What Are The Best Earrings For Sensitive Ears?
To choose the best earrings for sensitive ears, you first have to understand what it really means to have sensitive ears.
First, what does it mean to have sensitive ears?
To you, having sensitive ears probably means that after a few minutes or hours of wearing earrings, your ears are swollen, red, itching, sore, and/or bleeding.
What having sensitive ears really means, is that you are allergic to the metals in the earrings you are wearing.
Metal allergies are contact allergies that develop over an extended period of time when your body is in regular contact with a reactive substance. Most metals are very reactive with the human body. Therefore, when you wear earrings made with reactive metals, your body starts to build up an immune response to those reactive metals. Eventually, once the immune response develops, your body will react the offending substances within minutes of its presence. This response can occur from contact with even trace amounts of the reactive metals.
Since metal allergies are contact allergies, your body's reaction to them only occurs when the metal is present. So, shortly after you take out your earrings, the reaction will subside.
This context about what metal allergies actually are is important to understand why companies use labels like hypoallergenic earrings and nickel free earrings to insinuate that they are safe for sensitive ears.
Hypoallergenic earrings literally means earrings that are less likely to cause an allergy or allergic reaction.
While hypoallergenic earrings, or earrings that are less likely to cause a reaction, sound like they would be the best for sensitive ears, it's actually a very misleading term.
Less likely to cause an allergy does not mean that the product will not cause an allergy. If you have an allergy to something, you want to be 100% sure that the product you are using does not contain materials that will cause an allergic reaction.
Additionally, there are no rules or regulations on using the phrase hypoallergenic earrings. Any company can call their products hypoallergenic, even if there is no truth that there product is less likely to cause a reaction.
Nickel free earrings are earrings that do not contain nickel, which is a very common allergy-causing metal. Unfortunately, many metals besides nickel can cause allergies, so nickel free earrings are not guaranteed to be safe for sensitive ears.
So, what are the best earrings for sensitive ears?
What you actually want to look for, are earrings made with pure, non-reactive metals. Sometimes these are called non-allergenic earrings or biocompatible earrings, but again, there are no rules or regulations so companies can use these labels misleadingly.
To be totally sure that the earrings you purchase are safe for sensitive ears, you should always verify the metals that the earrings are made with.
There are a couple metals that are safe for sensitive ears because they are non-reactive with the human body. This means that even after extended periods of time, the body does not build up an immune response to these metals. The best metals for sensitive ears are titanium, niobium, platinum, and gold. The most important thing to know is that these metals MUST be in their pure form to be considered safe and non-reactive. If these metals are mixed with any other metals, even in trace amounts, the other metals can cause a reaction.
Bottom line: the best earrings for sensitive ears are earrings made with pure, non-reactive metals. Look for earrings made with pure titanium, pure niobium, 24k gold, or 24k platinum.
For more information about metal allergies, hypoallergenic earrings, and ear piercing care, visit our resources page.