Which earrings are best for sensitive ears?

Are your ears sensitive? Having to take off your earrings constantly is a major hassle. Some people's ears are so sensitive that they can't even wear earrings!

If you are one of these people, it can be extremely difficult to find earrings that will work for you. It is important to know what kind of hypoallergenic metals will be the best choice before you start shopping.

So, there are many different types of metals out there. Gold, silver and platinum are the most common. Do you know which is best for your ears?    


First, how do you know if you're allergic to earrings?


When wearing a new pair of earrings, a person with an earring allergy experiences the following ear allergy symptoms: earlobe itching, ear lobe infection, ear lobe swelling, etc.

Within hours to days after coming into contact with nickel, an allergic response (contact dermatitis) generally sets in. The inflammation may persist for two until four weeks. This allergic reaction is most likely to show up where your skin comes into contact with nickel, although it can appear in various other areas of your body.


Ear allergy symptoms:


  • Rash or bumps on the skin
  • Itching, which may be severe
  • Redness or changes in skin color
  • Dry patches of skin that may resemble a burn
  • Blisters and draining fluid in severe cases


What are the Best Earrings for Sensitive Ears?

1. Nickel-Free Jewelry:


Since the most common cause of sensitive ears is likely a nickel allergy, the first thing to do is avoid earrings that have nickel in the posts. Don’t just assume that earrings marked as 'hypoallergenic jewelry' will do the trick. Although this theoretically makes them less likely to cause an allergic reaction, there is no industry standard for what constitutes "hypoallergenic earrings."

The best earrings for sensitive ears are ones that are marked 'nickel-free jewelry'. Some earrings are labeled 'hypoallergenic earrings' because the nickel in their posts is plated with another protective material, but over time, this thin coating can come off with repeated wear. This means that the barrier between your ear and the earring metals breaks down into a nonexistent layer, which may still irritate your sensitive ears.


2. Precious Hypoallergenic Materials:


The best hypoallergenic earrings are made from precious metals such as gold, platinum or 925 silver. Make sure you buy allergy-safe earrings that are made from 14k gold or higher, or sterling silver 925, so you don't risk nickel being mixed in.

However, you may want to avoid pure 24k gold. Although it is a hypoallergenic material, unless you are allergic to even the tiniest quantities of nickel because of how soft and malleable pure 24k gold is. It easily distorts and becomes damaged from regular jewelry wear, so you definitely don't want to buy 24k gold earrings - they'll get damaged very quickly. Plus, earring prongs holding pavé stones require a tight grip; but 24k gold is an ultra soft metal. So, 24k gold jewelry lovers should expect to lose a few pavé stones eventually.

24k gold earrings are much too soft for daily jewelry wear, especially when being worn in the ear. 14k or 18k gold will give you a better option without having to worry about unsightly scratches, dents and other damage ruining your beautiful, new earrings.


3. Alternative Hypoallergenic Materials:


Other hypoallergenic jewelry metals to try for sensitive ears include stainless steel, titanium, plastic, and niobium. However, some of these hypoallergenic earring metals are cheaper and more breakable; moreover, some of these hypoallergenic earring metals are more difficult to find. No one likes to waste hours looking for an 'exotic' metal to add to their jewelry wardrobe, only to find out that the earring designs in this 'exotic' metal are unfortunately limited and probably quite outdated. For example, nobium is extremely rare and not a mainstream metal used in most jewelry, so you won't find a lot of allergy-free earrings with niobium.

Likewise, plastic jewelry is usually made with some sort of resin, although a hypoallergenic material, it is important to note that resin earrings made with epoxy are not resistant to UV rays. This means that earrings made with epoxy resin may turn yellow and chalk-like when exposed to too much sun, so they are not ideal for activities like a fun day of volleyball at the beach. Another downside to resin jewelry is that resin earrings made with polyester may not be as durable as epoxy resin, resulting in easy breakage.


Hypoallergenic Metals:


  • 925 Silver
  • 14k gold & above
  • Platinum
  • Stainless Steel
  • Titanium
  • Plastic
  • Niobium



How to Make Any Pair of Earrings Hypoallergenic


If you have a pair of earrings that you adore and don't want to remove from your jewelry wardrobe, but you can't wear them without suffering from an earring allergy, there are a few methods to make your nickel earrings more tolerable.

How to Create Hypoallergenic Earring Backs:

1. The most effective way to create allergy-safe earrings is to paint the posts of your nickel earrings with a few coats of clear nail polish. The clear finish will act as a barrier between the earring metals and your ears once it dries. If you want to wear them more than a few times, you'll have to reapply clear polish on a regular basis to maintain 'hypoallergenic earring backs'.

2. Earring backs are the key to avoiding an earring allergy. If you have a pair of earrings that you love, but can't wear because they cause your ears to itch and turn red, slather on a few coats of vasoline or neosporin to create hypoallergenic earring backs. The layers of Vasoline or Neosporin serve as a barrier between the earring metals and your skin.

3. Avoid constant jewelry wear. Use the earring techniques above only for special occasions to avoid an earring allergy outbreak.



As you can see, there are a lot of options out there for allergy-free earrings. You just have to know where to look (hypoallergenic metals) and what steps to take before making a purchase. If you follow our advice, earring shopping will be a smooth and painless process. Good luck, earring lovers!