For those with a nickel allergy, the best way to avoid allergic reactions is not to let objects containing nickel touch the skin. However, it can be pretty challenging since nickel is pretty widespread, and you can run into many daily items made of this substance.
Shaving, in particular, is one aspect of life in which many of us find no pleasure. Is this the same case for nickel-allergic individuals, or even worse? And do razors have nickel in them?
Do Razors Have Nickel In Them?
Yes, razors and shavers contain a small amount of nickel in the shaving foil, blade, and sometimes the plating.
Despite the limited percentage of nickel in these razors and shavers, it still can lead to NACD and nickel allergy to nickel-sensitive individuals.
Although nickel-free stainless steel still can be made, it is not a viable material for razors. If there is no nickel in the steel, a durable sharp edge cannot be achieved.
There is a trace of nickel used in making foil shaving elements of most electric shavers. A case study pointed out that the wearing action that the cutters generate against the shaving foil can release pure nickel particles, which eventually results in allergic nickel dermatitis.
Stainless steel blades
Most stainless steel blades contain a certain percentage of nickel (though very low). This substance helps the steel blades be more resistant to corrosion, and the sharp edge can last for longer.
The amount of nickel used to improve the corrosion-resistant property for stainless steel can be anywhere from 1% to 10% or even higher.
Nickel is often the material of choice for plating vintage razors. Old Gillettes, for example, are nickel-plated.
This material provides a pretty similar look as rhodium but is significantly more affordable. It requires minimal upkeep, too. So if you’re sensitive to nickel, stay away from nickel-plated razors.
What Is Nickel Allergy?
A nickel allergy is when the immune system responds adversely if the body comes into contact with a nickel item. It can be jewelry, coins, eyeglass frames, belt buckles, zippers, cell phones, etc. Nickel also presents low levels in certain foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and grains.
The immune system is typically responsible for defending against intrusive, detrimental substances like bacteria and viruses to prevent diseases and illnesses. For individuals with nickel sensitivity or allergy, their immune systems also consider nickel a harmful substance and react by generating chemicals to fight it off. It results in an allergic reaction.
Nickel allergy is one of the most common allergies. It is estimated that up to 16% of women and 3% of men suffer from this annoying issue. Nickel-allergic symptoms are pretty noticeable, ranging from skin rash and bumps, dryness, redness (or changing color in the affected skin areas), itching, scaling, and, even worse, blisters.
Nickel Allergy Signs And Symptoms
Here are some reactions that you can notice if you’re allergic to nickel while shaving:
- Itchy skin rash or bumps.
- Redness and/or skin color changing.
- Patches of dry skin that look like a burn.
- In severe allergic reactions, blisters and draining fluid might appear.
- Bumps resembling bug bites emerge right after shaving, which can be itchy and painful.
- These bumps also make their way to other skin areas instead of receding after you stop shaving.
- Usually, uncomfortable, painful itching can feel right beneath the skin once your hair begins to grow again.
Allergic contact dermatitis typically appears within hours to days of nickel exposure. You might experience these symptoms for 2 weeks to a month. Normally, these reactions only show up in the area that came into contact with the metal, but sometimes even at different places of the body.
Those with severe nickel allergy can experience blisters within minutes after the nickel comes into contact with their skin. Even the negligible amount of nickel released by the razors is still intolerable to their skin conditions.
In this case, it’s best to seek medical advice from a doctor before using any shaving tools.
Shaving Alternatives For Nickel-Allergic People
Titanium-coated stainless steel blades
These blades are still made of stainless steel (and nickel), but the titanium coating acts as a barrier between your skin and the metal blade.
As a result, the nickel inside won’t affect your skin as long as the coat remains intact. The titanium also helps the blades retain the sharpness and edge for longer.
Yet, before opting for these blades, make sure you do not suffer from titanium allergy, too. We also recommend applying argan oil under the layer of gel or shaving cream to create another barrier for your skin against the sharp metal blades.
It’s worth mentioning that this titanium coating will eventually wear down over time, and the protective effects will also be gone. As a result, it pays to change the blades regularly unless you want to risk any allergic reactions.
