“The Ring of Fire”- aka Wedding Ring Dermatitis

The wedding ring, a well-know and famously recognized symbol of love, has a long and  wide-spread history that dates back to ancient Egyptian time.  Made out of a variety of metals, rings have come to be a symbol of unity for many people.  It’s an unbroken circle that represents eternity and just like time, it has no beginning or end.  It is traditionally worn on the third finger of the left hand, because it is believed that the vein of that finger travels directly to the heart.

Despite the historical background of the wedding ring, there are many reasons as to why a spouse may not wear one.  Take for instance an allergic reaction or skin irritation…..such as the one I recently experienced.  Lately, I developed a red, itchy rash underneath under my wedding band that turned my symbol of love into a source of irritation.  After two years of consistently wearing my (beautiful) rings, I couldn’t understand why they were just now beginning to irritate my finger.  I decided to take them off for a few days to give it a rest, which allowed the sore to heal, but it reappeared within hours of putting them back on.

After a visit to Dr. Google, I found that this wasn’t such an uncommon problem after all. I discovered that there are in fact, thousands of women who experience wedding-ring dermatitis- not to be confused with the “seven-year itch”! Wedding ring dermatitis (or “ring of fire” as I like to call it) is a surface irritation from moisture and soap trapped underneath the ring.  Wearing the same ring on the same finger day after day doesn’t allow the skin to breathe or air out.  It’s a condition particularly common with channel set rings with holes underneath the stones like mine.  

Luckily, the wedding ring rash was easily treatable and I am not allergic to the metal (as I originally was believed to be).  I removed the rings for several days and applied cortisone cream.  In the mean time, I had my rings cleaned, dipped, and re-plated.  Wow! Not only are they as beautiful and shiny as ever, but most importantly, they no longer cause my skin to burn and itch!!  Hurray!!  A big THANKS to bouchroeders jewlery downtown Columbia for the wonderful service, friendly staff, and a job well done!


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