Cell Phone Dermatitis Caused by Nickel Allergy

What is allergic contact dermatitis and why is it on my face?

  • Facial dermatitis may have any number of causes from fragrances and cosmetics to metal allergies.  
  • For anyone suffering from facial dermatitis, a visit to an allergist or dermatologist would be a critical step in determining if the allergy is to nickel, another metal, or even to some of the chemicals used in making a plastic cell phone cover.  
  • Due to the broad range of causes for facial rash, only a specialist would be able to determine the root cause. 

Dennis Gross, MD renowned New York dermatologist discusses cell phone rash caused by nickel and demonstrates how to test for nickel in your cell phone using Nickel Alert on CBS's The Early Show.

My cell phone is causing an allergic reaction, what now?

  • For a number of years, cell phone dermatitis cases rose rapidly as mobile phones became an integral part of life. During the earlier years, cell phones had metallic components that, when held against the face for a period of time, could create facial rashes or allergic contact dermatitis to metals.  As nickel was the metal most frequently used, cell phone dermatitis to nickel became well known.
  • With the advent of smart phones that have limited exposed metal materials, cell phone dermatitis to nickel may not be as much of a problem as in years past. However, recent studies determined that there remain some brands of smart phones and other mobile phones which still contain nickel and are continuing to cause nickel allergy reactions. In addition, there are designer-type metallic covers that test positive for nickel content.  
  • Be aware that some studies are implicating preservatives in rubber and plastics (such as some found in electronics covers) as the cause for allergy symptoms.  
  • If a cell phone or metallic cell phone cover is the suspected culprit for the allergic reaction, a simple dmg spot test may be used to determine if nickel is present.  
  • Nickel Aler is an pre-mixed and pre-measured dmg spot test that provides highly accurate results, detecting nickel in levels as low as ten parts per million.  This easy-to-use test provides rapid results and is safe to use as directed on any metal item.
  • If nickel is revealed on a cell phone and nickel allergy has been diagnosed, a simple resolution is to replace the cell phone with one that does not contain nickel.  
  • A less costly option would be to use a nickel free headset or the speaker when making calls.  
  • If nickel is discovered on a non-movable part of the cell phone, this part may be coated with Nickel Guard® to provide a protective barrier.  Nickel Guard is not intended for use on any movable buttons or keys of a cell phone.


Where can I purchase a nickel test kit?

  • Nickel Solution is an essential tool for anyone with nickel allergy.  Containing one bottle of Nickel Alert, which will provide at least one hundred tests, and one bottle of Nickel Guard, this nickel test kit will allow both nickel detection and protection.  
  • Available from Athena Allergy, the formulators of these products, Nickel Solution® is available for purchase on this website.


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