Treatment

There's no cure for nickel allergy. Once you develop a sensitivity to nickel, you'll develop a rash (contact dermatitis) whenever you come into contact with the metal.

Medications

Your doctor may prescribe one of the following medications to reduce irritation and improve the condition of a rash from a nickel allergy reaction:

  • Corticosteroid cream, such as clobetasol (Clobex, Cormax, others) and betamethasone dipropionate (Diprolene). Long-term use of these can lead to skin thinning.
  • Nonsteroidal creams, such as pimecrolimus (Elidel) and tacrolimus (Protopic). The most common side effect is temporary stinging at the application site.
  • Oral corticosteroid, such as prednisone, if the reaction is severe or a rash covers a large area. These drugs can cause a host of side effects, including weight gain, mood swings and increased blood pressure.
  • Oral antihistamine, such as fexofenadine (Allegra) and cetirizine (Zyrtec), for relief of itching. However, these may not be very effective for skin itching.

Phototherapy

This treatment involves exposing your skin to controlled amounts of artificial ultraviolet light. It's generally reserved for people who haven't gotten better with topical or oral steroids. It can take months for phototherapy to have an effect on a nickel allergy reaction.