• By Vivien Williams

Mayo Clinic Minute: Wedding ring rash

May 31, 2019

Wedding rings are a symbol of love and unity. They also can be a source of an itchy, red rash. But does this mean you have to remove your ring?

Dr. Dawn Davis, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist, says wedding ring rashes are common, and may be a sign of an allergy. But in many cases, the rash is the result of another, easily treatable issue.

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"Wedding ring dermatitis sounds like a term that somebody would develop on their fourth finger from a prominent piece of jewelry because they're allergic to the metal," Dr. Davis says.

That may happen, but Dr. Davis adds that most cases are caused by something else.

"Wedding ring dermatitis was nicknamed simply because it was found most often when people were wearing wedding rings. And what that is is not an allergic sensitivity to the components of your jewelry, but rather, if you don't wash properly under the ring, you can get an irritant contact dermatitis from simply the accumulation of soap residue or, for example, sweat and dirt under your ring," Dr. Davis says.

It happens frequently to people who wash their hands a lot.

"Some people will be in a hurry to wash, and won't get enough water when they rinse under their ring. And, so, dirt and sweat, and soap residue, can get stuck under your ring. And then what happens is over time is that it becomes an irritant to the skin, and you develop an eczema reaction," Dr. Davis says.

The solution? Be sure to wash, rinse and dry thoroughly under your rings. If that doesn't help, talk to your health care provider.

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