Why does copper or brass turn your skin green?

Have you every worn a piece of jewelry, like a brass ring, and noticed a greened ring around your finger? Not to worry, this is a normal reaction and is not harmful. It also does not mean that you have cheap jewelry. In this article I'll go over why this happens and how to prevent it.

In my article about copper and brass jewelry, I go into detail on what copper and brass metals we use at SPJ, why, and some general care tips. If you want to read more on that, visit the blog article here. This understanding of the metals themselves provides more information on why certain metals may react

Where does the green come from?

Copper, which is the main component in brass, is the main culprit of why you may see any green on your skin from wearing copper or brass jewelry. This metal reacts to the environment and creates a reaction that is then left on your skin. Moisture such as humidity, sweat, and beauty products like lotion causes the metal to react. The best example of this reaction is the Statue of Liberty, which is made of copper and around a moist/wet environment. The same can happen with your jewelry.

At home prevention

Keep your jewelry dry. Don't wear your pieces in any body of water or when showering. Generally, the same tips and rules for sterling silver jewelry also apply to copper and brass. When not wearing your jewelry, store your pieces somewhere without any humidity and in a dry place. If your jewelry does become wet, thoroughly dry it with a microfiber cloth.

What SPJ does for prevention

For all copper and brass dangle earrings with SPJ, we only use Surgical Steel ear wires which are not reactive and generally hypoallergenic.

For all copper and brass stud earrings, we only use sterling silver (also known as .925) posts. This means a small amount of the copper or brass may touch your ear lobes.

All SPJ copper and brass pieces are finished with a micro-crystalline wax polish. This helps prevent tarnish and also provides a barrier between the metal and your skin.

If you find that your jewelry is leaving behind that green effect, you can coat the part that touches your skin with clear nail polish.

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