Wedding ring rash, but can't get ring off
August 31, 2017 10:43 AM   Subscribe

Underneath my wedding ring and engagement ring I've developed what I assume is standard wedding ring rash - red, itchy, the skin there feels extra thin. I know the solution is to take the rings off for a while, but I CAN'T. I've gained about 30 pounds in the last year and these babies are just not coming off. What do I do?

I've been wearing these rings for 10 years and have never had this problem. But I feel it has to do with recent renovations and getting chemicals on my hands I haven't ever touched before - latex paint, oil wood varnish, polyurethane, etc. Help! It's starting to hurt and itch a lot and I'm just not sure what to do. Do I have to fast for two weeks to get the damn things off (just kidding, not really)?
posted by kitcat to Health & Fitness (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried just insane amounts of hand soap? If you keep adding soap, eventually you get something close to maximum ring removability. If that doesn't work, spraying Windex on your finger is supposed to help. Beyond that, I'd try whatever else AskMe suggests. And then, if everything fails, a jeweler may need to cut it off (call first... not all jewelers will do it).

I've heard that fire stations or emergency rooms will also cut them off, but I assume you'd have to find them in a cooperative mood on a slow day and they may not do as neat of a job.
posted by whitewall at 10:47 AM on August 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

There's a method that involves wrapping dental floss around your finger I've seen floating around the internet. Not sure how well it works in practice, but maybe worth looking up?
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 10:49 AM on August 31, 2017 [6 favorites]

Yes, the dental floss method works! My husband recently got his off that way. Otherwise we were going to have to ask at the ER.
posted by HotToddy at 10:54 AM on August 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

Dental floss method works. If you've been yanking at your ring for a while now, you might also be a little swollen/inflamed. Maybe take an NSAID (if that's medically appropriate for you) and use some ice to get any swelling down, THEN try the dental floss method.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 10:57 AM on August 31, 2017 [13 favorites]

Relax and point your fingers to the ceiling and wait for the blood to drain away, this will reduce the size of your fingers. Hands are sacks of water, ring size can change over the course of several minutes, this can be combined with other techniques if needed.
posted by FallowKing at 10:58 AM on August 31, 2017 [13 favorites]

Elevate and icepack to reduce swelling faster.

When I last had general anesthesia, the hospital suggested original formula Windex sprayed on the ring and finger, which you might not want to do with a rash, but I'm putting it out there.

Good luck!
posted by JawnBigboote at 11:05 AM on August 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

I had a jeweller cut mine off and it was painless and took seconds (and was free). They made it slightly larger and it was seamless. I recommend just cutting it off, I wasted too much time with all the tricks.
posted by saucysault at 11:10 AM on August 31, 2017 [10 favorites]

I'd certainly try the dental floss trick, but cutting it, followed by sizing it up is an option, that might be the way to go. After all, you're going to want to put the rings back on before too long-- if your ring size is larger now due to the gain, well, now's the time.

If you do, have them measure your other ring-finger, the one that's not swelling, for a new size.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:20 AM on August 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've always found it easiest to remove my ring in the shower or while washing my hands. Run your hand under hot water for a minute or so to heat up the ring (do this relatively quickly, before your hand absorbs water and expands), and then soap up.
posted by slidell at 11:23 AM on August 31, 2017

I've found that any sort of oil works better than soap for really stubborn rings (maybe my soaps aren't that sudsy). Baby oil, olive oil, whatever else you have in the kitchen.
posted by erratic meatsack at 11:40 AM on August 31, 2017

Response by poster: Oh, so if they have to cut them off, it's not the end of the world? I didn't know. How much does it cost, ballpark, to make the rings bigger?
posted by kitcat at 11:41 AM on August 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've had my rings resized for around $25-$50 but they were standard white gold or platinum bands (at least at the back). Stones all the way around is a much harder issue.
posted by saradarlin at 11:48 AM on August 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've had my rings resized twice, and it was much less than the cost of my not-expensive rings. I also just had them cut off. and need to have them re-joined. I did not try the dental floss trick; my finger was already red and swollen and I was done and out of time.
posted by JawnBigboote at 11:50 AM on August 31, 2017

Some rings can't be resized, but the jeweler would be able to determine that by looking at it.
I definitely recommend cooling down your hands.... Ice, cold water, elevation. Not hot water, though. Make sure you have a plug in your sink drain FIRST so your ring doesn't fly down the pipe.

