Copper jewelry has been around for centuries and is one of the most popular metals. This bright burnished metal is famed for its alluring color, radiant warmth, and myriad health benefits. From easing the aches and pains of arthritis to helping the body detox and even boosting spiritual health and well-being, copper is a calming influence physically and emotionally. Some may wonder if it's safe to wear copper jewelry as it can react with the skin's natural oils and leave behind a green tinge known as copper acetate. This is completely natural and safe, and in this article, we unravel why copper isn’t just safe but is highly recommended for your health.
Origin of Copper
Copper is one of the oldest metals and originally came from Cyprus, which is how it took its name. The original name was Cuprum which is the Latin name for Cyprus. The Romans would mine copper from the island and use it for everything from pennies to making pretty things like decorative items and jewelry. But the Romans weren’t the first to discover copper - in fact, man has been using copper since as far back as 9000 BC.
Is copper jewelry safe to wear?
Copper jewelry is absolutely safe to wear. Naturally antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and antibacterial, it can even stop bacteria, viruses, and fungi in their tracks. Copper is even considered to be an age-old remedy for treating skin conditions and helping wounds heal. Also, we naturally need copper for our bodies and internal systems to thrive. Pure copper can sometimes turn the skin green because it reacts with the natural oils and chemicals within our skin, which can lead to a green patina - or salt-like molecule being left on the skin. This is a natural process and completely harmless - in fact, it can also be seen as the body’s way of absorbing the copper and the healing properties it needs.
What does copper do for the body?
Pure, pretty, and bringing a positive impact to your body, mind, and soul - there are many reasons to fall in love with the golden-red glow of copper. Copper is an essential mineral that our body and internal systems actually need as it encourages the healthy formation and strengthening of connective tissue, helps circulation and cardiovascular health, and converts energy. Here are some more amazing ways copper contributes to our health and well-being and helps the body to thrive beautifully.
It helps the body utilize iron
It encourages healthy nerve function
It impacts our enzyme systems
It helps with energy production
It contributes to healthy skin (wound healing, etc.)
What are the purported benefits of wearing copper jewelry?
Rich in antioxidant properties, copper can fend off free radicals, which greatly contribute to the physical signs of aging. Copper can also encourage the healthy production of collagen and elastins in the body too - both of which keep your skin looking plump and young.
Relief from joint stiffness and pain
One of the major things copper is famed for is supposedly helping people with arthritis and joint pain to find relief. For years copper bracelets and copper rings have been popular for those who want to call on the anti-inflammatory properties of copper to ease swelling and reduce pain in the joints. Copper is also good for the immune system.
Improved cardiovascular health
Copper also helps improve your cardiovascular health. This works on many levels, as copper is known for helping the body maintain iron levels, which contribute to a strong red blood count and helps oxygen move easily around the body. Copper can also strengthen the collagen, elastin, and fibers in the chest area, which keeps your upper body strong and your heart healthy.
Can you shower with copper jewelry?
Really if you want to keep your copper warm and bright and you want to reduce the green acetone adding to skin discoloration - you should avoid showering while wearing your copper jewelry. Humidity and water can cause your copper to oxidize and may lead to premature tarnishing and green skin after wearing your favorite jewelry pieces like necklaces, pendants, rings, or bracelets. If you forget, sometimes, it’s not a big deal as water won’t cause serious damage, but it may mean treating or cleaning your copper on a more regular basis.
Is it bad if copper turns your skin green?
Some people mistake the green mark left by wearing copper as a sign that they are allergic or sensitive to copper or that their copper piece isn’t of high quality. This isn’t true. Copper turning the skin green is a natural process that doesn’t have anything to do with quality but is more connected to your skin’s acidity level and your unique makeup. Copper naturally reacts to the natural oils in our skin and any chemicals we may use on the body. This reaction is called oxidation which causes copper acetate to react with the skin and leave a green mark. Copper acetate is not harmful at all and is in no way linked to copper toxicity.
However, for those who want to minimize this effect for aesthetic purposes, there are methods you can take to reduce chemical reactions and their impact. For example, you can paint the inside of your copper jewelry with clear nail polish to create a natural barrier. You can also ensure that your skin is clean and dry when wearing copper or limit your wear. For a longer-term solution, you can also get your copper pieces rhodium plated. This works similarly to the nail varnish solution by creating a barrier between the skin and the copper - although rhodium plating will last longer. Keeping your copper jewelry clean (even the simplest clean with warm water and a soft cloth) will reduce residue from lotions, dirt, and other outside influences.