Does Sunscreen Damage Jewelry?

Chemicals commonly found in sunscreens have been known to cause discoloration, tarnishing, or corrosion of metals used in jewelry. Such corrosion can weaken metals, potentially causing the loss of precious gems. 

The exact degree of damage varies depending on the type of metal, the concentration of the chemical, and the duration of exposure.

Sunscreen can also build up on jewelry, making it appear dull over time. This is due to the ingredients in sunscreen, such as oils and lotions. Over time such ingredients can stick to the jewelry, causing a hazy appearance, or building up a "gunk" in the tiny recesses between jewels. 

Read on to find out the secrets behind keeping your jewelry sparking...

Does sunscreen damage jewelry

Which Sunscreen Chemicals Damage Jewelry? 

If you're concerned about the potential effects of sunscreen on your jewelry or have noticed some discoloration, we recommend keeping your treasures away from formulas that contain chemicals: 

  • Alcohol
  • Perfumes
  • Oxybenzone
  • Avobenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • Octocrylene
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
  • Retinoids

Such chemicals can discolor and tarnish certain types of metal, or build up a dirty film causing them to dull and lose their shine.

    It's important to note that not all metals are affected by such chemicals, and the degree of damage depends on the metal's composition, the concentration of the chemical, and the duration of exposure.

    What´s the best sunscreen to wear with jewelry? 

    Mineral sunscreens, made with natural ingredients and free from perfumes and alcohol are considered to be the safest for jewelry and your skin.

    Look out for ingredients such as: 

    • Zinc Oxide
    • Aloe Vera,
    • Shea Butter 
    • Jojoba Oil 

    Such ingredients are non-reactive and unlikely to cause damage to metals and gemstones, while also moisturizing and protecting your skin. 

    Is jewelry damage caused by skincare permanent? 

    Luckily, in almost all cases, jewelry that has discolored or dulled can be repaired and brought back to its shiny, original state. This can be done at home or by a professional jeweler, at a cost of around 20-50$.  

    *Some jewelers may even clean your jewelry for free if you have purchased the item from their shop. 

    There is little more satisfying than bringing back the original dazzle to your favorite ring or necklace!

    Cleaning jewelry to avoid sunscreen damage

    Cleaning Jewelry At Home

    If you would like to save some money or just keep your jewelry sparking all the time. The methods below are tried and tested ways of gently bringing your precious pieces back to their original state. 

    Let´s bring the bling! 

    Soap and water

    Mix a few drops of mild dish soap with warm water, soak the jewelry for a few minutes, then gently scrub with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and dry with a soft cloth.

    Baking soda and aluminum foil

    Line a dish with aluminum foil, and add a few tablespoons of baking soda and enough boiling water to create a paste. Place the jewelry in the dish and let soak for 10-15 minutes. Remove and gently scrub with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and dry with a soft cloth.

    White vinegar

     Mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water, soak the jewelry for 30 minutes, then gently scrub with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and dry with a soft cloth.


    Toothpaste is mildly abrasive which is great for removing stains from your teeth and your jewelry! To clean using toothpaste, apply a tiny amount of white paste t Toothpaste to a soft cloth and very gently rub it on the piece. After a minute or so of light rubbing, rinse well with warm water and shine with a soft cloth. 

    Commercial jewelry cleaner

    Use a commercial jewelry cleaner specifically designed for the type of metal. Always read the instructions thoroughly before attempting this method as the harsh chemicals can damage both the jewelry and your skin. 

    Does sunscreen damage jewelry

    How To Care For Jewelry

    When it comes to keeping your precious jewelry in top condition. It is much better to take good care of it, rather than fix it.

    Follow these 5 steps for jewelry that pops! 

    1. Remove your jewelry before applying skincare

    We recommend removing jewelry before applying skincare products to avoid any potential damage to the visible parts. As discussed above, skincare products may contain active ingredients that can cause discoloration, tarnishing, or other damage to the jewelry. 

    Once you have finished applying, ensure that your skin is completely dry, and slip on your rings and necklaces to enjoy radiant skin and gleaming jewels!

    2. Remove your jewelry before cleaning the house 

    it's a good idea to remove jewelry before cleaning the house to avoid damaging or tarnishing the jewelry or exposing it to harsh chemicals in cleaning products. 

    Harsh chemicals such as bleach and degreaser can also get caught under rings, causing skin irritation. Additionally, removing jewelry can also prevent it from getting caught on objects or getting lost in the cleaning process! 

    Those who have lost jewelry after throwing out the trash will testify to the stress! 

    3. Keep your jewelry away from the gym

    It's best to remove jewelry before working out at the gym, to prevent damage to the jewelry and to avoid the risk of injury from snagging or catching the jewelry on gym equipment.

    Additionally, sweat and friction from a workout can cause discoloration, tarnishing, or other damage to jewelry, whilst also trapping sweat and bacteria against the skin, causing skin irritation.

    4. Properly store your jewelry

    Storing jewelry properly is crucial to: 

    • Maintain its condition
    • Protecting it from damage
    • Prevent tarnishing
    • Stop it from getting lost or stolen.

    This can be done by:

    • Wrapping each piece separately in a soft cloth
    • Storing in a safe place such as a jewelry box, special drawer, or safe
    • Keeping it dry and clean 
    • Avoiding overexposure to direct light and extreme temperatures
    • If storing jewelry for long periods, seal them in vacuum storage pouches to keep moisture and air out

    5. Take it off when you go to bed

    We recommend removing jewelry before going to bed to avoid damage to the jewelry and skin irritation. Sleeping with jewelry can cause wear and tear on the piece, as well as friction and pressure that can cause skin irritation. Additionally, some types of jewelry, such as necklaces and bracelets, can get tangled in bedding and cause discomfort or injury. Removing jewelry before bed can help keep both the jewelry and the skin in good condition.

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