list or Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). If there is no information, contact the product manufacturer.
    • If you think that you contact nickel at work, ask your employer for MSDS or manufacturer information on the product(s). Talk to your employer about using a different product or wearing protective gloves and clothing.
    • Inform your healthcare providers that you are allergic to nickel.
    • Wear protective gloves made of cotton when handling coins, tools or other metal items. Gloves made of disposable rubber or vinyl are also useful when handling metal objects.
    • Jewelry and other metal objects can be easily tested for the presence of nickel with a dimethylglyoxime test (sold as AllertestTM Ni). Available from Allerderm Laboratories, http://www.allerderm.com.
    • Tell your physician, pharmacist, dentist, beautician and hairdresser that you are allergic to nickel.
    What should you look for and avoid?*
    Avoid products that list any of the following names in the ingredients, MSDS or package insert.
    • Nickel sulfate (NiSO4) or nickel soluble salts; nickel (Ni); carbonyl nickel powder; nickel alloys; nickel-plating; elemental nickel; nickel catalyst
    You may also react to other metal substances that are present together with nickel:
    • Palladium
    • Chrome (or chromate)
    What are some products that may contain nickel?*
    • Alnox (Standard) Electrical Joint Compound
    • Orthodontic appliances
    • Metal costume jewelry, piercings, and hair ornaments
    • Some jewelry with white gold, 14-karat yellow gold, chrome, bronze, or brass
    • Some foods such as legumes, nuts, grains, fish, chocolate, potatoes (canned foods may be higher)
    • Cobalt
    • Metal tools, equipment, utensils and keys
    • Coins (U.S. nickels, 1-Euro and 2-Euro)
    • Metal fasteners including buttons, zippers, snaps, hooks, rivets, buckles, pins
    • Quikcrete® Color-Pak (colorant for cement and concrete)
    • Silver jewelry, decorative silver and silver-plated items

    What are some similar products that do NOT contain nickel?*
    • Plastic, gold (18k). • Select foods from a low-nickel diet; avoid canned
    • Titanium orthodontic materials and ceramic brackets
    foods (dietary changes do not help all patients)

  25. So happy I found this blog! I have a new client (I specialize in cooking for people with food allergies) with a nickel allergy. I do find food lists contradicting. That’s so frustrating. If I had a definite list of safe foods I could come up with great recipes… arg. was wondering… it seems most ‘dairy’ is on the safe list but do you have any opinion on cow versus goats milk?

  26. Hi, great blog! I am also gluten free, dairy free, egg free, just trying to lesrn ehat causes my eczema. I get it around my lips, and one eyelid and on my hands.. I have been juicing kale, spinach,beets, raw daily three times oer day.. Went to see a TCM and he said to stop immediately due to the ” high Oxalate” in the raw kale spinach and beetroot. It can cause eczema… So found it interesting that it is a gactor for nickel allergy.. My mum is allergic to nickel and I think I need a patch test.

  27. Hi, about 8yrs ago I was advised by a dermatologist to try a low nickel diet due to an untreatable eczema mess on my hands. It worked, in about a week my hands cleared. I maintained the diet for about 6 weeks and then slowly started re-introducing those foods I had eliminated. After that, any sign that I may get a breakout I just monitored foods for a couple of weeks.
    This has all worked until recently and I am about to remove as much as I can from my body. It has been 8years since a bad breakout though which is not too bad.
    I also read that cilantro is good for removing Nickel from the body so eating that may help and I am going to try.
    I noticed that oatmeal is not on your list to stay away from but it is fairly high in nickel from what I have read.
    I too have to live gluten free and yes it is really challenging when you have to avoid high nickel foods as well.
    Good luck in finding what works for you and thanks for sharing your information on this site!

  28. Thanks for your post. I also have Celiac, a nickel allergy and the same symptoms as you with my eyes! My symptoms seems to be much worse in the fall (I live in Ontario, Canada). Can you please tell me if you noticed a similar pattern? Thanks.