Preserve is one of the biggest brands of titanium-coated razor blades available. The manufacturer claims that the amount of nickel in their products is inconsiderable to keep nickel-allergic users safe.
This small amount, coupled with the titanium layers, makes nickel allergy not a concern as long as you don’t wear the blade down to the core. Most nickel-sensitive users reported no reactions using Preserve blades.
Schick also provides titanium-coated blades to keep irritation to a minimum. They are widely available, so it’s an excellent place to start if you want to experiment with titanium-coated blades.
Quattro Titanium Sensitive razor from Wilkinson Sword has a titanium coating for a smooth and irritation-free shave. The titanium also keeps the blade’s strength and sharpness for an extended period.
In addition, there is a lubricating strip infused with Vitamin E, Aloe Vera, and ProB-5 to help the blade glide more smoothly across the skin, thus reducing friction and irritation.
For a close and clean shave, the blades are also equipped with rubber fins (not metal, so there is no nickel here) to raise the facial hair for the blades to capture easily later.
SuperMax double blades should be among the top-shelf blades for those diagnosed with nickel allergy.
You can benefit from an incredibly smooth, sharp edge that easily slices through the whiskers. The blades also perform well for challenging areas like the jawline and chin.
Besides, the floating shaving head conforms to the facial contours and angles for a clean, close shave without much effort on your part.
Nickel-free electric razors and shavers
Panasonic ES3831K single blade travel shaver
Labeled as nickel-free, this affordable travel shaver offers you an irritation-free shave both at home and on the go.
This shaver comes with a precision-angled (78 degrees) blade to slice off any hair at the skin level for a close shave. The blade is made of stainless steel yet hypoallergenic, so it’s safe for sensitive skin in general.
The shaver runs an 8,500 rpm motor, which provides reasonable power for traveling purposes. Most users noted that wet shaving with this shaver, with the help of shaving cream or gel, is incredibly pleasing. However, if you’re pressed for time and only want a quick touch-up, you can choose to dry shave.
This Panasonic comes with a compact, contoured design for a nice fit in hand for the user’s convenience. Furthermore, the sure-touch design with the large on/off button on the facade ensures that you can easily activate/deactivate this shaver, even with a wet, soapy hand.
Wahl bump-free rechargeable foil shaver – 7339-300
This Wahl model comes with advanced foil technology and a hypoallergenic titanium-coated foil to provide a protective layer between your sensitive skin and nickel in the blade.
You are saved from bumps and irritations associated with nickel exposure, thanks to the coating. The foils also do an excellent job of dealing with curly hair so that there is a lower chance of it becoming ingrown.
Finally, thanks to the integrated pop-up trimmer, you can easily touch up those hard-to-access spots like necklines and sideburns.
Like the Panasonic shavers, this model is also very travel-friendly. The battery provides up to 60 minutes for running time, so you won’t find yourself running out of juice very often on the go. The travel lock is especially helpful when carrying this shaver around in your bags without accidental activation.
How To Test Nickel In Your Razors?
Any shaver, razor, or metal product might have nickel in them, so making sure what will come into contact with your skin is nickel-free is crucial if you’re nickel-allergic.
To test nickel presence in a specific item, soak cotton buds with a few drops of dimethylglyoxime and then rub it on the metal parts of your razor. The buds will turn pink if the solution detects nickel.
Other alternatives for testing nickel are Nickel Alert, SQUARIX Nickel Test Sensitive,…
Nickel is one of the most common allergens, and if you’re struggling with a nickel allergy, it’s crucial to pay special care to what you use daily, including your shaving and grooming products.
Do razors have nickel in them? The answer is yes for most razors and stainless steel blades, and while their percentage is relatively insubstantial, it’s still enough to trigger reactions.
You can choose to use titanium-coated blades and foils to avoid nickel exposure and reduce symptoms and keep in mind to change them regularly.
For those with severe nickel allergies, make sure to test the presence of nickel and consult a doctor before using a razor.
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