And sadly, the ring finger where the wedding ring is worn bears most of the consequences of these risks. These risks range from:
Skin discoloration, though not serious, can mar the beauty of your hand. It is an ugly mark around your finger if you wear them for prolonged periods of time. They may not result in health problems, but they sure are ungainly to look at.
Skin discoloration slowly disappears after the ring is removed. But it will come back if the ring is put back on.
And a number of studies have shown that wearing rings increases the likelihood of bacterial contamination; that the skin under the rings can be more heavily colonized than areas of the skin without rings, and can be a major contributor to hand contamination.
An easy way to avoid this is to keep your jewelry items, such as rings, frequently cleaned and maintained.
Ring rash can be due to two reasons: contact dermatitis and occlusion dermatitis
Contact dermatitis happens when your skin comes in contact with an irritant that causes a reaction, In rings, it is often caused by the nickel or gold content of the ring. Even if your ring is gold, traces of nickel content can still trigger a reaction.
Occlusion dermatitis is caused by the build-up of soap, moisture, or debris underneath your ring. This build-up of soap, lotion, and dead skin occurs as you wear your ring over time. They deposit in the settings and the crevasses or your ring or band, attracting bacteria that cause the irritation.
Some of the symptoms of skin rash are:
- Red or itchy patches
- Scaly (dry skin) patches
- Swelling or burning
- Dry or cracked skin
Skin rash treatment
There are several methods for treating skin rash. One or a combination of two can help clear the rash—depending on what’s causing it. Most of these can be done at home.
Apply clear nail polish
If you are allergic to ring metal, a simple way of avoiding an allergic reaction is to apply a thin coating of nail polish on the inside surface of the ring. This will prevent nickel from leaching into the skin of your finger.
Contact dermatitis can be related to eczema—a condition that causes dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. You can minimize its occurrence by having your hands and fingers moisturized, especially if you are washing your hands a lot.
Before you wash your hands, take off your ring to prevent chlorine residues from depositing in your ring’s crevasses. Then wipe it dry before applying the moisturizer. This will prevent dermatitis flare-ups.
Use gentle soaps
Use soaps, cleaners, and moisturizers that are gentle to the skin. Regular deodorizing and antibacterial soaps are harsh and may be drying to the skin.
They will irritate, instead of relieve, your dermatitis problem.
Clean your ring
This method of avoiding skin rash is almost counterintuitive. Of course, you need to have your jewelry, and rings, cleaned by a professional jewelry cleaner. Even if you are regularly cleaning them, you will never do a better job than a professional cleaner.
There is no better way to remove the build-up of dead skin, dry soap, and dirt in your ring that may have caused your skin rash.
Consult a doctor
If none of the above works, consult a doctor, especially if you develop blisters or your dermatitis gets worse. You may need prescription drugs such as topical steroids and oral medications for your allergy or infection.
Overall, ring rash is very common and treatable. In fact, if they are plain rashes, they will go away a few days after treatment. If it is an allergy, a complete cure may take a little longer. The point is that it is not earth-shaking. Maintaining good habits and keeping your ring constantly clean will generally help you to avoid ring rash.
Of the most common ring-related risks, ring avulsion can be the most potentially harmful.
Ring avulsion happens when a wedding ring, or ring around any of your fingers, is caught on an object and gets yanked off suddenly and rapidly. The force and pressure of the ring being pulled can strip and damage the finger tissues like muscles, tendons, and bones. In medical parlance, this is called “degloving.
Ring avulsion was brought into the limelight when Jimmy Fallon, host of “The Tonight Show,” fell in their kitchen with his ring getting by an edge of a table. Though his finger was not amputated, it took over six hours to repair the damage. He wore a cast over it for weeks.
How does ring avulsion happen
Ring avulsion happens when a ring gets caught on surfaces with sharp edges like metal equipment, steel fences, machinery, or even basketball hoops.
Machinery moving at high speeds can yank off your ring from your finger. If this happens, you are either dragged along by the equipment or thrown to the ground. In any case, the pressure can bruise your finger, or damage blood tissues.
In severe cases, ring avulsion can tear or strip off the skin, and tear blood vessels and tendons along the entire length of the finger.
Are you at risk of ring avulsion?
Yes, you are if your work involves operating industrial machinery; handling large and heavy objects, or thick ropes or nets. You can also be at risk if you move or fall at high speeds.
Without knowing it, your ring can get caught in kitchen appliances or furniture that can easily yank it off your finger. These risks get higher if you wear loose or large rings. To lower these risks, wear rings that properly fit your finger.