  29. Hi there – great blog and thanks for taking the time to produce it, Priscilla.

    My husband (getting allergy tested this week) has been diagnosed (by me 🙂 ) with a nickel allergy – due to the amazingly fierce flare-up he’s just had on his cheeks (right where he holds his mobile phone). It started with a tiny thing on his face and we couldn’t work out what is was, and then in the last week it got so much worse. He’s not an allergic type person. In 43 years the only thing he’s had is a rash behind his watch (years ago) and that, together with my wifely detective work, I’ve diagnosed him with the nickel allergy. He’s using a mobile phone quite a few years old (he’s tight and it’s a work phone so doesn’t want to outlay cash for another). I believe the iphone and Androids don’t contain nickel, so I’m trying to persuade him to get an iphone or similar. All the money we save on the foods we can’t eat will pay for it!

    I seriously cannot believe the list of foods that are the highest in nickel (yes, they are conflicting, but if Priscilla can have almonds and another lovely message-leaver cannot, then lists will always conflict. We’re in Australia and possibly the nickel content in other countries (or regions within our own countries) are less / more. I think this is one allergy foods list that will always conflict – being that nickel is in soils, etc.

    I totally agree with someone earlier who mentioned too much of one thing can be too much. Everything (if possible) in balance.

    For example – my husband is 6’2”, 74 kg (not sure what that is in pounds, but he’s trim) and the week before the great flare-up of 2013, he ate 1kg of chocolate…. We’re pretty healthy people (except for his chocolate intake) but that’s a lot! Even for him. He eats almonds, kale, spinach (heaps of) etc etc and so was a nickel magnet waiting to happen, really. Now we shall wait for the second opinion of an allergist….

    Good luck to everyone!

  30. PS…. I should say, since the flare-up, he’s not had any nuts, chocolate, beer, and we’ve been pretty severe on the low nickel diet and it’s cleared up amazingly! He still gets a little itch, but nothing to see. He’s always used Cetaphil gentle cleanser and moisturiser (including the SPF sunscreen) – if that helps anyone. I’ve bought the coconut oil specifically for him to use on his cheeks, but am a little hesitant. I’ve read it can cause flare-ups.

    • Hi again – just an update from my posts from 1/12…. Sean’s had his patch tests done – and nickel wasn’t amongst the allergies – but paraben mix was! So, he’s allergic to the sunscreen he was putting on his face, every day – Cetaphil 50+ sunscreen. We live in Australia and have to use sunscreen, but the list of ingredients that are in sunscreen is frightening. At least we know where we’re going now…. Good luck to everyone.

  31. Can you tell me more about the nickel/heavy metal detox?

    (I suffer from both eczema and stomach issues when I consume high nickel foods, this has been an undiagnosed issue for years and at this point I am so sensitive and there’s so little I can get away with eating, that a trip to the grocery store is usually enough to have me in tears.)

  32. I developed a nickel allergy this year after beginning to eat healthier and I would eat the same food bar that contained nuts and chocolate in it.
    I began with a rash on the eyes like your’s (except the peeling) which over the months began to spread to my face and then neck.
    I went to an allergist who diagnosed me with nickel allergy, but gave me a paper about all the items to avoid and none said food so I continued to eat that food bar and the rash continued to worsen.
    One day while baking Christmas cookies, I bit into some chocolate and my face became very hot and my lips tingled. I suddenly remembered that I had a similar reaction when eating that food bar the day before.
    I returned to the allergist, but saw a different MD in the office then the previous one. He explained about the nickel allergy in foods and that nuts and chocolate in that bar I was eating was high in it.
    I still eat my same foods, but I watch the amount.
    I detoxed and was “cured” of my rash when I became very sick in the spring and couldn’t eat much for a week.
    Ever since I’ve been careful of how much I eat in a week so I don’t “overdose” on nickel.
    I have read about the vitamin c and take it when I know I’m eating a food with nickel. It’s supposed to help absorb the nickel.
    I keep a bottle at home and a bottle at work. Reading people’s comments here, it seems some foods react differently for everybody in what flares them up or not.
    I usually know what foods to avoid as I’ll get that tingling sensation still.
    Good luck. There isn’t much out there about this allergy.

  33. Very informative. I’m also trying to control the rashes especially on my lips-on and off blisters. I’ve cut down on the NO list. With the limited amount of food, I’ve lost weight. Sometimes what is there to eat???? Now the rash is spreading to eye lids etc…Can I know how to detox??