Sometimes my hands freak out after excess salt consumption and swell, and I have had some luck with sort of pulling /maneuvering the less swollen finger flesh at the base of my finger toward the knuckle, then mooshing the swollen flesh above the ring underneath the band; repeat once or twice.
I would also wear a rubber glove on my pulling hand for a better grip.
Windex and liquid soap are both great lubricants for removal.
Just be careful... I've had a ring or two go rogue and unexpectedly fly out of my grasp when I finally worked it loose.
Good luck!
posted by younggreenanne at 12:17 PM on August 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've heard from a doctor that she could get any ring off just by having the person elevate their hand. It's very boring and can get a bit tiring. Sometimes it takes longer than other times, but she said she's NEVER had to cut one. Try just holding your hand in the air while watching TV or something. Then wait a long time.
posted by MangoNews at 12:23 PM on August 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

The rash underneath might be dermatitis from trapped water, especially if your ring is too snug to dry under when you wash your hands. I've gotten that from wider bands.

(IANAD) Benadryl cream or Neosporin Plus cream with topical anesthetic should give you some relief.
posted by younggreenanne at 12:24 PM on August 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

Put a chair next to a wall, sit down and raise your arm, resting it against the wall so that your muscles don't give out before your finger shrinks in size. Use soap or oil and remove those rings, I suggest applying lubricant before raising your arm.
posted by jbenben at 12:43 PM on August 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

> Oh, so if they have to cut them off, it's not the end of the world? I didn't know. How much does it cost, ballpark, to make the rings bigger?

As long as your rings are gold or silver or platinum or some other more traditional wedding ring material, it is absolutely not the end of the world. Have a jeweler cut them off, they'll put the cut in a good location on the ring for the resizing work. (Titanium and other more unusual ring materials can be a problem to get resized.)
posted by desuetude at 12:49 PM on August 31, 2017 [4 favorites]

I've gained some weight but can't resize my ring and I get that ring rash sometimes. Whether or not you get the rings off, I have had good experiences with Carmex and Aquaphor to bring relief and healing to the affected area.
posted by sleeping bear at 12:51 PM on August 31, 2017

Seconding saucysault - to get the ring cut off cost me $10 at a local family jeweler's, when I had to have this done. They have a little device that looks like a tiny rotating saw connected to a finger guard, and it took about 5 seconds. If you go to the ER it is expensive, so don't do that.
I waited too long (and tried dental floss and cold water and lubricants and all of that) and have a permanent mark on my finger now where the ring was, which gives you an idea of how swollen I was. Make some calls, there's someone around you that can do this easily and cheaply, I bet.
posted by Vatnesine at 2:30 PM on August 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think resizing my ring cost $75, as another data point.
posted by slidell at 3:05 PM on August 31, 2017

Nthing go to a jeweler, virtually any one of them will be able to do it in literally a minute for twenty bucks or so. Or, you could spend hours trying to drag it off...
posted by smoke at 4:20 PM on August 31, 2017

My husband gently cut off my wedding rings (soldered together) when I was pregnant with our first child. We later had the rings resized, but I have since used a generic plain wedding band (yellow or white gold, according to my mood) ever since.
My niece is currently wearing one of these while awaiting the birth of her next child. It looks tempting, especially when I do occasional construction jobs.
posted by TrishaU at 4:50 PM on August 31, 2017

My wife had this issue two weeks ago and we tried all the ideas above - soap, oil, hand in ice, hand above head, dental floss.

After calling a few places (medical center, jewelry shop), they suggested the fire department.

The fire department had a lot more experience removing ring - so they had some other tricks and equipment to try. They ended up using medical tubing (or something similar) to do the the dental floss trick - as it was easier to get through the ring and could compress the skin better. The department also had the tools to cut the ring, but it wasn't necessary. (We didn't need to pay, either, which was one less headache to worry about.)
posted by TofuGolem at 7:08 AM on September 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

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