Earrings for sensitive ears are selling like hotcakes nowadays thanks to the growing instances of jewelry allergy. But what exactly is jewel allergy and how do you get one? Also how can you avoid it? How can you find jewelry that won't irritate your skin?
These are some of the questions we answer today.
Why do we have jewelry allergy?
Jewelry allergy is mostly caused by metal such as nickel, cobalt and chromium. The reason these metals cause allergy is unknown as of this writing, but one study says that when nickel is absorbed in the skin it activates a part of the skin that releases some kind of hormone that triggers allergic reactions.
About 17% of women and 3% of men experience metal allergy, particularly to nickel; hence, more women are looking for earrings for sensitive ears.
How Does One Know Which Metal Causes Allergy?
WebMD recommends patch testing so you know what exactly is causing your allergies. This is how patch testing is done:
“During a patch test, very small quantities of potential allergens (including nickel) are applied to your skin and covered with small patches. The patches remain on your skin for two days before the doctor removes them. If you have a nickel allergy, the skin under the nickel patch will be inflamed when the patch is removed or in the days after removal of the patch.”
Is it safe?
Yes. Because the metal quantity is “very small” it will not put you in any danger. It will only initiate mild reactions from your skin.
Doing a patch test is a good option so you know which metals to avoid. You could be buying all the earrings for sensitive ears but still gets negative reaction from your skin. Knowing exactly which triggers reactions is certainly helpful.
Consider These When Choosing Earrings For Sensitive Ears
Always go for hypoallergenic earrings. Jewelry makers are aware of metal allergy so they [should] always indicate whether an article may cause allergic reactions or not. To check, you may go to each product and look for the word “hypoallergenic.” If you don’t see one, you may ask the seller directly or assume that the item may irritate your skin.
Choose the right metal. Your best bet for sensitive years are surgical stainless steel, 18 or 24 carat gold, sterling silver 925, or pure platinum. Although for some individuals, 14-carat gold does the trick too. However, you have to be careful because anything that is not pure is mixed with other metal. For example, a 24-carat gold means it contains 99.9% gold plus 0.1% of other metal. If it's 18-carat gold it means it’s 75% gold and 25% another metal. So to get the best earrings for sensitive ears, you have to ask the maker which metals are mixed with gold. For silver jewelry, sterling silver means it's 92.5% pure silver then it's alloyed with copper. Stay away from silver-plated jewelry because silver-plating means it's base is metal that may contain nickel then it coated with silver alloy.
Titanium jewelry is now a thing, so maybe you can look into that option as well.
Replace the hooks. A.J. Conell of Geek Mom shared several tips to deal with jewel allergy, and she shared that replacing the hooks with surgical-grade steel did the trick. In other words, she reconstructed her earrings. She writes:
“The verdict: Cheap and effective, but you will have to learn some jewelry repair skills, and you may also want to pick up jewelry repair pliers. In my case, the up-front investment of about $16 (hooks and jewelry repair kit) has been worth it.”
Besides surgical-grade steel, you may also try replacing the hooks with titanium. Geek Mom’s reader comments titanium worked for her.
Another options you have are Niobium and plastic posts and hooks.
Ask for stopper replacement. Some jewelry makers like us offer stopper replacement. By default all stoppers are metal, but you may ask for plastic stoppers and we’d gladly replace them for you.
This lessens the chance of your skin being in contact with metal all the time.
Don’t use nail polish and Neosporin. You may have seen several posts claiming that coating your earrings’ hooks with nail polish or Neosporin will protect your skin from the metal that causes allergy. That may not be entirely true.
That’s because these two contain substances that may also cause skin irritation. One user commented that Neosporin contains zinc oxide, which is another metal base. That translates to another metal allergy.
Nail polish, on the other hand, has formaldehyde resin in it which also triggers skin irritation.
Choose jewelry shield or jewelry coatings instead. If you don’t have time to replace the hooks but would still love to wear your favorite filigree earrings, apply a coat or two of jewelry shield or coating. Conell says, “This product, which looks just like clear nail polish (different ingredients, though) is under $10 and available online. I put mine on a pair of silver studs and wore them for hours...it’s a pain to put on, and you’ll need a couple coats, but it’s better than the nail polish.”
Others recommend using specialty products such as Nickel Guard and Jeweler’s Skin Guard. Users swore by their effectiveness. However, there are a few who did not like the result, so you have to try one at your own risk.
Don’t use Vaseline either. Other people think that Vaseline creates a barrier between the metal and your skin, thus preventing metal allergy. But in reality Vaseline can’t transform your regular earrings into earrings for sensitive ears just like that.
That is because Vaseline gets absorbed by your skin. It doesn’t stay on to the earring posts so once you slide them into your piercings, Vaseline is rubbed off and goes into your skin. And now there’s no barrier between your skin and the metal.
Have a steroid cream on hand. You’ll never know when you’ll have allergic reactions to your favorite leaf earrings, so it’s always a good idea to have steroid cream ready all the time.
This cream will help you get rid of the rash fast. But if an over-the-counter cream doesn’t help, you have to see a dermatologist so you can get a stronger prescription.
We hope this post helped you. If you know any tips or tricks you’d like others to know, please share them here. We’d love to learn how else we can help each other enjoy our favorite jewelry pieces without fear.
Also, if you think some one may benefit from this, please share this article with them.
photo credits: https://beautyzoomin.net/
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