  34. Hi! Thanks for the info, if that’s your eye on the picture and you suffer from fatigue, headaches and stomach problems, that black ring around your iris can be due to a lock of oxygen. I will check for that or for Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome. An iridologist helped me with my metal allergies, oxygen and stomach problems as well as my skin and fatigue problems. A pulmonologist prolonged my wellness. Best, Val

  35. I just had a patch test. I had one patch positive. My dr waiting a wk to finalize but now there r no marks just my hands are bad. I get very bad diarrhea which they think is from nickel

  36. I’ve just found out that I have this too. Ive always had skin problems but now have lady problems due to this. I cant believe how much nickel in food. I go back to hospital in a few days for more info.

  37. I have been dealing with a mystery rash for 20 years, last November I had a horrible rash on my eyes and face I swelled up so much I had to go to the ER because the swelling was causing breathing problems as the swelling was going into my sinuses. Two weeks later another incident this time I made it to the dermatologist he immediately said nickel allergy and gave me a steroid shot, it helped me greatly. Since then I have had constant flare ups and trips to the ER, only help I get is short term, shots and prednisone and of course the horrible side effects. I would like to know how you can stand to live with this allergy. I am in almost constant miserable pain and right now with dry winter air and indoor drying heat it is becoming unbearable. With the pain, the disgusting way I look and the safe foods to eat I am wondering if it is worth trying to deal with this, I just cannot find and relief. I currently and having the breakout on my face and upper chest, I cannot have any fabric touching my skin and laying down to sleep is not possible . Any additional info you could share would be hugely appreciated.

  38. Hi. Thank you for sharing. I’ve had a eczema on my chin for the last 15yrs or so and am just finally making the nickel connection. I’ve also noticed a metallic taste in my mouth of late, so am currently doing a metal detox…
    Have you found a replacement for dips and cream sauces? I am nuts, seeds, dairy,egg,soy, gluten, and corn free.
    Thank you again for sharing!

  39. I recently saw a mention of nickel allergy associated with corn. Corn should be off anyone’s list who is gluten intolerant as it is right up there along with milk, eggs and other most allergic foods. Has anyone gone in for a test by Cyrex called Array 4? It will tell you the foods you should not eat with more accuracy than other tests. Read about foods that are cross linked to gluten intolerance.

  40. Thank you for your blog! I too have been diagnosed this week with a nickel allergy. Last year I found out that I am gluten intolerant and I have been a vegetarian for 15 years. I am feeling severely restricted and have no idea where to begin. It does seem to be an unfair combination!

  41. I am allergic to gluten (genetic not celiac), corn (genetic), nickel, egg, dairy. Corn made my eyes swell, weep and peel like yours. Being from the south, grits and cornbread were staples until I realized what it was doing to me. Now if I get some, I have migraines and some skill issues. Many people are allergic to corn (and react to GMO corn) but don’t know it.

  42. My girlfriend has been dealing with the exact same issues as almost everyone here. She is a Celiac and has been going through over 8 months of torment trying to figure out what is causing her rashes. We tried everything from going complete organic, getting mold testing in the house, having our water… even buying a mattress cover (in case it was bed bugs… seriously!). She finally got patch testing and discovered bad reactions to Nickel, Cobalt and Rosin. We are in the process of removing many nickel related foods out of our diet and seeing if that improves things.

    I did have one question though about doing a heavy metal detox. Has anyong had any real success with Chlorella? I’ve taken it and spirulina before for detoxes, but I don’t know if that in conjunction with vitamin C would help.

    I wish everyone the best and good health. It’s kinda nice to know others are having this same issue.

  43. I’m highly allergic to nickel and foods containing nickel. I can only wear Platinum. I can not eat chocolate, drink tea, coffee, wine, eat canned salmon. I have to limit my kale also. I’m allergic to bananas also. My nickel allergy has gotten much worse over the years. I also use a water filter. Hope this helps.

  44. Any new info on nickel free make up?

  45. Wow, thanks so much for this site. I have been going crazy trying to figure out what is causing the EXACT same symptoms that you shared on this blog. I have changed my bedding, got a new washer and dryer, new clothes, almost everything. Now I’m realizing that somehow this is probably a nickel allergy. I had no idea foods contained nickel. I know not to wear a watch, because I know I’m allergic. I just can’t believe it is in some of the foods I eat. I will look more into the nickel detox myself to find out more.

    Is it by chance that it’s the oils from the skin that are getting secreted and that’s what is irritating the skin? And that’s why you washing your eyes at night helped a lot?

