Ear piercing is very popular these days, this has been influenced a lot thanks to changing fashion statements. Ear piercing is expected to get much more popular. Atopic eczema has also become very common but very few studies have dealt with the idea that ear piercing itself could be responsible for causing eczema.
Ear piercing involves putting a hole in your ear and then putting a piece of metal through it. This leads to contact with heavy metals like nickel and cobalt. It is strictly advisable to do the piercing under perfectly hygienic conditions. Even after the piercing is finished, there are some precautions that you should follow.
Atopic eczema is triggered by certain allergens in affected people. An exposure to a certain material could trigger eczema, could a metal such as nickel trigger eczema?
Scientists have researched whether nickel can cause a trigger for atopic eczema. In an experiment on 960 young girls it is found that around 13% of those who got their ears pierced, went on to develop allergic skin reactions. Of the same sample, only 1% of those who did not get their ears pierced had eczema. Similarly, in an study on 520 young Swedish men doing compulsory military service, it is found that hypersensitivity to nickel and cobalt is higher (in 8% men) among those who got piercing. In contrast only 2.7% of those who did not get their ear pierced developed eczema. In another study on 424 Norwegian schoolchildren aged between 7-12 years, 89 children had their ears pierced and 79 developed skin allergies to metallic jewellery, which is a whopping 88% of those who had their ears pierced! These studies statistically relate ear piercing consisting of nickel and cobalt to atopic eczema, and establish the metals as allergens to a significant percentage of the population.