Raise your hand if you’ve gotten itchy lobes after donning a pair of earrings. You may have sensitive ears, and the cause of irritation is likely the type of metal in your jewelry.
“An allergy to nickel, which is mixed in with most gold jewelry (except 24k gold), is the probably culprit for your allergic reaction,” explains board-certified dermatologist Rosemarie Ingleton, MD. Symptoms typically include redness, itching, rash, and swelling around the earring area, she says. If this sounds all too familiar, she recommends cleaning your ear with fragrance-free soap and water before applying hydrocortisone cream to the affected place until it heals.
We hate to break it to you, but it could also be best to toss aside the styles you scored at your favorite fast-fashion retailer. While you should always double check the material content or packaging (some will denote "nickel-free"), Ingleton advises anyone with an allergy to “avoid wearing costume jewelry in general, as these are commonly made with nickel” to keep the manufacturing costs down.
So what sensitive-skin-friendly metals should you look for in earrings and other jewelry to prevent irritation? According to Ingleton, sterling silver (which is marked with a 925 stamp), 18k or 24k gold (which contains 75 percent or 100 percent pure gold, respectively), nickel-free stainless steel, and platinum are your safest bets since these metals are less likely to contain nickel. Yes, some of them may cost a bit more, but because they are so durable, these pieces will last longer in your jewelry box, too.
From studs to hoops to statement styles (and everything in between), we found the prettiest hypoallergenic earrings for sensitive pierced ears.