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Sometimes, after wearing jewelry, the skin acquires a characteristic greenish hue that may appear as a reaction only to a certain types of jewelry. This is most obvious in costume jewelry that most commonly causes changes in color on the affected skin patches. This discoloration is not an allergic reaction and it is not harmful. The real cause of this change lays in the skin oxidizing cooper.


Oxidation is a chemical reaction of a substance with oxygen. In skin oxidation, oxygen from the skin and copper from the jewelry react together. The oxidation of copper, and the corresponding greening of the skin, will be even more emphasized if the body temperature is high, such as, during the dynamic exercise. Body sweats during the intense physical activity and acidity from the sweat increases oxidation of copper and helps spreading the green blur on the skin.


Oxidation is most common if people wear costume jewelry. This happens because costume jewelry is usually crafted, partly or wholly, from copper. Silver and gold jewelry may also trigger the oxidation process if they are not completely pure and 100% made of silver or gold.

Most of the silver available today is 925 silver. “Nine-two-five silver” actually means that a silver item is made from 92.5% of silver. The rest 7.5% is made from some other material that has the ability to strengthen the silver. Copper is most commonly used to add strength to this soft material. If the skin becomes green after wearing a jewelry item made of silver or gold, it does not have to be that the item has no value at all. Adding less precious metal to silver is a necessary to shape fine decorative pieces of jewelry. Cheep jewelry is commonly made of copper or nickel, that makes it look attractive but it is highly disposed to oxidation.

Skin blemish

Green skin blemish is harmless and there is nothing to worry about. However, if it is accompanied with redness of the skin, it may pin point to an allergic reaction. If this happens, it is advisable to stop wearing the jewelry item.

If the skin turns green due to the oxidizing with copper it will disappear as soon as one takes it off. However, if one wishes to wear the jewelry again the simplest solution would be to put a nail polish on to the surface that touches the skin. Nail polish will harden and form a solid barrier that prevents the oxidation. On the other hand, putting nail polish onto silver or golden items is not advisable.

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