It happens to the best of us- you get a brand new ring, wear it for a few hours, and when you take it off you notice the skin on your finger has turned an unattractive shade of green.

Why do certain rings leave behind a green stain on the skin? You may have heard that this is the result of wearing cheap jewelry. Although this may be true in some cases, there are several factors that need to be weighed into the equation before you go jumping to any conclusions.

The acidity of your skin actually has more to do with this unsightly discoloration than the quality of your jewelry. A person with naturally high acidity in his or her skin is more prone to acquiring the green ring. When the chemicals in your skin mix with the alloy in certain metals, a chemical reaction is formed. Don’t worry- it’s harmless! The color can easily be cleaned with soap and water and the reaction does not cause any damage to your skin.

A good rule of thumb is to remove your jewelry before participating in any activity that includes liquids. Showering, swimming, sweating, or moisturizing your hands with lotions exposes your skin to this annoying chemical reaction with your jewelry. That being said, when temperatures and humidity levels are especially high, green fingers are more common because sweat formulates under the ring, reacting with the alloy in the ring.

Keep in mind that the appearance of green could also be a mild allergic reaction your skin is having to a certain type of metal, where particles of metal are mixing with the minerals in your skin, causing you the affected area to appear blue or green.

You don’t have to sacrifice your favorite pieces of jewelry just because they bring out the green ring! First, figure out which pieces of jewelry causes discoloration. Once you’ve narrowed them down, there are some quick fixes that allow you to wear any ring, granted you aren’t allergic to the metal.

The number one action you can take against the green ring is to keep your jewelry clean, and in a felt jewelry box when you aren’t wearing it. Second, avoid wearing jewelry in situations where it’s prone to any kind of moisture. Last, we suggest applying a coat of clear nail polish on the inside of your problem rings! This will prevent the chemicals in the metal from reaching the chemicals in your skin. Just be sure to recoat often, as the nail polish will wear off in time, especially on a well-loved ring.