Why Does Gold Turn My Skin Black?

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The purity of the gold ring is called into consideration while talking about skin discoloration. Gold is a soft metal, and when used in jewelry, it’s mixed with other metals like copper, silver, nickel, etc., to increase its durability and strength. This mixing mainly turns your skin black, but apart from that, there are also many other factors such as metallic abrasion or corrosion. Let’s look into them!

Coming home after an event, you start to remove your gold jewelry and find green or black marks on your skin. What just happened? You’re probably second-guessing the quality of your gold.

Just because the gold you’re wearing is turning your skin black, it’s nothing to be worried about, and it’s not outside the realm of normal. The discoloration of your skin will neither have any harmful effects nor would it weaken your gold jewelry. 

Why is my gold jewelry turning my skin black?

Why is my gold jewelry turning my skin black?

You must be thinking that it might be the bad manufacturing or under carating of gold jewelry that makes your skin green or black. You’d be amazed to find out that this isn’t the reason.

Here’s a list of factors that aid in the discoloration of your skin:

Metallic abrasion

The most widely recognized reason behind why skin stains when wearing gold adornments is metallic abrasion.

Metallic abrasion is a consequence of cosmetics on skin or attire. Do you know that cosmetics contain chemicals harsher than the gold itself? And these compounds rub off minuscule particles of metal in the jewelry.

Moreover, these finely divided metal particles seem dark rather than metallic, appearing like black dust. When this residue comes into contact with porous absorbent surfaces, for instance, skin or dress, it sticks to it and forms a dark smear.

To prevent this, cosmetics containing zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, ferric oxide, and calamine should be avoided.

If you can’t do this, I’d suggest you take off your rings and other jewelry while applying makeup. Also, make sure to clean your hands with a cleanser before wearing gold rings to avoid any makeup residue. 


Corrosion of metals is another reason for that ugly mark on your skin, as your gold jewelry doesn’t contain pure gold but rather a combination of metals.

We all know that gold itself doesn’t corrode; however, its essential combinations of silver or copper will corrode, and they will release a dark compound under wet or moist conditions. 

Besides, when you sweat, acids are released that can corrode your gold gems, especially when exposed to air or warmth. This issue can be worse in seacoast and semi-tropical zones.

It’s best to keep your ring in a dry place; submerging your gold in water for too long can cause corrosion too.

Gold and Copper

In most gold jewelry, copper is also one of the most commonly used bases. When it comes to copper, they are prone to oxidation, which leads to the discoloration dilemma. 

If the gold plating on your gold jewelry wears off, it will result in copper surface exposure. And if you have acidic skin, it’s more likely to cause the copper to oxidize and leave a stain. Moreover, environmental conditions that make you sweat are likely to cause oxidation as well. 

Once the copper oxidizes, it results in a chemical reaction that creates a stain. Now, here the result is that it leaves a green stain rather than a black one.

It’s nothing to be worried about, and you can easily take that piece of jewelry off, wash that specific area, and remove the stain.

Gold and Nickel

The gold jewelry you are wearing isn’t always going to be pure gold. The alloy of gold and nickel is also commonly used when making jewelry. Not only this, but Nickel is also a common base for making more affordable jewelry.

If the gold plating of your jewelry starts to wear off at any point, it will lead to the base layer of the nickel being exposed. Once that happens, the moisture and the exposure to air causes the nickel to react so that it will lead to a black stain on your skin.

The reactions of Gold-Nickel and Gold-Copper with the skin are quite similar. 

Iron deficiency

Even though it has not been directly interlinked with the black staining of your skin, it still is a factor. There is some evidence that your body’s iron level affects your PH levels, which may lead to black stains on your skin because of your gold jewelry. 

If your body’s PH level is more inclined towards the acidic side, then that is more likely to react with a gold-nickel or a gold-copper alloy that may cause a reaction that leads to a black stain on your skin.

Again, it might not be a direct cause of the black stain on your skin, but it’s surely a factor that should be considered. 

External causes

External causes account for both environmental factors and cosmetics. However, when it comes to environmental factors, it mostly accounts for humidity, extreme warmth, and dampness because these conditions enable reactions that cause black stains.

Cosmetics and residuals such as soaps, detergents, moisturizers, etc., enable chemical reactions that cause the skin to decolorize. However, the best way would be to avoid these elements.

How to prevent a gold ring from turning your finger black

How to prevent a gold ring from turning your finger black

Let’s look into some ways to prevent your skin from decolorizing.

Check the quality

Low-quality gold rings are a leading cause of turning your skin black. So you should really check the quality of the gold ring before you purchase it for yourself.

It doesn’t have to be pure gold entirely, but most of its composition should be of gold because it then decreases the chances of discoloration of the skin.

Seal the gold ring

Keeping the ring sealed is another way you can keep a gold ring from turning your finger black.

Chemical reactions caused by environmental and cosmetic factors tend to turn your finger black. So keep your ring sealed by applying jewelry lacquer to create a shiny barrier, or you can also apply clear nail polish on the inner side of the ring.

Keep your skin dry

Moisture and clammy conditions encourage chemical reactions that lead to discoloration of your skin. Thus, keeping your skin dry is a preventive measure. Moreover, it’s best to take off the ring because washing your hands or using soap or lotion can react with the ring. 

Best way to care for your gold jewelry

Best way to care for your gold jewelry

You can care for your gold ring with some simple steps that are as follows: 

  1. Mix water and mild soap. Be careful that the soap water is not too warm or hot.
  2. Submerge your gold ring into the soap water for an hour or more. But don’t submerge it for far too long.
  3. Take your ring out of the water and rub it with a soft cloth to remove apparent stains on it. You can also use a soft toothbrush instead, but be careful while using it since gold is a soft metal.  
  4. Towel dry or air dry your ring, and start wearing it once it’s dry.


Does real gold leave a black mark on the skin?

No, real gold does not leave a black mark on the skin. Unfortunately, gold alloys tend to do so.

Why does gold jewelry turn my skin green?

It’s merely because of the mix of copper or some other metal in the gold jewelry that turns your skin green.

Can a gold ring tell if you have low iron?

No, using a gold ring to tell if you have low iron is an unreliable test. It can hint towards low iron, but still, it’s not a certainty test.

Does sterling silver turn skin green?

Yes, sterling silver can turn your skin green because of the copper present in it. 


The stains on your skin caused by the gold are neither harmful nor something you should be worried about, but it’s best to know why it happens and what you can do about it. 

I hope you’re now more aware of the true cause behind the dark marks from gold on your skin. Just follow the precautions and keep flexing on your gold jewelry.

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