Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc (note: an alloy is a mixture of two or more metals). Brass has a gold like appearance, is very easy to work, and is very inexpensive, which makes it a commonly used metal in fashion jewelry. Gold toned jewelry that is not labeled with the type of metal used, is often made of brass. Additionally, when jewelry says "base metal" with plating or vermeil, the base metal is usually brass.
If you have sensitive ears, sensitive skin, or a known metal allergy, you may wonder if brass is a safe metal jewelry to wear. Some brass earrings have even been labeled as hypoallergenic earrings which can make it more confusing as to whether or not they are safe.
As we've discussed before, the term hypoallergenic is misleading and generally unhelpful. It literally means "less allergenic" or less likely to cause an allergic reaction--which basically means nothing. If you had a peanut allergy you would never buy food that said "less likely to have peanuts in it," so it doesn't make sense to buy earrings that are just less likely to cause a reaction.
Brass is not safe for sensitive ears or metal allergies for a couple reasons. Firstly, because it is an alloy. Alloys are problematic because they may contain trace metals that are highly reactive. Additionally, the electrochemical reaction between the two or more metals can cause allergic reactions.
Secondly, it is not safe for sensitive ears because the metals that are used to create brass (copper and zinc) are metals that will react with the human body. Even if brass does not cause a reaction at first, with regular contact your body will eventually build up an immunity to it. Once the immunity has developed, you will start experiencing contact dermatitis symptoms like itching, swelling, and soreness.
TLDR: no, brass earrings are not hypoallergenic earrings. To take it a step further, they are not safe for people with sensitive ears or metal allergies. The only truly hypoallergenic earrings are ones that are made with pure, non-reactive metals (like titanium).
If you have noticed contact dermatitis symptoms from earrings or jewelry, even hypoallergenic earrings, try our pure titanium starter studs. They are perfect for healing piercings and sensitive ears.
Best earrings for sensitive ears! I haven’t been able to wear any earrings since my kids that didn’t upset my ears. I haven’t had to take these out since I’ve received them. Just when I thought I had to be done wearing earrings because of the pain you came along. Thank you for making me feel pretty!
I'm in love! I haven't been able to wear earrings for a very long time, the last time I wore cheap earrings they practically ruined my piercings because they were so irritated. I love these earrings because I can wear them comfortably and safely, but they look AMAZING.
I had given up on earrings when I decided to try this material and I am so happy I did. They look cute, but most important, no allergies!