If you have sensitive skin and/or nickel allergies, you will notice that you are one to tread on the side of caution when it comes to jewelry. And finding jewelry that doesn’t cause irritation is a challenge, which means that when you get lucky to find jewelry that works, you will wear it most of the time. Trying out new jewelry is not your most favorite thing to do, but you also know that you wouldn’t mind wearing a nice pair of gold earrings.
So what happens when you come across the perfect pair of gold earrings, and you are still skeptical? Should you be worried about allergies to gold earrings? This article addresses all matters, gold earrings and allergies.
Can you be allergic to gold earrings?
Yes, you could be allergic to even the highest quality gold earrings. Read the detailed reason below.
Why are you allergic to gold earrings?
The primary reason why you would be allergic to gold earrings is that the earrings are made of gold and gold alloys. The gold alloys are lower karatage gold (not 24 karats) gold and they are a recommended class of gold alloys because they are stronger and more durable than 24k gold.
Pure, 24k gold is too soft and malleable, and it isn’t used in jewelry. So, anything advertised as solid gold jewelry is a gold alloy.
Now, to create the gold alloy, whether 10k, 14k, or 18k, gold is mixed with metals like copper, nickel, and silver. Nickel is often present in gold alloys, and since nickel is the leading cause of allergies to gold and other metals used in jewelry, there is a high likelihood of you being allergic to gold earrings.
Signs & Symptoms of Earring Allergies With 10karat and 14Karat Gold
If you are experiencing an allergic reaction to 10k or 14k gold earrings, there are classic symptoms that you’ll notice.
Generally, an allergic reaction to jewelry would be localized, and there may be some mild irritation on the pierced site. In severe cases, however, the allergic reaction may be widespread and rather painful. As mentioned above, the most common cause of these allergies is the presence of nickel in the gold alloy.
Some of the signs and symptoms to look out for include:
Allergic contact dermatitis – in most cases, allergic reactions to the gold earrings would manifest as contact dermatitis. This is characterized by swelling, reddening, and the development of rashes on the skin and the area in contact with the earrings. Often, these symptoms would appear between 24-48 hours after your skin is exposed to the irritant in the earrings.
The common symptoms of allergic contact dermatitis include a rash, swelling, redness, peeling, itching, blistering, and dark spots.
Keep in mind that the inflammations will vary from mildly irritated to severe open sores, depending on the amount of nickel in the earrings and your body’s immune reaction to the allergen.
The other important consideration you need to keep in mind is the frequency of allergic reactions. While you may not experience a severe or any allergic reaction to the gold earrings the first few weeks when you wear the earrings, you may still experience allergies from the gold earrings. This often happens because the gold molecules tend to wear out with time, especially for the gold plated jewelry, and this means that the moment the safe and nickel free plated layer wears out, your earlobes are exposed to the nickel, among other metal alloys.
You also need to note that once you develop a sensitivity reaction to the metallic allergen, even a rather brief contact/ exposure to the allergen will cause the allergy symptoms.
- Choose Higher Karat Gold
10K and 14k gold earrings contain substantially more nickel and copper because they have 42 and 58.5% pure gold, respectively. With more metal alloys needed to create the gold alloys, it means that these varieties of gold contain more nickel and copper, among other allergens.
It also means that you could reduce your risk of gold allergies significantly by wearing higher karat gold earrings. 18k gold, for example, contains 75% pure gold, and the metal alloys form only 25% of its composition. This means that a very small amount of the metal alloys contain nickel, hence a lower risk of allergies.
- 18K Rose Gold
You could also opt for rose gold earrings because they are free of nickel. While rose gold is not 100% hypoallergenic because of the presence of copper, which may cause a green discoloration, it’s free of nickel, which makes it a good enough option if you don’t mind a little discoloration (if your body reacts with the copper. We recommend 18k rose gold earrings.
- Hypoallergenic Metals
If you struggle with allergies, even with 18k gold earrings, it might be time for you to buy more of the earrings made of hypoallergenic metals. The hypoallergenic metals are free of nickel, among other popular allergens, which makes them a preferable and safer option for you. Some of the best hypoallergenic metals include:
Wear platinum earrings instead. Platinum is a beautiful precious metal, and it is also significantly more rare than gold. It’s also substantially more durable than gold. Regarding its appearance, you may like platinum’s luxurious natural white hue, which is tarnish-free. Also, platinum gets better with time, especially because it will develop a lustrous patina over time. That said, the platinum jewelry would be hypoallergenic and 100% free of the harmful alloys that cause irritation.
Used in body implants and hip replacements, titanium would be a preferable metal option for you if you are allergic to most other metals.
- Sterling Silver
This will be a preferable and safer option for you if you are allergic to gold earrings and most other metals. Sterling silver earrings are made of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. There are few instances where nickel might make its way into sterling silver, but for the most part, sterling silver is nickel-free.
So, if you have been struggling with allergies to your gold earrings, you should stop blaming yourself. The reactions are normal, and you shouldn’t worry about switching to safer metals.
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.