Should Uniforms have Nickel-free Fastenings?

Pastelli’s range of modern medical workwear and uniforms for healthcare professionals have nickel-free fastenings.


There is a very good reason for this.

Nickel can trigger an allergy in some people leading to severe skin reactions.

It is therefore vital, both for the wearer of the uniform and those they come into regular contact with, that such reactions are preventable.



Nickel Allergies and Reactions

Nickel is typically used to strengthen soft metals such as gold, and as such it is a material with a broad range of applications.


It is found in jewellery and in clothing buckles and fasteners. Nickel is present in some coins and can even get into the food chin via soil and pesticides or from food storage and packaging materials.

At the same time, nickel allergy is one of the most common skin allergies, with around 10% of the global population being allergic to nickel.

Most allergies to nickel are contact allergies.


What this means is that a prolonged contact with material containing nickel causes a reaction.


This is usually in the form of dermatitis. The skin becomes red, irritated, swollen, and blistered. However, for many sufferers, they may not realise that contact with the nickel is the cause of this dried and cracked skin.


Where someone has ingested nickel traces, they may also suffer from swelling. Some foods, such as broccoli, are also naturally rich in nickel.


In fact, in these instances, the nickel causes the body’s immune system to release histamine in a massive over-reaction to the allergy.



Nickel-free Fastenings for Medical Uniforms


Wearing a uniform is wearing a brand – the uniforms an organisation or practice chooses for its employees can send out a powerful message about its brand values.


This applies to uniforms worn in medical and dental practices, in vets and beauty centres.


When choosing the right style to help represent a brand, organisations and practices should, however, also consider the threat of allergies and other reactions. Otherwise they risk harming staff and undermining their brand message


Furthermore, in a treatment setting, there is the potential of a risk to patients alongside members of staff wearing the uniforms.


Nickel is commonly used in buckles and zips in a broad range of clothing, despite being a known allergen.


At Pastelli UK, we want to ensure that our Italian-designed uniforms and scrubs are stylish, comfortable, hardwearing but also safe for all to wear. Consequently, we use nickle-free fastenings for our range of contemporary medical tunic designs.


Medical and healthcare uniforms have come a long way. Now there is far more choice in terms of design, and colour, and there is a growing recognition that uniform styles can help to build relationships with patients and others.


The practical qualities of uniforms will always be vital though, and this should include ensuring that they are nickel-free, and therefore wearable for all.


“Modern medical uniforms should combine comfort with style, and this means making sure that they are of a consistently high standard, while being safe for anyone to wear.”

Joanne Hunt, Pastelli UK