Nickel is one of the most common contact allergens, affecting 17 percent of women and 3 percent of men. According to a study presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), nickel sensitives should avoid BlackBerry phones as approximately one third of all Blackberries contain two common allergens, nickel and cobalt. iPhones and Androids do not.

Both metals can cause an allergic reaction including dry, itchy patches along the cheek bones, jaw line and ears.

The less popular flip phone models also revealed levels of cobalt and nickel. Roughly 91 percent contained nickel and 52 percent tested positive for cobalt. These metals are commonly used in items such as jewellery, coins and even makeup.

“Patients with nickel and cobalt allergies should consider using iPhones or Droids to reduce the chance of having an allergic reaction,” said allergist Luz Fonacier, M.D., study author and ACAAI fellow. “BlackBerry users with known allergies should avoid prolonged conversations, text messaging and handling their phones if they begin noticing symptoms.”

Symptoms of nickel and cobalt allergies can include redness, swelling, itching, eczema, blistering, skin lesions and occasional scarring. For sufferers who are glued to their phones, ACAAI advises opting for plastic phone cases, wireless ear pieces and clear film screens to decrease allergic reactions.

It’s also helpful to paint a layer of Nickel Guard on key buttons where the plastic often wears off.

I’ve also found if you use Skin MD Shielding Lotion on your face and ears it will act as a barrier and will protect against contact with nickel and cobalt. (It works when you wear earrings too.)

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Hello everybody. I’m Janet, mother of two great (most of the time) boys and founder of, an online and catalogue mail order retailer. We sell things that help with the everyday management of asthma, eczema, chemical sensitivity, rhinitis and food allergies. Not drugs and supplements, but more practical things like anti-allergy pillows, air purifiers and vacuum cleaners, latex-free rubber bands, gloves for eczema, home allergy tests and lots more. I’m not a medical professional, but fifteen years of experience of the allergy market means I know which products can help or even make a significant difference when you’re trying to keep your problem under control and which ones are frankly a waste of money. Follow my blog and perhaps you’ll pick up a tip or two!

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