Risks are always present in every aspect of life. The consolation is that those related to rings are not serious enough to be life-threatening. And they can all be avoided by these three things:
- Keeping your ring clean
- Being careful while wearing it
- Knowing when NOT to wear them.
When Not to Wear Your Wedding Ring
A wedding ring symbolizes eternal love and commitment within the relationship. Does this mean then, that they must be worn always? Never to be taken off? Theoretically, yes. But there are some situations where taking them off serves very practical reasons. Here are some of them:
Doing house chores
Many household cleaners contain harsh chemicals that may damage softer gemstones like morganite or discolor a ring’s metal band. For example, chlorine, a common household cleaning chemical can tarnish your gold or platinum wedding ring (like the one in this Antique Jewelry Malls review)
So before doing any household chore, be sure to put your wedding ring in your jewelry box for safekeeping. Just leaving them anywhere raises the risk of being forgotten or swept away.
Working out or lifting weights
Take your wedding ring off before doing cardio or muscle-toning exercises such as weight-lifting or CrossFit. These activities induce tremendous pressure on your ring that could scratch the band or warp it out of shape or knock gemstones from their settings.
The same thing could happen when playing golf or tennis. The more serious part is that it might cause ring avulsion.
The number of stories of women losing their wedding rings in a pool, bottom of the lake, or in the ocean are so numerous to tell. The scientific explanation for this is that cold water makes your fingers shrink, thereby making the ring looser around the finger.
Swimming in a pool is not consoling either. The chlorine in the water can discolor the ring metal, especially after a prolonged dip.
So leave your ring at home should you go out for a swim.
Closely related to this, “do you shower with your wedding ring on?” The answer is the same—it is best to take it off before taking a shower.” The chlorine in the water and the chemicals in the soap will ultimately ruin the ring.
Gardening is another activity where it is best to take your wedding ring off—even if you use gloves.
The dirt can get into the small spaces of your ring, and dirt or small pebbles can chip or knock the gemstone loose.
This raises a lot of questions among married men and women Questions like, “Can you sleep with your wedding ring on?” Or, “do you take off your ring when sleeping?”
The answer to these varies depending on personal choices. A lot of people, women specifically, find sleeping with their wedding rings not such a big deal. While others take off theirs before going to bed.
So, if you’re asking “should I take off my wedding band at night?” is best that you do. And this is backed by two reasons—scientific and practical.
On the scientific side, one night of sleep is equivalent to 30 days of wear. The sheets are like sandpaper to the spring—the metal that holds the stone in place. Over time, this will make the prongs thinner and weaker, resulting in the loss of the stone.
Another thing is that finger swelling can happen during the night due to pregnancy, allergic reaction, infection, or simply tightness of the ring can result to ring entrapment.
On the practical side, the tiny fibers of the sheets can get stuck under the ring’s prongs, resulting in the loss of the stone. Another thing is that the metal bend can bend out of shape as you toss and turn in your sleep.
But, despite all these, you insist on sleeping with your ring on. There is no hard and fast rule that you can’t but do take note of these.
How to Sleep with Your Wedding Ring On
Do you sleep with your wedding ring on? If you do, it is entirely up to you. You may be doing it because it is perfectly normal to you without much thought about the risks involved in it—to your finger and ring. But do consider these:
Make sure your bedding is clean and comfortable
This is a no-brainer. Unless you sleep like a pig, sleep comes deep and rejuvenating on a clean bed and bedding.
However, switching to beddings with less fiber content. This would minimize the possibility of fibers getting snagged in your ring.
Prepare yourself for bed
This means you should unburden yourself with the cares of the day. If you are a prayerful person, express your sense of gratitude for the day that will soon be gone. If not, meditate on the good things that came your way during the day.
Forget the worries at work. There will be plenty of time for that. Kiss your family good night and wish them a good and wonderful sleep.
A clean mind and heart give a very good night’s sleep. It is the secret of sleeping through the night. It removes listlessness as you sleep.
Don’t turn off all lights. Keep soft lights on so you won’t be disoriented should you need to go to the bathroom or help yourself to a glass of milk in the middle of the night.
Then close your eyes and empty your mind.
On the flip side, if you are taking your taking your ring off while sleeping and wonder about its meaning, don’t. There is really nothing of it. A lot of women take off their jewelry when they get home.
How to sleep with your wedding ring on is not a big issue for women. While a lot take off their wedding ring when they go to bed, others wear them throughout the night without giving it much thought.
For more jewelry safety tips, read our post “Jewelry Safety Tips and Why They are Important.”