Connection Between Autoimmune Diseases and Jewelry | Tini Lux

Connection Between Autoimmune Diseases and Jewelry

By Jacqueline Burke
I started working on Tini Lux in 2017 because I was fed up with the lack of jewelry options for people with sensitive skin. I had not worn earrings in years because even the ones labeled "hypoallergenic" caused terrible reactions. I commiserated about this with many other people who said the same thing, that earrings caused painful reactions so they either gave up wearing them or only wore them for short time periods. 
Through my research at the time, I learned that I (like others that complained about reactions from earrings) had developed a contact allergy to the metals used in other jewelry. I also learned that more than 20% of people are allergic to nickel alone, not to mention all the other reactive metals that can cause allergies. 
What I didn't know then, but am now fascinated by, is that autoimmune diseases also have a connection to metal sensitivities. I learned about the link between autoimmune diseases and metal sensitivity through a customer who has Lupus. She was actually able to wear Tini Lux safely with no reaction - it was the first time she had worn jewelry in years! Since then, I have done some more research into this topic and wanted to share some of the studies about autoimmune diseases and metal jewelry.  I included references at the end of the article if you are interested in learning more about this topic. 
Autoimmune diseases result from a dysfunction of the immune system. The immune system protects you from disease and infection. Sometimes, though, the immune system can produce autoantibodies that attack healthy cells, tissues, and organs. This can lead to autoimmune disease. The cause of these diseases is unknown. (Source: NIH)
The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that that there are now over 80 recognized autoimmune diseases, with some of the most common being diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease.
In the US, there are more than 23 million people that are afflicted by these conditions, and they are more common in women. Additionally, the number of people suffering from autoimmune disease is increasing. Concurrently, the use of devices containing metal is likewise increasing.
In research done by the University of Stockholm, they found that more than 79% of patients with an autoimmune disorder reacted to the presence of metals (versus 18% of healthy patients).  With a metal allergy, the immune systems overacts to an allergen, however, with an autoimmune response to metal, tissue destruction actually occurs. 
The presence of metal can actually be a trigger for many autoimmune diseases. Generally, in cases of both allergic reactions to metal and autoimmune reactions to metal, the adverse reaction typically goes away when the offending allergen is taken away.  Because of this, it is typically not possible to people with autoimmune diseases to wear metal jewelry. Jewelry companies tend to be misleading at best about the metals that are in their jewelry. Oftentimes they claim their jewelry is "hypoallergenic," other times they go as far as to say they use titanium when it is actually an alloy or another metal altogether. That has lead to a lot of mistrust from people who have to be very careful about what they put on their body. 
Since reactions typically go away when the offending substance is removed, in the case of jewelry, if someone stops wearing it then their reaction will stop. The idea that someone would have to give up wearing jewelry on top of already struggling with everything else that comes along with an autoimmune disease is really disheartening to me. It may be just a small thing to some, but to others it can brighten up their whole day.
At Tini Lux we are very transparent about the metal we are using in our jewelry. Our earrings are made with pure, medical grade titanium. Pure titanium is considered a biocompatible metal (one that can coexist peacefully with the human body). Because we use pure titanium that is not alloyed with other potentially harmful metals, our jewelry can actually be worn by people with autoimmune diseases. As I said in the beginning, I was not aware of this when I started Tini Lux but I am so excited that it has been brought to my attention and so happy that I have been able to bring some joy to people that really deserve it.
The Smart Choice
Research Gate


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

E P 12/5/2022

I take offense with your statement that your jewelry is safe for people with allergies because it is made with titanium. I just recently had to undergo a second painful surgery on my foot to remove titanium screws because I developed a severe blistering rash on my foot where titanium screws were implanted. Tests revealed that I am allergic to titanium. I have never had such a reaction to silver or gold. I have been wearing silver jewelry 24/7 for years with no complications whatsoever. Yet, the titanium rash became evident within months and spread rapidly. I, too, cannot wear costume jewelry, but titanium is not the answer for people like me.

Unless you can prove that no one is allergic to your product, you should not advertise it as safe for those with metal allergies.

Chris 4/13/2020

How long after removing the jewelry does the immune system start to calm down?

Shop the Most Comfortable Earrings You'll Ever Own