Why do Rings turn your Finger Black or Green?

Last Updated on 6th January 2024

Is your ring turning your finger black or green? You are not alone. People love jewellery as an easy and inexpensive way to add personal style, while also subtly enhancing their look. However, some people have noticed a greenish-black substance around their finger after wearing their favourite ring all day long.

Ring users frequently wonder why rings turn finger black or green? In order to allay your concerns and answer your questions, we have composed a piece summarising the possibilities.

Why your fingers may turn green

When copper from jewellery mixes with salt, acids, and other chemical substances, a green or blue-green patina comprising copper chlorides, carbonates, sulfides, and/or sulfates is produced. These substances colour the skin but are harmless and non-toxic. The discolouration disappears as soon as you remove the jewellery.

Pure copper jewellery often turns green because it is not coated with metal. Alloys, on the other hand, often contain copper. Sterling silver, for example, often contains 7.5% copper. Gold jewellery, particularly yellow gold varieties, is often high in copper content. An 18K or 24K gold piece, in comparison, is more likely to cause skin discolouration than 10K or 14K gold. Other metals, such as brass, bronze, and pewter, can turn skin green.

Persons with cobalt allergies may also experience a red mark from low-quality tungsten carbide. The source of the mark in this case is cobalt. Because cobalt usually does not produce a mark when used in tungsten carbide, nickel is more frequently used. However, those with cobalt allergies may also experience a green mark.

ring turning finger black or green
Is your ring turning finger black or green? You are not alone

Why your fingers may turn black

When silver comes into contact with hydrogen sulfide or sulfur dioxide in the air, acids, or oxygen, a tarnish is formed. Sterling silver and gold are metals high in silver. Silver plating over base metals is also common. Black discolouration is essentially tarnish transferring onto your skin.

When silver jewellery is worn frequently, it rarely tarnishes. However, when it’s improperly stored, tarnish can transfer to the skin and leave a mark. Air pollution can cause problems if silver jewellery is stored improperly and then worn. If the air is particularly polluted, keep silver jewellery away from the air and moisture to prevent tarnishing.

Why your fingers may turn red

Getting a red mark from wearing a ring or other item indicates irritation. It may be due to trapped lotion, sunscreen, or perspiration between the metal and skin or an allergy or contact dermatitis resulting from direct metal contact.

The most common issue with nickel and chromium is irritation, but other metals may also cause problems. Precious metals such as platinum, gold, and silver are less reactive and produce less redness, but because they are usually alloyed with other elements to improve durability and wearability, they are less suitable for sensitive individuals.

ring finger sore with irritation

How to stop your ring from turning your finger green

The following suggestions will assist you in avoiding the undesirable outcome of your jewellery turning your skin green.

Do not expose your ring to detergents or water for long – Many metals indeed have adequate corrosion resistance to water. However, if any other corrosive substance is present in addition to water, corrosion will occur faster. Soaps and detergents might also be corrosive to metals. It’s important to remove your ring every time you wash your hands and face, bathe, or do the dishes.

Keep your ring away from chlorine – You should always remove your rings before entering a swimming pool or hot tub because they are heavily chlorinated.

Don’t apply hand creams to your ring – It is logical to apply lotion or any other cosmetic products only on your bare hands, as your hand creams are not for your rings. Make sure to wear your rings only after your skin absorbs the lotion properly.

Use zinc-oxide free absorbent powders – When your ring finger becomes excessively sweaty, you can use absorbent powder to absorb the oils, acids, and excess moisture to keep it dry and clean.

Keep your rings polished and clean – The dirtier and more tarnished your copper ring is, the greater the likelihood that it will stain your finger. Clean your copper rings with lemon juice or vinegar as frequently as possible. Every time you take off or put on your ring, make sure to at least wipe it with a soft cloth. This eliminates sweat, oil, and moisture from the rings, preventing further corrosion and oxidation. It is also possible to maintain the shine of your jewellery and protect it using jewellery polish or wax from time to time. In the long run, this will prevent your finger from turning green.

ring turning finger black or green

Use clear nail polish – Coat the ring with nail polish on the inside and allow it to dry. The barrier created by the polish protects the ring and prevents it from turning your finger black or green. It’s a very effective technique, although you may want to reapply every once in a while, particularly if you wear the ring every day.

Protect your rings properly – The safest and least expensive suggestion is to put your rings in a Ziploc bag at night to prevent them from rusting due to moisture. This prevents the wear and tear of the exterior coating (i.e. gold, silver, or rhodium plating) on most cheap jewellery. After all, the cleaner and safer the ring, the more secure your finger is from turning green.

Use crystal-clear enamel coat to spray your ring – Commercial crystal-clear enamel coats are just as effective as nail polish or jewellery shields in creating a barrier between the ring and the skin. In addition, they even protect your rings for a longer period of time than the shields do. If you have a lot of rings that need to be covered, you can use this option. Since it comes in sprays, you can save yourself the trouble of painstakingly painting your rings by using this product. Krylon UV-resistant clear acrylic coating is an excellent option for this purpose.

Do only rings that are cheap turn your finger green?

Copper and nickel are frequently used in inexpensive jewellery, but even expensive jewellery can leave a mark. Sadly, even genuine gold jewellery can leave a mark. Because rhodium plating is frequently applied to white gold, your finger colours are less likely to turn yellow than if you wore yellow gold. Platinum or rhodium coatings are often found on high-end pieces while sterling silver leaves your skin black or green.