What are hypoallergenic watches?
The first usage of the term hypoallergenic dates from 1953 to a cosmetical campaign. The literal meaning is "lower allergenic". In other words, products marked with this feature produce fewer reactions – although this term lacks some medical explanations.
During these modern times, people started developing allergic reactions to lots of things. Sadly, watches are also included. As a responsible company, we feel we need to explain some things, especially about making our watches.
Right here and now, we will try to break some usual myths about hypoallergenic watches. We have also developed this practical guide to inform you of aspects of these watches that you might have missed out on.
What wristwatches are hypoallergenic?
If you have no allergies, well, every watch is. That is not the case for everyone, though.
Thus, a hypoallergenic watch brings fewer allergic reactions to you from using them. In these cases, your skin is not reacting to the watch itself but the materials that it has been made with.
To understand what hypoallergenic watches are, we take a look at the different watch materials that might cause metal allergies and otherwise.
Nickel allergy – word of the experts
In most cases of allergic reactions from using watches, metal nickel is the culprit.
Nickel is not only one of the most abundant metals on earth but is also one of the top-notch materials that make their way into the watch. Now, even though the element is not a chemical compound, its mode of extraction and usage might contribute to skin reactions in some users.
Nickel allergic contact dermatitis is a red rash. It appears on the skin of people with a nickel allergy. This type of allergy isn't life-threatening and can be simply solved. You just need to avoid the nickel.
Nickel allergy isn't hereditary but acquired by a long-time contact with the nickel.
It could be argued that nickel could simply be taken out of watches so that all of them are nickel-safe and do not cause any allergic reactions. However, things are not as simple.
Nickel is a material with a high melting point, which makes it suitable against corrosion. It is likewise a less expensive piece of metal. That allows manufacturers to focus on putting premium effort into other parts of the watch without letting the metal dictate the price.
That said, not all metal nickel substances present in the material will cause an allergy. The allergic reaction is not caused by the presence of the nickel itself but by how much it is released over time.
Leather and rubber allergy
Metal watches and parts usually get the most rap when discussing hypoallergenic watches. The truth is, the culprits are more than that.
A very small percentage of buyers confuse hypoallergenic watches with those watches designed with rubber and leather parts. Here's to bursting that bubble:
Dimethyl fumarate (DMF) is the most common cause of leather allergies.
DMF is a chemical compound used for tanning leather. Individuals who are sensitive to DMF will experience severe skin reactions.
Rubber allergy is also one of the most common ones caused by petrochemicals. Both leather and rubber allergies have almost similar symptoms:
- Itchy skin
- Burning hot skin
- Dark or red rash
- Dry and rough skin
- Skin that peels
Although annoying, these allergy types don't pose a serious threat to your general health. Avoid contact with those materials, and pay a visit to your doctor. The usual medical treatment is cortisone creams and antihistamines.
Stainless Steel – Busting the Myths
Some believe no stainless steel watch can cause no metal allergy problems. That could not be farther from the truth.
Stainless steel is not a metal in itself but an alloy of different metals. The metals chosen for the alloy are picked based on their preferred properties so that a more superior metal can be created.
One of such metals that makes it to the stainless steel alloy is nickel, mostly for its affordability and resistance to corrosion.
Wearing Nordgreen watches, even those made of stainless steel exposes you to the world of 316L stainless steel watches. This level of stainless steel material has been well treated and manufactured under highly precise procedures that makes it hypoallergenic.
Thus, they are nickel-safe and won't cause any nickel allergies from leaks in the stainless steel.
Nickel Safe vs Nickel Free Watches
A common misconception when buying hypoallergenic watches comes from not knowing the difference between nickel-free and safe options.
Nickel-free watches are, as they imply, totally free from nickel.
These watches tend to cost more than those that contain nickel in their setup and are chosen by manufacturers looking to steer fully clear of the allergies that they could cause.
Remember, again, that nickel allergies are not caused by the presence of the material in the watch but the leakage of the material instead.
That said, nickel-safe watches contain the substance but in very little quantity.
The concentration of nickel in nickel-safe watches can still cause a low to mild reaction, depending on the level of nickel and as well, the level of exposure to the watch.
This is why all of our home and overseas production facilities adhere to a strict quality control standard that limits the quantity of nickel in the watches and the release of the material over time.
Not every irritation is an allergy
That skin reaction from wearing your watch might not be an allergy – only a skin irritation.
