As a hypoallergenic jewellery shop, we write about things that help you understand what to buy as it can be very confusing when so many jewellery shops say they sell earrings for sensitive ears. We want to give you information based on science.
Up to 17% of women complain of ear sensitivity. This can be as minor as a slight itchiness and pain or major as bleeding. We normally tend to the blame the earrings, but they aren’t the culprit. The cause of this issue is the metal your earrings are made of. So, the best way to avoid this is to choose your earrings carefully. Not all metals are made equal. Here is your best option for earrings for sensitive ears.
Why are my ears sensitive to certain types of jewellery?
The symptoms are caused when the body's immune system starts to view metal ions as foreign threats. The cells that make up the immune system normally kill foreign bacteria and viruses by causing inflammation. They begin attacking metal ions in your body.
Sensitive ears are typically caused by wearing earrings containing metals that can cause allergies. Nickel is the biggest offender causing sensitivity. Interestingly, nickel is in most stainless-steel earrings.
While most costume earrings contain nickel, even precious metal like gold and silver can contain nickel. People often make the conclusion based on their unscientific test they are allergic to silver or gold when this happens, but in actuality they’re only allergic to the nickel.
If your ears are sensitive to metal allergies, you may experience many uncomfortable symptoms. These symptoms may only happen after 4 or 5 hours leading you to conclude you can only wear earrings or studs for a short time. Being selective with the metals you choose for your earrings is the best way to avoid this issue. Also, you must be absolutely sure that the earrings are actually what they claim to be. This can be tricky.
What are Hypoallergenic Metals?
To be sure that the earrings you’ve chosen will not irritate your ears, ensure that you choose the right metal. Below are listed the best metals for earrings for sensitive ears.
Titanium Earrings – Titanium is a durable, hypoallergenic metal that almost never causes allergies. A benefit of titanium is that even though it’s as strong as steel, it is lighter and therefore more comfortable to wear.
High-Karat Gold Earrings– Gold is a good metal for sensitive ears. However, gold alloys are mixed with metals such as nickel and zinc which are the cause of the allergies. It’s best to stick with gold above 14K like 18K and 22K gold as these contain more gold and very little nickel. The problem with this is the cost. Also, how can you prove that the gold used is above 14K. Certainly not by looking at it.
Niobium Earrings – It can be as good as titanium for Sensitive Ears. It can be harder to find niobium earrings as is not mainstream and isn’t as well-known as the other metals mentioned in this article.
Plastic Earrings – A very affordable option, plastic is ideal for those with metal allergies and can be a solution for your sensitive ears. However, note that plastic earrings often look cheap and the post can be bigger in diameter to avoid breakage and therefore difficult to go into the piercing. They are also not as durable.
Plated Metals – Plated metals, often cause allergies because they’re normally made of base metals like nickel or zinc. When the plating wears off, your skin comes into contact with these metals and causes skin reactions. Also, what is in the plating? If they are plating with gold, is it above 14K? Good questions to keep in mind.
What Are Hypoallergenic Earrings?
Unfortunately, in the jewelry industry, there is no standard for hypoallergenic earrings. Any jeweler can claim their products are hypoallergenic. Therefore, you must buy from a trust worthy company that tests for the proper grade of titanium and be sure that the jewelry store can prove they are truly hypoallergenic and therefore for sensitive ears.
As noted above titanium is one the best metals for earrings. This is why doctors use titanium in hip and other replacements. Titanium is truly hypoallergenic, strong, and light and the best metal for Sensitive Ears.