  46. Hello everyone

    I have ignored my nickel allergy for almost 10 years. Researching, often getting confused, doing many tests and paying for different products and specialists…After reading your stories i simply had to admit to myself that i suffer from this annoying and persistant allergy…Deep down i was hoping i would find something else and start from there…anything but not nickel…I am tired now and pretty much ready to get focus and start eliminating stuff slowly…
    Same as most of you, i have eye excema…it looks bad and it feels even worse….Itchy like hell…the worst thing is the damage i made with long term scratching and use of corticosteroids….
    I got wrinkles under my eyes which frustrate so much…
    I am writing from my mobile phone right now but i want to share couple of things which i think you may try yourself
    1. EYECARE COSMETIC do excellent nickel free cosmetic and also some good hygiene stuff for blepharitis/ eyelids…..please find it on the web…i found them on the web after long time
    search
    2. Very good cream for softening suffered dry skin around eyes
    Is BEPANTHEN…by Bayer..small tube designed only for eyes…i find it excellent as it is one of the rare creams which can go inside of the eye without irritation…

    so much from me for the time being…
    I hope i will have some updates soon ..when it comes to my diet..
    Take care
    JENNY

  47. The reason the lists contradict each other is because it depends on the region the foods are grown. For example, potatoes from Switzerland are low in nickel yet potatoes grown in the USA are high in nickel.

  48. I also suffer from nickel allergi, but the list I follow differs from what you have, not a lot. But still different. I react to pineapple, all nuts and seeds, avocado and and whole grain flours. But I can eat kale, broccoli, spinach and other greens with no problems.
    I puzzles me that the science differs so much from country to country…

  49. With all the “Nickel Allergy Lists” that doctors give to their patients, it amazes me that they ALL seem to leave out the most important and frightening issue of all: Medical Equipment such as Needles (IV or blood draw needles), etc….
    With over 600 Million people suffering from nickel allergies (that’s more than latex by far), I have yet to find a single needle manufacturer that uses nickel-free stainless steel needles. Yet, I see “latex-free” everywhere (in the USA).
    ** URGENT Question: I assume that nickel-free needles are more common in the European countries as they have very strict regulations on the use of nickel in various industries (they know increased contact leads to nickel allergy). If anyone can direct me to a nickel-free needle manufacturer, I’d really appreciate it. I have an infection that requires IV treatment and am unable to get treated until I find a nickel-free, latex-free, silicone-free needle (yes, needles can have all three and I’m allergic to all three) unfortunately. 🙁

    BTW – For those of you concerned about nickel in cookware, here’s some good news for a change: Some stainless steel cookware and utensils are nickel-free. Just avoid the ones labeled “18/10”. You might need to call manuf to determine the nickel content,but try looking on the box for the # “18/0” (the 2nd number “0” means zero-nickel).

    Cary
    Florida / USA

    • Priscilla (Admin) – Thank you for your post. Hope you’re feeling better.

      Will I receive email notifications if anyone replies to my comment? This would be most helpful given my medical / urgent need to find a nickel free IV needle manuf. Pls reply via email. Thank you. Cary

  50. Hi Priscilla,

    Thanks for all this information!! I have been suffering with extreme blisters covering my lips for 12 years. I have gone to many doctors who diagnosed this as cold sores and gave me valtrex. The outbreaks were awful but 3-4 times a year. In the last year, they started happening every six weeks. I finally learned from another dermatologist that I have contact dermatitis, after a biospy, and did a patch test to determine I was allergic to nickel. I then went to University of Penn Medicine because I developed a severe reaction and had an outbreak for two months. I had another biospy, contact dermatitis, and was tested for 80 products that may come in contact with my face or lips. I was not allergic to anything but nickel. I think was tested for 60 foods that might contain nickel on my arm. I showed no reaction. I then had 30 foods with a patch test and showed no reaction. What I am wondering is two things. Has anyone had these extreme white peeling skin that burns on their lips from a nickel allergy? Two, can the nickel reaction still come from the foods even though I do not test positive as allergic to them?

  51. Hi Priscilla! Thank you very much for sharing your experience. I am a vegan too and after having brackest put on my teeth I have discovered I am allergic to nickel (had to have them removed) and now it seems I cannot eat what I have been eating everyday: oats, raspberries, beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, green leaves, broccoli…
    What do you do for protein? And, as I don’t really want to eat white rice, is quinoa allowed?
    One thing. My rash gets much better putting aloe vera gel on it, if you want to try.
    Thank you so much for your help.

