Many people love to give or receive a beautiful pair of earrings, but the gift may be less than welcome if it causes allergic symptoms. So the question is: which earrings for sensitive ears? Unfortunately, allergic reaction to earrings is not uncommon, and led the EU to impose a ban on selling nickel jewelry in 2000. The reason for this regulation is that nickel tends to be identified as the cause of many earring allergies. It also happens to be a popular alloy used in many metal blends involved in the production of jewelry.
The metal’s durability, long-life and low costs are reasons jewelry makers like to use alloys that include nickel for the base metal. While this might result in a durable, inexpensive set of earrings for many people, those allergic to nickel cannot wear such earrings comfortably.
Hope for Metal Allergy Sufferers
People who are allergic to nickel may suffer after putting on any form of nickel jewelry, but particularly pierced earrings, since the posts or wires penetrate the skin of the ear. An allergic reaction develops when part of the nickel dissolves into small crystals when exposed to moisture, such as perspiration. As a result, the ears can become red, itch, and swell.
Those who suffer from these symptoms should look for jewelry made of hypoallergenic metals. Much of the jewelry marketed as hypoallergenic is made of gold, platinum, copper, titanium and stainless steel.
What about Gold and Silver?
The purity of gold is measured in karats, which is translated to indicate how much pure gold is in the earring and how much is made of alloy metals. Therefore, certain forms of gold are likely to contain traces of metals that might potentially cause allergic reactions. When the karats of gold reaches 24, that is the maximum percentage of gold. In other words, 24k gold is 100% pure gold, and there is nothing better for plating hypoallergenic jewelry to make gold earrings.
In addition, many types of jewelry containing precious metals have alloys with various metals as the base. Therefore, often gold and silver earrings may be nickel in disguise, because that is what the center of the piece of jewelry is made of.
What is Hypoallergenic Jewelry?
Pure precious metals, which can be costly, are often advertised as hypoallergenic. This jewelry can be said to be reliably hypoallergenic if it has passed certain tests indicating an absence of metals that cause irritation.
A less expensive metal used in hypoallergenic jewelry is surgical stainless steel, which is durable and very unlikely source of irritation. While some forms of hypoallergenic stainless steel jewelry contain trace amounts of nickel, the nickel is so tightly bound on a molecular level that these pieces will test negative for nickel. These tests demonstrate that the skin does not detect the presence of the metal and won’t show allergic symptoms.
Earrings made of relatively pure forms of precious metal and hypoallergenic stainless steel are much less likely to cause irritation than regular jewelry. Purchasing jewelry that has tested negative for nickel protects against irritation and the return of allergic symptoms. This is jewelry that you can enjoy day after day without any worries.