Do You Have a Cell Phone Allergy?

Is your face red, itchy and scaly? Don’t blame it on your cosmetics. It could be your cell phone. With so many people using cell phones these days, cell phone allergy is becoming more common. Most people don’t realize that cell phones can trigger allergic reactions. Why would this be?

Cell Phone Allergy: What Causes It?

Most cell phones contain nickel, a metal that many people are allergic to. If you’re allergic to nickel, you may experience symptoms of contact dermatitis such as scaly skin patches and redness along with intense itching. Most people blame it on a new skin or cosmetic product they’re using, never realizing it’s coming from the nickel in their cell phone.

Why Are so Many People Allergic to Nickel?

Nickel allergies are more common in women with up to one in five women being affected. The number of people with allergy to nickel has risen in this country over the last few decades because of repeated exposure to the metal from body piercings and cell phones.

Repeated exposure to nickel over time causes the body to become “sensitized” to it, which leads to the symptoms of nickel allergy. Other sources of nickel exposure are jewelry, eyeglass frames, belt buckles, coins, watchbands, keys and dental appliances such as fillings and braces.

What Can You Do About a Cell Phone Allergy?

Few people are willing to give up their cell phone. If you believe you’re allergic to nickel, choose a cell phone that doesn’t have a metal casing, or place a protective plastic coating over the metal so it doesn’t touch your skin. Nickel allergies don’t go away and repeated exposure to nickel will only sensitize the skin more and worsen the symptoms. If you’re allergic to nickel, avoid sources of this metal too. If you believe you’re allergic to nickel, you can purchase a test kit online that detects whether there’s nickel in the products you use. These tests are easy-to-use and reasonably priced.

Cell Phone Allergy: The Bottom Line?

If you have a scaly, itchy face and use a cell phone, you could be allergic to nickel. See an allergist and get tested.


Medical News Today. “Allergies Commonly Caused by Cell Phones, Tattoos, Body Piercings and Cosmetics”. “Nickel Allergies: Implications for Practice”.

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