Fond of Wearing Toe Rings? Take Care to Prevent (& Treat) a Toe Rash

Toe rings can be a pretty accessory for your feet, but they can sometimes be a pain for sensitive skin. The material in certain types of toe rings can cause an allergic reaction known as contact dermatitis, which can cause the affected area to become inflamed and intensely itchy. 

Thankfully, you can still flaunt toe rings the pain-free way with the right kind of care. Follow these tips on how to look after your rings and avoid a toe rash.

Buy the right ring

Cheap body jewellery contains nickel which can be a common cause of contact dermatitis in most people. A cheaply made toe ring will often leave noticeable discoloration on your toe (a kind of green or yellowish ring) due to a chemical reaction with the nickel.

To avoid this, it's best to stick with a hypoallergenic toe ring made from either sterling silver or at least 14k white or yellow gold. As with earrings and most body jewellery, if they're a regular part of your wardrobe its best to invest in high quality kinds. Hypoallergenic toe rings are free of cheap materials such as nickel and tin and do not tarnish the skin.

Practice toe ring hygiene

Whether or not you have sensitive skin, it's advisable to always keep your toe ring clean to avoid general irritations that could lead to a rash. With sterling silver toe rings, it's best to clean them around 3 to 4 times a year using a number of different methods. A quick touch-up clean can be done with a soft cloth and silver polish to prevent corrosion. Another method can be to rub a small dab of toothpaste -- a plain white variety -- onto the toe ring using a cloth. This can loosen up any grime and help your ring retain its gleam without scratching the surface.

When cleaning gold toe rings, you can use dish soap, ammonia or boiling water. Boiled water is only appropriate with plain gold bands, however, since rings with delicate gemstones can become damaged or cracked. Normal dish detergent and warm water provides an effective gold cleaning solution too (you can also use club soda mixed with warm water). Allow the rings to soak for 15 minutes or so before rinsing them again in warm water and let them air dry on a soft cloth.

Ammonia can be a very effective and powerful gold ring cleanser, so its best to use this for occasional 'deep' cleans instead of regular use. Mix one part ammonia with six parts tap water and soak the rings in this solution for no longer than a minute. Rinse and allow to air dry on a cloth or towel.

Treating a rash at home

At the first sign of a rash, ice cold compresses can help relieve inflammation and symptoms of itching. This can also be helped by soaking feet in a lukewarm oatmeal bath solution such as Aveeno oil. As the rash develops, the area can become increasingly dry and uncomfortable, so to combat this, it's crucial to avoid hot baths or showers, chlorinated swimming pools and any skin exfoliants.

While your rash is healing, you need to prevent it rubbing against hosiery, as this may risk infection while on the move. In helping your toe rash heal, your local podiatrist may recommend the use of a toe protector. This is a gel toe ring that cushions the rash to prevent rubbing and further irritation. Alongside this, a daily moisturising routine will also help keep discomfort and extreme dryness at bay.

Depending on the severity of your toe rash, further treatment may be advised such as corticosteroid cream or antibiotics to treat possible bacterial infections as a result of contact dermatitis. These medications do have side effects, however, so be sure to consult with your GP first.

For more information about foot issues, contact a practice like Walk Without Pain.