ASK THE ALLERGISTA: Nickel Allergy

Q:

Are there any nickel free razors out there? How do I shave my legs without getting a rash?

A:

SIGH. I wish I had a perfect solution to this. I haven't used a "normal" razor in...well, it's been years at this point....wow, just realized that! This is actually why I'm petitioning companies to make a nickel-free razor. I've been told that without nickel, the razors wouldn't hold up. I find that hard to believe, though. I'm not saying I was lied to, but I think there must be some way to make metal sharp/durable enough without using nickel. If this hypothetical razor has to be replaced more often, I'd be ok with that even though it's not ideal. At least I'd have the option to do a smooth shave!

Here are some other options (I've tried most):

  • Using a nickel-free electric razor. Panasonic makes some, which I use. Here's a link to that blog post.
  • Getting waxed. The downside to this is that it's expensive, painful, and you have to let the hair grow out in between waxings.
  • Using an epilator. This looks like an electric razor, but instead of blades, it has these weird looking metal wheel-looking things. Essentially what the wheel things do is grab onto your hairs and pulls them out. It's like reeeeeeally slow waxing and it's also painful. Eventually you go kinda numb, but I wasn't a fan. I had to put on a movie to watch to bide my time and give myself something to focus on while I slowly ripped out each hair. It works, but after that experience, I felt like waxing would be a better option since it's faster and therefore less painful.
  • Laser hair removal. Sigh. I've been told not to do this by my dermatologist as my skin is overly sensitive. I'm really getting to the point, though, where when I think about laser hair removal, I want to get a test patch done. This whole hair removal thing is such a pain in my butt that it would be nice to not even have to think about it. I do have a friend who had it done on her legs and she couldn't recommend it more. Do some research on your local medspas before you settle on one. You can also go to the dermatologist for this service, but insurance won't cover it since laser hair removal is not considered necessary for your health. It's more cost affordable to go to a good medspa, anyways.
  • Products like Nair... you know, those weird creams that essentially dissolve your leg hair. I won't go near these products because of how severe they are to our skin. I used it once in high school and it looked like my skin had been lightly burned. Not cool.
  • Buffing mitts. I'm sure you've seen those weird sand paper-like sleeves that claim to buff the hair right off. I also tried this back in high school... and hated it. It hurt! No sand paper for me, thank you!

So, right now what I do is use my electric razors and if I'm planning on going on a vacation where I'll be in a swimsuit, I make an appointment to get waxed. 

Hopefully one day, there will be a better solution for people who are allergic to nickel!

God luck - I hope this helps!

Sincerely,

The Allergista