  52. I was diagnosed in December 2012 and have been learning ever since. I can’t eat chocolate, shellfish, nuts or soy without an immediate and painful reaction, mainly around my eyes. It has been a very painful learning curve. Especially when people treat me like a crazy person when I say I have a nickel allergy. I am glad to have stumbled upon your website to find another person like me.

  53. Reading your article has made me so angry at my dermatologists! I’ve had identical outbreaks around my eyes for years, and have never been told about nickel allergies. Also, I’ve been experiencing tiny blister outbreaks on my hands and feet, which after reading online, are also directly related to nickel (not athlete’s foot fungus like my doctor keeps telling me). Over the past year, my diet has become very healthy (mostly nuts, oats, soy products, veggies). I’ve lost a ton of weight, but I obviously must be overdosing on nickel, because I’m rashy and itchy all the time. Ointments and prescriptions have done nothing. Thanks for this article! I’m going to adjust my foods and see if it helps.

  54. This is very interesting to me. I have a three year old daughter who has suffered from many food allergies and intolerances. So far we have discovered that tree nuts, pineapple, tomatoes, wheat/gluten, and eggs are her main causes. I really struggle with this as I am raising my family vegetarian also. We are currently wondering if she has a nickel allergy as many of her foods contain nickel. She develops a red rash around her mouth when exposed to these foods (apart from nuts and eggs in which her face blows up to the extent that you can’t see her eyes). Currently the skin around her face has flared up again so this means there are more foods that she is unable to eat so back to the elimination process! It is excruciating at dinner times as preparing family dinners is so difficult, especially with the tomato as that use to be a base for many of our dishes. I am looking at taking her to a dietician as I am worried she is lacking in many vitamins and minerals but am worried they are going to go on about how she should be eating meat. Especially after reading that eating extra iron can help a nickel allergy. Do you have any tips or recipe pages that could possibly help me? I would be so appreciative as some days I feel like I am going insane trying to prepare food for the family. Lately she has also been quite emotional and grumpy as well, which is another indicator of a diet low in certain vitamins and minerals. And because she is only three I am unsure of any other discomforts for her as she may not be able to articulate these. I may look into a nickel test to confirm the allergy, but the test still does not help when trying to feed the family. Any suggestions from those who have a greater understanding of a nickel allergy would be gratefully accepted!

  55. My guitar playing son has been diagnosed with a nickel allergy and we have done everything to avoid nickel except change his diet and his strings are still a HUGE issue. Guitar strings contain nickel and he plays daily. I purchased cobalt strings only to discover he is allergic to that as well. I have done all kinds of research looking for nickel free strings and have not had any luck finding anything to work. I just purchased some bronze acoustic strings for my son’s electric guitar. After I do some research online about the strings to make sure they don’t have nickel we are going to test them with our testing kits anyway. Then we will see how they work and sound on his guitar.
    If anyone knows of any nickel free electric guitar strings please let me know! Next we will have to change out his fretts because those are always nickel as well. This guitar/nickel allergy stuff is expensive.
    tiselput@yadtel.net
    I think if I could get him away from the nickel guitar strings and fretts he would be in much better shape.
    He also has the skin around the eye issues and the rashes are mostly on his elbows and arms with some on his back. Interestingly the rashes have never gone below his waist…oh, I probably shouldn’t have said that…way to jinx it!

  56. I suffered with nickel allergy for more than a year before getting tested and realized my titanium-framed glasses were causing the eyelid eczema. At the advice of my doctor, who ordered all kinds of labs, I went gluten and dairy-free…but it wasn’t until a scientist/friend told me an unorthodox way of ridding my system of excess nickel that I experienced a cure and I have since been eczema-free and have absolutely no remaining intestinal issues. She showed me on the periodic chart the relationship of nickel to platinum and also palladium (white gold) and prescribed this daily regimen:
    Wear a piece of platinum (or white gold) jewelry (ring, necklace, bracelet) continuously, drink an alcoholic beverage, preferably a Margarita with a salt-rimmed glass (not sea salt) or have a glass of wine with a salty snack and then follow up with plenty of water to flush the system.
    Apparently the electrons or protons of the nickel in the presence of ethanol and sodium chloride and palladium match up and then the water flushes them from your system. I know it sounds ridiculous, but after a year on this regimen, I noticed that I no longer had rashes from wearing jeans with metal snaps and all eczema issues have resolved. Good luck!

