Despite your best efforts and dedication in searching for the safest earrings that will not cause an allergic reaction, and even knowing you need earrings that are free of metals like nickel, there is a chance that the earrings that you have come to love may trigger an allergic reaction, especially if you have very sensitive ears.
Unfortunately, allergic reactions mean being off earrings for at least a few days or even weeks, and this would only happen if you know how to treat the allergic reactions.
Naturally, you will stop wearing that pair of earrings that was the cause of trouble in the first place, but knowing the right thing to do when you have an allergic reaction is essential in ensuring proper healing and avoiding further damage to the ears.
Therefore, in this article, we’ll take you through the basics of allergic reactions to earrings and how to treat the allergies right.
How to treat an allergic reaction to earrings
If you’re wondering, allergies to earrings often result from some allergic reaction to a metal such as nickel. And though it often takes repeated exposure for your body to develop the adverse reactions to nickel, it will keep happening.
Eventually, your body’s immune system launches an adverse reaction when it comes into contact with nickel, resulting in contact dermatitis.
The common symptoms of the allergic reaction include redness, swelling, warmth, irritation or itchiness, warmth, rashes, bumps, dry patches, and in extreme cases, it will cause blistering and fluid draining.
Now that you know what to expect, how do you treat allergic reactions to jewelry?
1. First, remove the jewelry.
The first thing you need to do to treat an allergic reaction to earrings is to remove them.
So, if you suspect a pair of earrings to be the reason for the allergic reactions, you should take them off and stop wearing them for some days to see how the skin reacts.
2. Steroid cream application
After removing the earrings, clean the affected area gently with a clean, damp cloth (warm, soapy water and cleaning with a soft cloth is also recommended and will help prevent infections), then dry the area and apply steroid cream on the rash to allow its healing.
You could see a dermatologist, especially if the allergy has been recurring, and they will prescribe a corticosteroid cream. You may also get a prescription for a non-steroidal cream, oral antihistamines, or oral corticosteroids. These prescribed medications will help relieve irritation and reduce the symptoms of allergies.
The good news is that you can also buy the corticosteroid ointment cream as an over-the-counter medication/ cream that will help reduce the itching.
3. Soothe the affected area with Calamine lotion or other lotions
In other instances, you may have to use soothing lotions or emollient creams like calamine lotion or even mineral oil and petroleum jelly.
These will ease itching, and you only need to make sure that you apply the moisturizer regularly – this is what acts as your skin’s natural barrier that often has been disrupted by different kinds of allergens like nickel.
Avoid over-the-counter medications.
Although it may seem easy and ideal to walk into the drug store to buy an ointment or lotion to help with an allergic flare-up, you have to know precisely what you need to buy and avoid.
Most of the available over-the-counter treatment options like antibiotic creams may come highly recommended. Still, they may not be ideal or safe, especially if they contain ingredients like neomycin which only worsen allergic reactions.
So, before you buy or apply such creams to the affected areas, please make sure you understand what the ingredients incorporated are, how they work, and their effectiveness in case of allergic reactions.
In case of severe allergic reactions or if the allergies don’t seem to get better after taking oral steroids or topical treatments, you may have to seek alternative treatment options like phototherapy. This is, of course, as per the recommendation of an expert dermatologist, and it should also be done by licensed personnel.
Essentially, phototherapy involves exposing your skin to a controlled amount of artificial UV light. It has to be done carefully, and under specific conditions, so it is always the last resort and why a professional should handle it all.
5. Cool compress
If there is too much itching and the area is too warm, the best thing you do to reduce the itchy sensation is to keep the area moisturized with petroleum jelly and then apply a cool compress. These two first-aid strategies will help reduce the itching and make your skin feel more relaxed and calm.
6. Severe allergic reactions
In case of a severe allergic reaction to earrings, you’d want to remove the earrings and then see a doctor. Of course, you can apply petroleum jelly, a cold compress, calamine lotion, or corticosteroid cream.
Still, if the allergic reaction has led to bruising, blistering, and there is fluid buildup and excess swelling, it might be ideal for you to see a doctor. Besides prescribing you the proper medication, a doctor will know what to do and prescribe to prevent and/or treat infections.
7. Change your jewelry
After the ears heal, you’d want to make sure you don’t suffer another allergic reaction in the future, and this means avoiding the earrings that caused the allergic reaction in the first place.
We are assuming that by now, you have identified the culprits. So, please keep away from them, and start investing in better quality earrings, preferably nickel-free and hypoallergenic earrings. Also, you should not wear earrings back on too soon after an allergic reaction. Allow your ears to heal properly.
For the best hypoallergenic and nickel-free earrings, you need to be more mindful about the jewelry you buy. Either buy jewelry from renowned brands that deal in fine, hypoallergenic, and nickel-free jewelry or take more time researching what different brands offer and what other peoples’ experiences have been like.
Keep in mind that once you have an allergic reaction to jewelry, you may want to avoid certain kinds of jewelry that may harm you any further. So, opt for alternatives like the medical-grade plastic earrings and the ones made of titanium – these are all allergy-free, affordable, and stunning.
The medical-grade plastic earrings are ideal for earrings because they don’t encourage the breeding of bacteria the way other plastics do, and they are also quite durable.
Biocompatible earrings would also be an excellent option, especially if you are tempted to give up on earrings. You shouldn’t let the earrings win when you have many hypoallergenic and biocompatible earring options that are entirely safe and kind to your skin.
Finally, beware that even 18k gold earrings can be allergic – and it’s not about the gold, but the other metals that the gold is alloyed with – in many cases, nickel makes its way into the mix, causing the allergic reactions.
Oral and topical corticosteroids are the best treatment solution for earring allergies. Still, to prevent a recurrence, you’d want to make sure that the earrings you wear from then on are entirely hypoallergenic and safe for the skin.
And in extreme conditions, you may want to visit the nearest doctor.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.