woman holding cell phone to ear

Have you noticed a rash on your face? It could be caused by your cell phone!

Cell phone dermatitis continues to rise in the United States due to nickel. An article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2008 found that nearly half the cell phones tested with a dimethylglyoxime (dmg) spot test tested positive for nickel. Buttons and metallic frames were among the most common sites where nickel was found.

Even though this clip may be slightly outdated, it gives a good overview of how an allergic reaction to your cell phone can happen, plus what to do about it.

When possible, researchers recommend that nickel-sensitive individuals test cell phones for nickel content using Nickel Alert® before purchasing. If this is not possible, test after purchase so you know where you need protection.

If you currently own a cell phone containing nickel, there are three options to consider:

  • Coat any areas that test positive with Nickel Guard® — three thin coats is very effective on non-movable parts
  • Use speakerphone, a headset, or headphones to avoid prolonged contact
  • Use a protective plastic cover or case

The duration and conditions of use greatly influence the likelihood of a reaction. Prolonged contact, especially in warmer environments (think: sweating), enhances nickel transfer to the skin and will intensify the rash.