  57. Dear Miss Priscilla,

    I have had swollen eyelids and swelling around my eye area for about a year now.
    Due to the swelling my vision is slightly impaired, I have been to so many doctors that do not know what is wrong with me. So, I went to an allergist that said I am allergic to nickel. I do not know if my eye problems have anything to due to my nickel allergy so I just started a low nickel diet. I am having the hardest time trying to find an omega fatty acid supplement and a fiber supplement. Due to my colon issues it is important that I have a high fiber diet. I have been taking a supplement that contains chia seed fiber, flaxseed fiber, coconut fiber, quinoa sprout, buckwheat sprout and etc.. I assume that since flaxseed, chia, buckwheat and etc.. are high in nickel that I cannot use this product anymore. I read that senna and physillum, which I spelled wrong contain nickel as well. I would appreciate any advice that anyone can give me. I am also not sure what kind of omega fatty acid supplement to take since they usually contain fish or flaxseed, sunflower seed, sesame seed, and oat bran oils, all containing nickel.

    Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely,

    Susanne.

  58. Ah! This is an awesome read! I just recently had the same eye flare up and it made me so upset. I am not a vegan (barely eat chicken and turkey) but I eat a lot of wheat.

    I just found out last night that my old dietary pills had nickel sulfate in it. My eyes aren’t so bad now but I’m just so worried it’s gonna come back. I do have facial piercings, and I’m planning on getting some nickel free jewerly.

    It’s kinda nice knowing that someone else went through what I did, I thought I was alone.

  59. I found this website looking up about Nickel reactions for my daughter, which has been very helpful, but what caught my eye was at the beginning you mention a ruptured disk on your spinal nerves, which can cause Cauda Equina Syndrome – a rare syndrome. I am recovering from CES, it has been a year. I would love to know if you also suffer from CES, and if so, how did it go for you.

  60. Interesting. I have slight eczema on my hands but it is my tongue which is the real problem. Starting about 6 months ago it swells, turns colors, and wrinkles on the edges. To clarify for everyone, the SOIL a food is grown hugely impacts the amount of nickel the food has, so one time you can eat corn and it’s fine, but the next ear will set off your allergy. Spinach actually makes my tongue blister! Coffee, tea, chocolate, nuts are off the list, as are all the foods in the kale (its almost as bad as spinach) family. I can no longer drink my own tap water and have found only one type of bottled spring water in my local store which doesn’t set me off too badly. Avoid everything which has been through stainless steel (years ago I had my gallbladder out and the surgeon was shocked when my body kicked out all the staples within 2 days – I now know that surgical steel has nickel in it). Do NOT get a hip or knee or any sort of implant without being tested for it first.
    By the way I am surprised to see dandelion on the list of nickel foods. In research studies it and cilantro have been the 2 best foods for chelating nickel from the body. I am in the process of making my own dandelion teas to make sure nothing touches metal during the process. Btw there are good research studies out there, such as this one (also look at the cited studies for more info): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3667300/

  61. So what pans and utensils can you use?

  62. Thanks so much for the food lists and telling your story! My girls and I all have nickel allergy., however no one ever told us about the foods. We noticed the allergy was effecting my teenage daughter more so than just earrings due to her belt buckle and little buckles on her bras, she was breaking out in rashes in these areas. We also have been seeing specialist for her stomach issues….this is where your food list hit us!!! Her stomach issues can be caused from her high intake of salads, beans & fruits as she eats a very healthy diet.
    Thanks so very much

  63. HI I tumbled on to your website and have a nickel allergy, no longer wear my wedding ring and just now have developed the eye rash…I wake crusty and irritated (physically and mentally). A friend of mine is selling something from one of those MLM lines and has really amazing results. I was curious if you have every tried something like that an seen any benefits. I ask because I’m ready to try anything even if it’s over $100…cheers!

  64. My food trigger is chocolate; cheap jewelry, of course, is also off the table. I’ve found I can’t eat Hershey chocolate products….one M&M will trigger my rash, but I can tolerate other brands of chocolate in moderation. It took several years for my diagnosis; since then I’ve been diagnosed w/other allergies- wool alcohol, carba mix, milk, eggs, dogs, cats, peanuts, & several kinds of mold. It’s challenging, to say the least. Thanks so much for sharing your journey.

