I still vividly remember getting my ears pierced. I must have been around 7 years old. We picked out the prettiest little earrings, pink hearts. We sat down, and in a flash, we had the surgical steel earrings. Once we were done, we got strict instructions from my mother.
“You must not touch them or play with them,” she said. It’s been over 20 years. However, my experience with earrings has been quite contrary to what I imagined it to be. I wanted to wear earrings, but unfortunately, I always end up taking them off because of the irritation they cause me.
I began to wonder what kind of earrings for sensitive ears would be available to me? This was when I started to look into hypoallergenic earrings for sensitive ears.
The ear piercing is an extremely common practice for girls as young as one and an ever-growing trend amongst men. However, sometimes sensitive ears make wearing earrings very challenging and painful. When your ears become irritated very easily, wearing earrings is a challenging and painful experience. Anyone who has sensitive ears knows the frustration when you can’t simply walk into a store and choose any pair of earrings that takes your fancy.
Unfortunately, some individuals have highly sensitive earlobes which are at risk of developing reactions when exposed to certain metals. This means that those with sensitive skin need to choose their earrings far more carefully to avoid irritation or allergic reactions occurring.
The good news is that there are a number of earring types available which are ideal for sensitive ears.
Before we discuss more about the type of earrings to choose, here are a few helpful hints to reduce irritation occurring in the first place:
1. Have your ears pierced by a professional
It goes without saying that your ears should be pierced professionally, however, it is so often the case that people take the risk and try and pierce their ears themselves or by a friend with a needle, apple, and ice. This, of course, wouldn’t be advised, as professionals carry out the procedure carefully and cleanly.
A professional will also know exactly where to pierce the ear lobe. Where you place the piercing can impact the healing process. A wrongly placed piercing can not only take longer to heal but can also lead to other complications.
Your ears are at serious risk of infection due to the fact the needle needs to be completely sterile. If a reaction ever does occur in these circumstances, be sure to contact your doctor for advice.
2. Keep your ears clean
Once the ears have been pierced, it’s essential that you keep them clean and germ-free; again, to prevent the risk of infection occurring.
Short-term sensitivity caused by a piercing is prone to infection, therefore even a simple touch of a dirty finger touching the ear can cause bacterial growth.
If you notice any redness, swelling or pain, it’s likely that infection has set in. Prevent bacterial infections by cleaning the ear with antiseptic lotion on a daily basis.
Which earrings should you avoid?
When sensitive skin comes in contact with certain metals, it can be extremely disastrous. A mix of metals can create problems, especially when perspiring, which can then go on to cause a reaction.
For me, it always started with a little itch. It didn’t seem like much, now, and again I would tug at my ears. Doing those little tugs all day long would end up in an irritating red ear lobe. By night time, I would be relieved to remove my earring and place some ice on it to cool it down.
Irritation is likely to occur almost immediately if you don’t spend time choosing earrings for sensitive ears and in rare cases, could become quite serious. Some metals to avoid include nickel and brass.
Which metals for sensitive skin are safe?
After looking around, I found the best earrings for sensitive ears can be down to the metal. This was when I came across nickel free earrings. This opened up a whole world of earrings that are free of certain metals.
Now we have established what to avoid, take a look at these earrings that have been deemed safe for sensitive ears:
1. Sterling silver
Sterling silver is one of the most typically worn metals for sensitive skin. It consists of a blend of 90% silver with a hint of copper.
If you doubt the purity of the silver, it’s always best to ask the sales assistant. You will find silver may tarnish over a while. It’s still perfectly safe to wear your earrings. A little bit of polish should help clean up the tarnish.
Titanium is considered another trustworthy material for sensitive skin, due to the fact that only 4% of the world’s population has been reported to have had an allergic to it.
When you purchase titanium earrings, make sure that you check the backs that are used to secure the jewelry. If they are not made from titanium, then they might irritate your ears.
Very sturdy and skin-friendly, titanium is also often used for medical purposes such as hip or knee replacements, as the body very rarely rejects this type of metal.
