AnchorCert Analytical, the AnchorCert Group’s analytical testing laboratory division, has launched an innovation in jewellery testing, resulting in a UKAS-accredited testing regime that can confirms whether an item of jewellery is ‘hypo-allergenic’ or safer for sensitive skin.
According to the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergy network (ESSCA), allergic reactions affect up to 20% of the global population, with the UK having some of the highest prevalence of allergic conditions in the world. Almost a third of allergy sufferers have to change their lifestyle and choices in order to reduce allergic reactions.
DermaKind™ is a unique testing methodology which identifies and measures a suite of metallic elements that may cause Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD). ACD can present as an itchy or painful irritation, skin redness and inflammations with severe rashes, sometimes leaving prominent scarring. DermaKind™ also provides compliance for known skin sensitizer Nickel, when tested by EN 1811:2011+ A1:2015 method, as well as providing significant future-proofing benefits for pending or anticipated consumer protection legislations, such as CLP (the Classification, Labelling and Packaging directive).
Based on ESSCA statistics, around 20% of UK consumers could be avoiding buying and wearing costume jewellery because they suffer with ACD triggered by metal allergies, including nickel sensitisation to nickel, chromium and cobalt (which is commonly used to create a gun metal look in fashion jewellery). DermaKind™ could offer these consumers a real lifeline when it comes to articles made from base and precious metals; customers with sensitive skin may be able to wear costume jewellery for the first time.
This has been the experience of the first major high street retailer to undertake testing of its entire women’s jewellery range under the DermaKind™ methodology. Marks and Spencer’s, the original research and development sponsor for DermaKind™, were keen to drive down allergic reactions experienced by some of the customers. The technical buying team had identified an opportunity to provide on-trend fashion jewellery to new and existing M&S customers with sensitive skin, which in turn would drive sales across the jewellery range.
The result was M&S’s new Skin Kind™ jewellery, designed to be extra kind to sensitive skin. To achieve this, M&S used the research findings from the Dermakind™ testing regime to change the specification and manufacturing process of its jewellery – minimising the effect of the most common metal allergens.
Commenting on the range, M&S Jewellery Technologist, Victoria Gallant, said: “Fashion jewellery is one of the easiest ways to update an outfit or transform from a casual to evening look and should be something everyone can wear. We were surprised to hear so many customers were worried about buying jewellery because of allergy fears and we wanted a solution to put their minds at rest. Now SkinKind™ is the standard across our entire range – all customers can wear M&S jewellery with confidence.”
DermaKind™ can be applied as a ‘white-label’ solution, as in the case of M&S, giving retailers the flexibility to build their own brands around the resulting ‘safer’ jewellery ranges. They can also take advantage of a comprehensive promotional package, which are further underpinned by consumer-facing marketing campaigns and activity, online and via social media.
Commenting on the unique methodology, CEO & Assay Master Doug Henry said, “We are incredibly proud of the partnership that we have developed with M&S throughout the DermaKind™/Skin Kind™ initiative. And it’s great that we continue to work with the team at M&S, especially in terms of product evolution. The team within our research and development cell, led by our Technical Director, Dippal Manchanda, are really excited about DermaKind™ not least because of its myriad applications. We’re focused on jewellery at the moment, however, there are applications across pretty much anything that contains base or precious metals. It’s a really exciting time for us all.”