  65. Hi there,
    Not sure if this blog is still active or not. Have you found any nickel free cook books or recipes that you can share? Or any sample menu plans for a nickel free diet? Thanks!

  66. For years I’ve suffered from itchy, cracking, peeling red eyelids. Then a 3″ leg rash that refused to away so I went to yet another dermotologist who sent me for a skin test. I tested positive for nickel/cobalt/gold allergy.

    I had a drawer full of ointments without much success. For the stubborn leg rash, I was prescribed clobetasol propionate. It cleared up immediatley and did not return. I was told to use very little and sparingly around my eyes since it can thin your skin. I use a very small dab every 3 months. For 20 years I lived with the red rash around my eyes. This gives me a good break even though I probably shouldn’t use it.

    I’m a vegetarian also and was more concerned not getting enough B12 because multivitamins gives me headaches. (B12 is cobalt) I can’t imagine having to give up that entire Nickel list, but I will see if I can find which foods trigger my allergy.

  67. I also have a nickel allergy which has led to a long search for alternative foods. One of the things I did was to go to a nutritionist to discuss the nickel content of foods, and she had a tidbit of information which explained why certain nickel rich foods are ok (broccoli for eg.) and gave a clue as to how to broaden my food.

    Apparently, both nickel and iron are transported across the cell membrane via the same mechanism. Since our need for iron is much higher than our need for nickel, given the choice of both minerals, our bodies excrete the nickel and absorb the iron. The reason vitamin C helps, is that it increases the iron absorption. Given this, if you eat nickel rich foods sparingly in combination with iron rich foods and vitamin C, you may be able find you are able to eat some of the foods you love in moderation. Nuts and seeds, however, are a definite no go.

    I also find that the time of year makes a huge difference to how badly I react. My reaction is definitely at its worst from April through October.

  68. I think this is one of the most important information for me.
    Andd i’m glad reading your article. But wanna remark on some geeneral things,
    The website style is wonderful, the articles is really nice : D.
    Good job, cheers

  69. Pingback: Nickel Allergy JewelryTinySide.com | TinySide.com

  70. I stumbled on this post while researching for a friend who is experiencing similar rash/ flare up issues around her eyes and recently diagnosed with a nickel allergy. Some of the research I’m finding relates to a healthy gut micro biome, allergies, and probiotics. Here’s a paper that addresses nickel allergy specifically and a link to general info about gut micro biome & health for anyone interested:)
    http://www.microbiomeinstitute.org/blog/2014/12/4/treating-severe-nickel-allergies-with-probiotics
    http://www.npr.org/2014/04/14/302899093/modern-medicine-may-not-be-doing-your-microbiome-any-favors

  71. Thank you so much for your article and sharing your story. We just got the diagnosis last Friday last my 5 year old has a significant nickel allergy. She had severe reflux with breast milk, prescribed and OTC formulas from birth til about 6-7 months. We decided to switch her to whole milk and solid foods at 6 months. The reflux began to diminish, but then the skin (especially under her eyes). She has suffered with skin disorders (rashes, dermatitis, eczema, MRSA) since birth. The rashes have worsened in the past few years, and we were not getting results from doctors or specialists. The rash has been the worse on the backs of her legs. She scratches constantly, and I believe this discomfort has lead to her behavioral issues and lack of focus. Last January I made the decision to put her on a Gluten Free diet. She really embraced this new way of eating, and we have been able to get her other family members, friends, and teachers on board. She got better, but the rash has never completely healed. She gets flair-ups every few weeks. We began seeing the allergist about 2 months ago, and I feel that this has been the best coarse of action so far. We’ve started getting answers to our questions, but as I mentioned the patch test has now revealed the nickel allergy. They believe that this has been the source of all her issues for the past 5 years.

    Happy to know what’s been causing her rashes and discomfort, I now have to strip her diet of high nickel foods. Which she has grown to LOVE since taking the gluten items away a year ago. She’s been advised to continue the GF diet as well as a Nickel Free diet. I need to focus on the foods she can eat, rather than the foods she can’t, but that’s proving to be difficult. Since I’m new to this diagnosis, I’ve been researching websites and trying to come up with kid-friendly gluten free, nickel free menus. Any input would be greatly appreciated. So far what I’ve read on this sight sounds exactly like my daughters symptoms.

