Sensitive ears are no joke. If your ear suffers an allergic reaction to metal or responds poorly to piercing, the effect can be horrifying: blisters, swelling, peeling skin, and unsightly seepage. Given the options available to modern designers, nobody should have to settle for anything less than a pair of earrings that are simultaneously beautiful and hypoallergenic.
Unfortunately, this is still an issue for many women. We at BARONS Jewelers love earrings and want our customers to be 100 percent satisfied with the glittering treasures they wear to frame their faces, which is why we want to present a quick guide to buying earrings for people with sensitive ears!
The Problem with Nickel
When you purchase a luxury pair of white gold earrings, you may be so enamored with their beauty that you may not even realize what goes into them! Nickel is one of the most common metal allergens, but it's also one of the most common alloying metals due to its affordability, durability, and ease in mixing with other metals.
The biggest culprits for nickel allergies are white-toned metals, since nickel doesn't interfere with the white of these metals. If you're shopping for a white pair of earrings, it may be best to stick to designers like Michael M who control the alloys used in their pieces. The most common alternative to nickel in high-quality white gold alloys is palladium, which is naturally hypoallergenic. Rhodium, which is also used to plate white gold, is also hypoallergenic (though you'll need to come back in occasionally to have it re-plated!).
While sterling silver earrings are a great alternative, since silver is naturally hypoallergenic, remember to keep nickel in mind while shopping: Sterling silver is 92.5 percent silver and the rest is alloy. Some designers will use nickel for the alloy, which means it's important to only buy earrings that are clearly marked as nickel-free.
Alternatives to Piercing
If you have chronic sensitivity to piercings, it can be a definite challenge to wear a gorgeous pair of diamond earrings. If you're in the camp of people who develop keloids, or your body frequently rejects piercings, piercing isn't on the table. You may want to look into methods of wearing earrings.
The most common alternatives are the clip-on or screw-back earrings. Thanks to the soft nature of the earlobe, these styles allow a woman to have confidence that her earrings won't fall off—while simultaneously avoiding the issues that come along with piercing.
Additional Tips to Keep in Mind for People with Sensitive Ears
First of all, we at BARONS Jewelers advise our customers to never get their ears pierced at any location that uses a “piercing gun.” These devices cause serious trauma to the earlobe that can cause scarring or infections—which can be a real problem with sensitive ears. Additionally, they can never fully be cleaned, which is a further invitation for infection. Only trust a piercer who's a member of the Association of Professional Piercers.
If you aren't confident about the quality of your earrings, the ideal choice is to stick to trusted designers like Tacori. But if you've inherited some earrings or got some as a gift, you may choose to paint the post or hook with some clear nail-polish. This doesn't negatively affect the quality of the earring, nor is it visible. But it does protect your ear from direct contact with the metal.
And don't always wear the same pair of earrings, or sleep in them! Even if you don't have a sensitivity to a particular metal like nickel, copper, or silver, it's possible to develop an allergy over time. Minimize your contact with the metal to keep yourself secure.
If you'd like to find out more about earring safety or the earrings we offer at BARONS Jewelers, call us at (925) 297 6329 or visit us at our Dublin, California showroom!