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What Kind of Earrings are Best For Sensitive Ears?

Having sensitive ears can making wearing earrings uncomfortable; so uncomfortable, in fact, that you might not want to wear them at all. It can be difficult to find a pair that don’t cause irritation, but the fact is, the likely cause of the irritation is a nickel allergy. Nickel is a metal found in many alloys, and a large percentage (10-20%) of the population is actually allergic to this metal. Keep reading to learn more about nickel and what kind of earrings you should choose if you have sensitive ears.

Nickel Allergies?

Nickel is used quite often in jewelry as a base metal. The piece is formed with nickel and then plated with the precious metal (often gold or silver). Nickel is cheap, easy to work with, and holds a shape well. It also aids in preventing corrosion. Unfortunately, nickel can also be harmful to humans.

Nickel can cause an allergic reaction in some people in the form of a rash, boils, or other skin condition. This makes wearing certain jewelry nearly impossible for those with severe enough allergies, as the itching, irritation, and even pain that accompanies it is simply too much.

Some people will assume they’re allergic to gold or silver, when in fact, they’re likely allergic to the nickel base beneath the precious metals. The cheaper the jewelry, the more nickel is likely to be used, and the worse the allergic reaction will be.

Hypoallergenic Jewelry

Hypoallergenic jewelry can be an option for those suffering from a nickel allergy. Although many jewelers claim that their hypoallergenic jewelry is “nickel-free”, that is not always the case, and the metal alloys may, in fact, contain a trace amount of nickel. This can cause the rash to reappear over time, making your hypoallergenic jewelry useless.

If you’re purchasing hypoallergenic jewelry, it’s important to ask for or research the metallurgic content of the piece. You can actually purchase nickel testing kits that will let you know how much nickel content is present in a piece of jewelry. Try this the next time you purchase hypoallergenic jewelry to get a better idea of just how hypoallergenic it really is.

Purchasing high-quality jewelry made of pure precious metals is one of the best ways to avoid the allergy altogether. 24k gold is 99% pure gold, and will only contain trace amounts of other metals, which usually isn’t nickel. Be sure you’re purchasing from a reputable jeweler, and don’t be afraid to ask for the metallurgic content of any piece you intend to purchase.

Nickel-Free Jewelry

For sensitive ears and nickel allergies, this is the best route to take when purchasing jewelry. Nickel-free jewelry will contain no nickel, not even as a base metal, so you can be sure you’ll be able to wear your jewelry with maximum comfort.

Nickel-free jewelry is either made from an alternative material (such as medical-grade plastics) or is simply crafted from higher-quality, more pure metals. Titanium, for example, makes an excellent base metal and is corrosion resistant and strong. Pure gold is a softer metal, but less likely to cause a reaction, as is the same with pure silver, platinum, etc.

The purer your metal is, the better. Nickel has been identified as a carcinogen by The CDC, meaning continued exposure to certain nickel compounds can actually cause cancer. Your diamond and silver necklace likely won’t give you lung cancer, but if you can eliminate or reduce your exposure to nickel, (which is in everyday products in trace amounts) you also help reduce your risk for further health complications from overexposure.

Where Do I Find Nickel-Free Jewelry?

You can certainly ask your jeweler at your favorite jewelry store if they stock nickel-free options, or you can go the expensive route and only buy the purest gold or silver. Medical-grade plastic jewelry is another option, but, of course, you won’t get the luster you’re looking for from plastic, no matter what the quality is.

Another option is to subscribe to an earring subscription box for hypoallergenic earrings. HeyRowan offers such boxes at reasonable prices, and you’ll get to choose the precious metal you’d like your earrings to be made from. You’ll receive a box every month with a pair of fresh, nickel-free earrings that you can wear again and again with no discomfort.

The earrings are crafted from quality materials with care and precision, so you’ll be getting jewelry store-esque service and quality right from the comfort of your home. No more visiting busy stores or spending a small fortune to get what you’re looking for. For just $19.95/month, you can get a new set of sterling silver earrings delivered straight to your door.

Conclusion

Remember that nickel is used in a much higher content in cheaper jewelry, so be careful which jewelry you’re purchasing if you have an allergy to the metal. The purer the metal is, the better off you’ll be. Pure gold, silver, titanium, and platinum jewelry won’t contain nickel, and you can always check with your jeweler or purchase a testing kit just to be sure.

Nickel is everywhere and can be dangerous if you’re exposed to too much of it for too long. The more you reduce your nickel exposure, the better off your body will be. Allergic reactions are one thing, but when nickel exposure develops into further complications, it can become dangerous and even life-threatening. Keep your skin and the rest of your body safe by choosing only high-quality, nickel-free jewelry.

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