Lupus is a long-term autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue. Symptoms include inflammation, swelling, and damage to the joints, skin, kidneys, blood, heart, and lungs. In the United States, more than 1.6 million people may be living with Lupus. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the most common type of Lupus.
It is a systemic condition, which means it has an impact throughout the body.
The cause of Lupus, and autoimmune diseases in general, is unclear. The immune system protects the body and fights off antigens, such as viruses, bacteria, and germs.
It does this by producing proteins called antibodies. White blood cells, or B lymphocytes, produce these antibodies.
When a person has an autoimmune condition, such as lupus, the immune system cannot differentiate between unwanted substances, or antigens, and healthy tissue.
As a result, the immune system directs antibodies against both the healthy tissue and the antigens. This causes swelling, pain, and tissue damage.
(Source: Medical News Today)
Lupus has a wide range of symptoms and triggers including fatigue, pain in joints and muscles, fever, headaches, and much more. One of the triggers is actually the presence of metal. Nickel, in particular, tends to be a metal that is not tolerated well by people with autoimmune diseases. Nickel is a common cause of metal allergies as well.
In research done by the University of Stockholm, they found that more than 79% of patients with an autoimmune disorder reacted to the presence of metals (versus 18% of healthy patients). With a metal allergy, the immune systems overacts to an allergen, however, with an autoimmune response to metal, tissue destruction actually occurs.
Generally, in cases of both allergic reactions to metal and autoimmune reactions to metal, the adverse reaction typically goes away when the offending allergen is taken away. Because of this, it is typically not possible to people with autoimmune diseases to wear metal jewelry.
Jewelry companies tend to be misleading at best about the metals that are in their jewelry. Oftentimes they claim their jewelry is "nickel free" or "hypoallergenic," other times they go as far as to say they use titanium when it is actually an alloy or another metal altogether. That has lead to a lot of mistrust from people who have to be very careful about what they put on their body.
Since reactions typically go away when the offending substance is removed, in the case of jewelry, if someone stops wearing it then their reaction will stop. The idea that someone would have to give up wearing jewelry on top of already struggling with everything else that comes along with an autoimmune disease is really disheartening to me. It may be just a small thing to some, but to others it can brighten up their whole day.
At Tini Lux we are very transparent about the metal we are using in our jewelry. All of our jewelry is nickel free, and not just hypoallergenic, it is actually non-allergenic.
Our earrings are made with pure, medical grade titanium. Pure titanium is considered a biocompatible metal (one that can coexist peacefully with the human body). Because we use pure titanium that is not alloyed with other potentially harmful metals, all of our jewelry is inherently nickel free.
When I started Tini Lux, my goal was to create chic jewelry for people with metal allergies and sensitive ears. As we grew, I learned more about Lupus and other autoimmune diseases. I am happy to say that our jewelry has been worn comfortably by customers with autoimmune diseases.