3. Stainless steel
Although stainless steel isn’t completely nickel free (due to containing between 8-12%), it is considered one of the very few metals to cause allergies and is the perfect earrings for sensitive ears, therefore, is suitable for almost anyone to wear.
You will find most of the fast fashion earrings are made from stainless steel. Hence its quite easy to get your hands on some stainless steel earrings. Even though its stainless steel it does come in different finishes.
What’s more, it is often priced far cheaper than any other metal when it comes to purchasing jewelry, which is a real bonus.
4. Gold earrings
Gold is not only a financial investment but also an investment in your health. It is worth every penny you pay.
Gold earrings have been worn for centuries and have truly stood the test of time for jewelry wearers. The pure gold alongside the silver and copper are a winning combination for your ears. Realistically, the gold should be 14k or above if you wish to wear the earrings for long periods of time.
If you think that gold is more of a mature metal to wear, nowadays you can find some fantastic modern jewelry made with gold giving it a chic look.
White gold, palladium, and rhodium are also completely safe. Upon initially getting your ears pierced, it’s likely that you’ll be told to wear gold studs (often with surgical steel backs) to reduce any further risks in the early stages.
5. Platinum earrings
Once you have gotten older, you would have graduated out of the stainless steel and sterling silver earrings. You would want more timeless pieces that you could add to your collection. This is when Platinum will be your metal of choice.
Strong and robust, platinum is a rare and luxurious element that was first discovered in the earth. Earrings have been made out of platinum as they are known to work tough against corrosion, which means they’re unlikely to rust and cause infection to the ear.
Although platinum is typically more expensive than other metals, it is certainly worth the investment if you’re looking for earrings for sensitive ears, especially if you choose to wear them constantly.
You may not have heard of niobium. However, it can be the next best thing that happened to you. Niobium earrings are not hard to find. They are also not expensive and can be an excellent option for a teenager. It usually comes in an oxidized silver finish.
Similarly to titanium and platinum, niobium is a chemical element and is also frequently used within medical procedures and to make jewelry.
This metal type can be anodized, meaning it can be transformed into attractive vibrant shades, making this type of earring the perfect choice for adding a pop of color to your outfit.
7. Plastic earrings
If you have a fear of wearing metal and don’t want to take even the slightest risk of being exposed to allergies, then you could always try wearing plastic as an alternative. These will make cute earrings for sensitive skin.
The great thing about earrings made out of plastic, silicone, and acrylic is that they’re very inexpensive to buy, so even if you lose one, it won’t cost you very much to replace them. Lightweight in design, they’re unlikely to pull down on the lobe unlike metals, so are perhaps more comfortable to wear for long periods.
Although plastic are good earrings for sensitive ears, please do be aware that earrings made of any form of plastic shouldn’t be worn for more than 24 hours at a time.
8. Nylon earrings
Similarly, to plastic earrings, nylon earrings don’t contain any metal at all, meaning there’s a very slim chance that any type of reaction will occur.
What do you need to know about hypoallergenic earrings?
You may come across earrings which are labeled ‘hypoallergenic’, which means that the material used is far less likely to cause an allergic reaction, however, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are guaranteed not to cause an infection.
Hypoallergenic earrings simply means that there is no nickel on the surface, unlike most other earrings, but are instead coated in nickel.
How to allergy-proof your existing metal earrings and turn them into earrings for sensitive ears
If you have recently become allergic to metal earrings and already have a vast selection of earrings that you can’t bear to get rid of, then there is a simple hack you can use to allergy-proof your existing earrings. Here are a few helpful hints:
- Nylon or plastic covers can be purchased for screw backs so the metal doesn’t touch the skin.
- Treat the metal with antibiotic ointment. If you don’t have any, a simple coating of Vaseline or clear nail varnish should also do the trick.
- Replace the existing hooks with hypoallergenic hooks.
We hope this article has given you the confidence that you can wear earrings, regardless of any allergies or sensitivities you may have – be sure to ask if you’re ever unsure about whether or not the earrings are best suited to you.
Do you have any suggestions for the best earrings for sensitive ears?
Share in the comments below!