Solution for belt buckle allergy
June 4, 2009 11:31 AM   Subscribe

I'm allergic to most belt buckles, what can I coat them with to provide a barrier between the metal and my skin?

Every belt with a metal buckle seems to give me a rash on my stomach where it touches my skin. I'm looking for some ideas of what I could put on the buckle to keep it from touching my skin. I've tried things like clear nail polish and super glue but they seem to wear off the metal pretty quickly. What else could I try? I'd consider gluing a little strip of cloth to the back of the buckle, too, but I'm not sure what glue to use that would bond it really well to the metal. Thanks!
posted by truth1ness to Health & Fitness (28 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Um....are you not wearing a shirt and pants with these belts? The cloth of the pants and shirt should be enough to protect you. Maybe start tucking in your shirt if you're not already? Or wear and undershirt and tuck that in?
posted by Grither at 11:36 AM on June 4, 2009 [3 favorites]

wear AN undershirt. Sorry.
posted by Grither at 11:37 AM on June 4, 2009

Clear spray enamel. You should be able to find in the paint aisle of your local hardware store.

My girlfriend has the same problem. She wears her belts with the buckles on the side of her hip, so they don't touch her skin.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:40 AM on June 4, 2009

Try wearing the belt through the loops of your pants' waistband, so the fabric of the pants separates the metal from your skin.
posted by Perplexity at 11:44 AM on June 4, 2009 [4 favorites]

I have heard of people using clear nailpolish to coat belt buckles and earring posts. I have no allergy so can't vouch for its effectiveness.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 11:44 AM on June 4, 2009

My mom has a similar problem, a contact nickel allergy. She usually has a problem with the top button of jeans, but not so much with belts as she wears them through the beltloops.

Her solution for things like earrings and such is to simply only buy high-end stuff--i.e., silver/gold. Perhaps a genuine silver/gold plated buckle might help?
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 11:47 AM on June 4, 2009

If you decide to go the glue route, use E-6000. It's washer/dryer safe, and if you were to adhere fabric to it I can guarantee it won't come off.
posted by Ugh at 11:52 AM on June 4, 2009

For all the snarky answers about how to wear the belt, this happens to me all the time. As a woman I don't normally wear my shirts tucked into my dress pants, and when I sit down the belt often shifts just enough to have the edge of the buckle touch my stomach. Inevitable rash. Hence, I don't wear belts, which can make life difficult. I'm interested in any answers as well.
posted by aclevername at 11:52 AM on June 4, 2009 [4 favorites]

I've known a couple of folks who had mentioned having that problem, and like RikiTikiTavi's mother, they both had a nickel allergy.

Unhelpfully for you, their solution each mostly involved not having many belts. Good luck!
posted by aniola at 11:52 AM on June 4, 2009

Or maybe they're not snarky and I'm just over reading a tone. Ooops. But I wear my belts through the loops and this still happens.
posted by aclevername at 11:53 AM on June 4, 2009

There are belts made with plastic buckles (the nylon camping kind of web belt is a good example), and there are leather belts made with entirely-leather-covered buckles (they're made for woodworkers and fine craftspeople and whatnot, so that they don't scratch the things they're working on). One or the other of those might be another option.
posted by box at 11:59 AM on June 4, 2009

No snark intended in my tone, just a touch of confusion. But yes, when I don't tuck in my shirt, my belt buckle does indeed come into contact with my skin, so thanks, confusions cleared up!
posted by Grither at 12:02 PM on June 4, 2009

I have the same problem, I tuck in my shirts, all of them. Or don't wear a belt.

