Archive | July, 2016

Which Earrings for Sensitive Ears?

Which Earrings for Sensitive Ears?

Which Earrings for Sensitive Ears?

JA406 Pearl Bead Dangle Earrings

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.

How can you tell if Jewelry is Nickel-Free?

How can you tell if Jewelry is Nickel-Free?

People with nickel sensitivities often ask: How can you tell if Jewelry is Nickel-Free?  With the prevalence of jewelry allergies, the terms “hypoallergenic” and “nickel-free” are used often in marketing nowadays. While the EU has placed restrictions on the sale of nickel, a metal that has been identified as a main cause of many metal allergies, in other countries, the term “nickel free” can be used freely, and is not subject to regulations. How can you be sure you are buying nickel-free jewelry?

 

What Causes Earring Allergies?

Allergies to jewelry are relatively common and cause many people to avoid wearing earrings altogether, or limit their selection. Fortunately, taking extreme measures such as this is not necessary, since there are many hypoallergenic jewelry options available, especially with increasing awareness about metal allergies.

An allergic reaction arises as a result of crystal-like flakes of the metal penetrating the skin after the metal gets wet, especially through perspiration. The result may be itching or red dots or swelling and extreme discomfort.

 

The Problem with Nickel

A large proportion of metal allergies are specifically to nickel, which is the material used often in jewelry making because of its durability and low price. Those with nickel allergies may want to avoid cheaper types of jewelry, such as earrings that are available for a few dollars at bargain retailers.

In addition, costume jewelry and second-hand earrings should be avoided, because they often contain large amounts of nickel. People with allergies should examine items carefully before purchasing them and to determine whether earrings are silver or silver plated. A plated item has base metals underneath which are likely to contain nickel.

 

Precious Metal Jewelry Might Not Be Nickel-Free

Those searching for hypoallergenic jewelry may prefer purer alloys and high-quality precious metals which tend to be more expensive and often offer no guarantee that the item is nickel-free. Even valuable varieties of gold may contain a portion of brass, copper and nickel. Those with less pronounced symptoms may avoid discomfort when they put on 14 karat gold earrings, for instance, even if there may be nickel in them. Others may wear silver, platinum or palladium comfortably in purer forms, although for those who are highly sensitive to nickel, the skin may react if there is more than a small amount of the metal present.

Stainless steel is a popular affordable metal used in hypoallergenic jewelry, and it is often thought to be nickel-free. One way of looking at it would be to use the term “virtually” nickel free. Some types of hypoallergenic earrings may contain nickel, but the metal exists in a form that, on a molecular level, suppresses the expression of certain qualities that give rise to allergic reaction. Therefore, there is nickel present, but it is not “available.”

One tool people with metal allergies use is a kit to test for certain metals. Statements made by shops and websites that items are tested as nickel-free may actually mean the nickel does not show up on the test and does not cause allergies. Customers can also confirm the results at home with a metal test kit, which contains small bottles of solution that can be rubbed onto jewelry and produces prompt results.