Earrings can be fun, pretty, and romantic. They’re the perfect little something to finish off an outfit for a date, or a fun extra on a casual day.
For some, buying earrings isn’t so easy. Some people have sensitive ears that don’t respond well to all types of jewelry.
If you’re in this category, or you’re buying for someone who is, here is a list of the best types of earrings for people with sensitive ears.
Choose Hypoallergenic Earrings
One tip for people with sensitive ears is to find earrings that are hypoallergenic.
Choosing hypoallergenic earrings can lessen the likelihood of irritation. However, it’s still possible to have a reaction with this type.
Generally, earrings that are labeled hypoallergenic use materials less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
The problem is, there is no standard for the hypoallergenic label. That means the earring could still be made from nickel but coated with another material. It can still cause an infection or irritation.
While hypoallergenic earrings can be helpful for those with a sensitivity, it’s more important to look at the actual material of the earrings.
2. Buy Nickel-Free Earrings
It’s a good rule of thumb for people with sensitive ears to only buy earrings that are nickel-free. Nickel is a common irritant for many people so it’s best to avoid if possible.
Because it’s a fairly inexpensive metal, it is found in a lot of earrings so read the labels carefully. Look for labels or product descriptions that say “nickel-free.”
Hypoallergenic earrings that are not nickel-free are often nickel earrings coated with another material. They look great at first, but as the finish wears off, the nickel begins to come through. That’s why it’s more important to choose nickel-free than hypoallergenic.
3. Gold, Platinum, and Silver Is a Good Choice
Those with sensitive ears may want to spend a little more to get earrings that are made from gold, platinum, or silver. These metals are far less likely to cause irritation than nickel.
If you’re purchasing gold, look for 14k gold purity or above. Often a lower amount of gold means there is a higher risk of allergenic metals mixed in like nickel or zinc.
You can choose 100% gold earrings, but remember pure gold is too soft to be a durable metal. It’s best if it is mixed with another quality metal.
If you like white gold, find out what metals were mixed to get the “white” look. The most popular ways to create white gold is to mix yellow gold alloyed with nickel or palladium. Since nickel is a common irritant, pick the white gold earrings mixed with palladium.
Silver is another fine choice for people with skin sensitivities. It’s hypoallergenic and not likely to cause an allergy. As with gold, it’s better to choose a sterling silver that is closer to pure. Most sterling silver earrings will be 92.5% pure. The silver may still be mixed with nickel, so if you have a severe allergy to nickel, be sure to find out what other metals are present in the earrings.
For most people, the trace amounts of nickel found in sterling silver will not cause a reaction.
4. Look for Titanium, Niobium, or Stainless Steel
Titanium is a lightweight metal and an excellent choice for people with a nickel allergy. It’s best to choose titanium earrings that are implant grade, medical grade, or commercially pure.
Niobium is often used in medical implants so it’s a popular choice for people with allergies. It’s not usually mixed with other metals so you can avoid accidentally coming in contact with other metals that are known irritants.
Stainless steel is used for surgical instruments and it’s rust resistant. Keep in mind that some steel is mixed with nickel, so be careful if you do purchase this metal. Try to find stainless steel jewelry that contains less than 1% nickel.
5. Plastic is Great for People with Sensitive Ears
If you want to find a nice pair of earrings without breaking the bank, try plastic earrings. They’re a great choice for people with a metal sensitivity.
Plastic earrings can come in a variety of fun and stylish designs, and they’re easier on the ears.
If you do have a metal sensitivity, pick earrings with plastic posts. It’s the part that will have the most contact with your ear.
As a reminder, plastic earrings should not be worn for more than 24 hours at a time.
Additional Tips for People with Sensitive Ears
Choosing the right earring type for your ears is a huge step in making sure your sensitive ears stay happy and healthy.
Here are some additional tips to reduce irritation or the risk of infection.
Have a Professional Pierce Your Ears
You may have watched a movie or TV show growing up that made it seem easy to pierce your own ears.
Save yourself a lot of trouble down the road and get your ears pierced professionally.
A professional will make sure everything is sterile and the process is smooth. This will help avoid bacterial infection or a piercing that just won’t heal correctly.
2. Keep up with Earring Hygiene
Sometimes your ears are sensitive in the short term because you’ve developed a bacterial infection. This may cause swelling, redness, pain, or even secretions.
To help prevent this or to cure an infection, keep things clean. Always wash your hands before you put in or take out your earrings. When you remove your earrings, use a sanitizing solution to clean your piercing and your earrings.
If the piercing is new, you can clean the area with saline solution twice a day.
3. Use Vaseline and Hydrogen Peroxide
Another thing you can do to keep your ears from reacting to your earrings is using vaseline and hydrogen peroxide.
First, clean your earrings with hydrogen peroxide. Then, coat the back of the earring with vaseline before you put it into your ear. This is a handy way of avoiding irritation.
Best Practices For Sensitive Ears
If you’ve been frustrated in the past by adorable earrings that left your ears sore, follow our guide above.
Finding adorable or elegant earrings for your next outing is completely possible, even if you have sensitive ears.
Just choose the right materials for your ears, and keep your earrings and piercings clean!