I have heard gold plating works too, but even gold or silver plate wears off.
posted by Max Power at 12:03 PM on June 4, 2009

My boyfriend has the same problem. I bought him a BMW Biker Leather Belt. It was big so we had to take it to a purse/leather repair place to get it to fit correctly.
posted by spec80 at 12:06 PM on June 4, 2009

(they're made for woodworkers and fine craftspeople and whatnot, so that they don't scratch the things they're working on)

Also motorcyclists, apparently. Here's one of the craftsperson ones.
posted by box at 12:19 PM on June 4, 2009

Seconding hydrophonic and clear spray enamel. I have a nickel allergy, and I coat the posts of my [cheap] earrings and insides of rings with nail polish, but for bigger things like bracelets, the enamel does the trick.
posted by alynnk at 12:22 PM on June 4, 2009

Dermatitis from belt buckles is apparently not uncommon. You can buy hypoallergenic belt buckles. Your fashion mileage may vary, of course.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:22 PM on June 4, 2009

I have a nickel allergy so this sometimes happens to me - esp with cheapo jewelry, rings, necklaces etcd. Nthing clear nail enamel.
posted by poissonrouge at 12:32 PM on June 4, 2009

I cover the back of my belt buckles and the metal button on jeans with clear tape. it needs replacing after a while, but it works.
posted by girlpublisher at 12:54 PM on June 4, 2009

I have a nickel allergy and the same problem. Clear nail polish works temporarily, but the best thing I've found is to take an old, too small t-shirt and cut it a couple of inches below the armpit line so you have a tube of fabric. They I basically wear the tube of fabric around my waist, put on the pants/belt over the tube, and then fold the top of the tube down over the top of the pants. Obviously if I am tucking in a tank top or other shirt, this is unnecessary, but when I'm wearing something untucked, this is what I do. You can experiment with the length of the tube until you have enough fabric to protect your skin, but not so much that the t-shirt shows (unless you want it to - this is also a nice, not hot way to rock the layered t-shirt look).
posted by jennyb at 1:02 PM on June 4, 2009

I have this same problem, usually with the upper button on jeans, but the belt buckle irritates my skin too. Nail polish and tape did not work for me and tucking in clothes only lessened the problem instead of making it go away. I asked a doctor what I could sew behind my jeans' rivets to keep this from happening, and was told that the only backing that would block the metal from getting to my skin was rawhide leather. For what it's worth, I thought this was a stupid answer, and have just lived with it ever since.

Changing up soaps and shampoos seemed to help me for some reason, even though my allergy is clearly a metal allergy.
posted by bristolcat at 1:53 PM on June 4, 2009

Powder coating.
posted by gally99 at 2:09 PM on June 4, 2009

Depending on the style of the buckle, could you wrap it with leather cord, or possible adhere felt to the back of it? I'd try something like that because I know nail polish and spray enamel will wear off.
posted by Eicats at 2:13 PM on June 4, 2009

This happens to me, too. I use clear nail polish on my regular prongy belt buckles, and clear packing tape or scotch tape on my cowboy-style (solid) belt buckles. The nail polish does wear off, but it's the best thing I've found for a prong buckle.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:52 PM on June 4, 2009

Happens to me too, even through thinner shirts tucked in. I personally wear belts with brass buckles to get around it, or limit my (more fashionable) nickel-based buckle-wearing to events where I give a hoot about how I look.
posted by davejay at 5:01 PM on June 4, 2009

Wow. Lots of nickel allergies here. I have the same problem. My simple solution is to give away any belts that cause me grief.
posted by shinybeast at 5:24 PM on June 4, 2009

My nickel allergy has abated over time. I used to sew a patch over the metal back of the jeans button. Now I would just be lazy and use an iron-on patch, or gorilla glue a bit of fabric over the metal.
posted by theora55 at 7:57 AM on June 5, 2009

Plasti-dip? Coat anything with a flexible rubber coating. Available in red, yellow, black, blue and clear. (Oooh, and they have a kit where you can create your own color! Think of the matching possibilities!) Can be dipped brushed, or sprayed. As seen on Cool Tools.

Obviously, rub a sample on yourself furiously for 15 minutes to make sure you're not allergic to it.
posted by ostranenie at 10:52 AM on June 5, 2009

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