The skin in contact with any part of the watch can get irritated, which often happens during the hot summer days. The build-up of sweat and moisture becomes a playground for all sorts of bacteria.
Likewise, you could get skin irritation if your watch is sliding over a patch of skin for too long. Users with sensitive skin could develop a mild irritation that goes away on its own from there.
Dealing with irritation, when it happens (or preventing it from happening at all) is as easy as:
- Speaking with a dermatologist when it happens. That way, you can understand your skin even better and manage the situation best.
- Keep your watch clean. If the watch spends so much time on your wrists, dedicate one day to cleaning out the back of the watch that comes in contact with your wrist and underneath the straps too.
- Stop tightening the watch around your wrists. Always leave some room for the watch to breathe. For stainless steel watches, this is a fine guide to adjusting your straps better.
- Also, we don't recommend sleeping with a watch on your hand.
Consult a dermatologist or an allergist
If you are experiencing rash problems or possible allergy problems, we advise you to visit a doctor. Seek professional help in establishing the source of your problem.
Maybe you don't even have a nickel allergy, just a bit of sensitive skin. If the problem persists, it would be best for you to take an allergy test.
Patch testing is the most accurate way of determining the diagnosis. The doctor will apply small amounts of allergens to your skin. Generally, two to four days are needed for accurate results. Of course, that depends on your skin's sensitivity.
Where to buy hypoallergenic watches?
At Nordgreen, without any doubt.
All our hypoallergenic watches are made using the highest industry standards. We make every carefully designed case from 316L stainless steel. This type of steel is commonly used in medicine. Hence, all the Nordgreen watches pass the EU directives on Nickel ion migration.
Also, we intend to make the world a better place. Our Scandinavian way of life teaches us to be responsible. Social responsibility and giving back to society are our goals.
For every watch purchased, Nordgreen donates money to different NGOs. Choose from one of our watch lines: Infinity, Native, Pioneer, and Philosopher. You will get a designer's masterpiece suitable for every occasion.
With every purchase that you make from us, you will help the ones in need. You can choose from one of three goals:
- two months of clear water to an individual in the Central African Republic
- one month of education to a child from India
- helping to preserve 200 sqft of rain forest in Latin America
Choosing the Best Zero Allergy Watches
At Nordgreen, we have simplified the process of buying the right hypoallergenic watches.
While having your style and design preferences in mind, the following guidelines should help you out every time you are choosing a new watch.
Always go with a reputable brand when buying watches for your sensitive skin.
Shady brands have nothing to lose, so they can slap this tag on their watches for the sake of better marketing and that alone. Top brands, on the other hand, have a reputation and name to protect, so they won't act in the same way.
For a multinational brand like us, we not only keep the stringent quality control practices at home. Our Danish partners abroad also know to promote all of our values – from our minimalist Danish designs to putting the consumer first.
If you have also believed that the only way to avoid metal allergy reactions is to go with non-metal watches, that could not be farther from the truth.
As we mentioned before, our high-quality stainless steel watches are made from 316L-grade material, which is one of the safest forms of the material. This grade of scratch-resistant stainless steel even finds application in crafting durable surgical instruments, telling you how much attention the details we have paid.
On the other hand, you could also choose to have our titanium watches. Titanium is completely nickel-free anyway, giving you fewer nickel allergies to worry about.
Every stylish watch has a well-picked out strap to match. The same is true here.
Like with the materials, be wary of the kind of stainless steel that features on your watch. You already know which one to trust in that category.
If unsure, you could simply choose a watch with a titanium strap instead. Since they have been extensively tested to ensure they don't cause allergic reactions, you are very safe there.
Now that you know leather and rubber watches can also cause allergic reactions, don't trust all leather and rubber watches the same. Fortunately, at Nordgreen, we only employ the finest Italian leather and properly-treated rubber for our straps.
For outdoor watches, check out what our selection of nylon straps brings to your table.
The good news here is that you are never stuck with any one kind of strap. All our straps are interchangeable, so you get to have the best of any world you want – anytime.
After all, we couldn't make it without you. Your sincere, unbiased reviews are a great motivation to us. Once again, thank you for the level of trust you show us every day. Rest assured that we will keep our level of high quality, sustainability, and flawless design.
Allergies are a great problem in the modern world. However, ignorance can be an even greater problem. We are more than glad to help you solve any dilemmas regarding allergies, especially ones connected to all our watches.