  72. I will be following your posts. I’ve been battling chronic conjunctivitis and rosacea in the eyes for 2 yrs. Finally my eye specialist sent me to a dermatologist, who ran the 5 day allergy patch test. The tests came up showing my severe allergy to nickel. I’d known I responded to some jewelry and had some kind of nickel response, but never knew how severe my response actually has been. So now I’m looking at all the implications of what this means (diet, habits, jewelry, daily routines).
    I really may have a difficult time giving up the greens. We work so hard to bring greens into our diet. Right now I am doing a heavy metal detox. And I’m working hard to avoid touching my face so much, washing 15-20 times daily, and changing out my makeup for healthier brands. My hair is pretty gray, and I’ve been coloring it. Now I’m working on finding hair products that will be healthier too.
    I had knee surgery last year. And I fully anticipate that someday doctors will recommend knee replacement. I don’t know what I will do at that point.
    God help us!

  73. I have just been diagnosed with nickel poisoning eczema…and it is horrible. I have moved to an apt. bldg, so my water is questionable, but I filter it with a carbon filter…but..as it goes on, I boil water in a stainless steel pot to make a gallon of green tea…I drink two glasses a day…I thought that would be good for me, but as I have investigated into this, I see that green tea is very high in nickel and black tea is too but nowhere near the amount in the green version. I wonder does boiling the water in the stainless steel pot also re-introduce the nickel into the filtered water? I’m stopping the green tea…oh well EKGC or what ever it is, and am going to have one glass of black tea instead of my usual regiment. I also will use a glass microwave pot to bring the water to boiling to make the tea, because I don’t know about the nickel from the pot.
    Wow…all the foods that I have been eating, that are so-o-o good for you have a lot of nickel in them….bummer. I am new at this…. it was real shocking to find out that I was actually diagnosed of having nickel poisoning….wow.
    Your article was very informative and I thank you for all the info….I’ve got to find out more..any suggestions of finding a list the levels of nickel in the different foods so that I can modify my diet?
    Thanks so much, ConiMans

  74. I tested positive to a patch test for nickle. But I can wear nickle without a direct contact reaction. But I get eczema like patches everywhere. I wonder if it’s possible to not react to nickle that touches the skin, but react to ingested nickle thus causing the skin reaction….

  75. I have had contact dermatitis on my lip for over a year. I have been to several doctors. incorrectly dx and given medicine that did nothing but cause more problems.
    I had my dental implants removed and replaced (not to my liking) and the dentist had to put metal posts back in to support my bridge. She told me it wouldn’t effect me. my gums are receding away exposing the metal already. my lip is very angry right now. I do not know what to do. I was tested and I am allergic to nickel colbalt and gold. so yeah YAY ME. and both my daughters have Celiac. and one of them also has Type 1 diabetes.

  76. Thank you for blogging! This is very helpful info. I just found out about my nickel allergy 2 days ago… It’s a little overwhelming including my intolerance to dairy and 4 other allergies I have with different ingredients.

  77. Stumbled across this!! I just had the skin patch allery test from my derm. Guess what??! I’m allergic to nickel and gold! AND, guess what???!!! I have battled eye dermitis/eczema for years…with no way of knowing what triggers it. I’m just in awe that others have the same issue. It’s finally learning that there’s a real connection and link and feeling empowered that maybe I can control this. Such a relief. I too am mostly vegan. Not easy…just lots of educating and planning for food.

  78. Very well said. I was diagnosed with an acute nickel allergy 5 years ago. I am still learning, but I must say, it does get easier as you go along. I will include a few things that might help you and/or others to know.

    First, each person will react differently to given foods. For example, you mentioned that you can have asparagus. Oh, how I miss asparagus. I can’t touch it anymore, I’m afraid. On the other hand, I can have almost as many pecans as I want, despite the fact that they say they are high in nickel.

    Secondly, the same food grown in one part of the world may be perfectly safe for you, while grown in another part of the world will cause a sever outbreak. The best answer to this conundrum is simply that the soils in the respective regions contain less or more nickel, causing the plants to glean more of it from the soil.

    The best thing any of us can do (which you stated very clearly, by the way) is to introduce 1 potentially “dangerous” food back into your diet at a time to see how you will react. Never try to base it on what works for someone else.

    Thanks so much for sharing you journey with all of us. It’s always nice to know you’re not alone when battling something like this.

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