Are you tired of your ears turning into hot, itchy messes, that quickly turn red, swollen, and develop rashes? All those symptoms tell us that you are allergic to the metal in those cute earrings. The truth is that the tenderness that you start feeling within hours of wearing those earrings indicates that you need to find earrings that you are not allergic too. Such earrings are also called hypoallergenic earrings.
Hypoallergenic, in this case, represents the compounds least likely to cause skin irritation. In the same way that there are skin products for sensitive skin, there also is jewelry designed specifically for sensitive skin.
In the search for the best hypoallergenic earrings, stainless steel comes on top of the list of the top-recommended hypoallergenic materials. You guys can also read our hypoallergenic metal lists here.
First things first, let me answer this question first:
Are stainless steel earrings safe?
Yes, Stainless steel earring is very safe for ear piercing. Want to know more details, keep reading…
Why Stainless steel? And is Stainless steel great for your sensitive ears?
Well, stainless steel represents a metal compound that is made of carbon, iron, chromium, and titanium. It’s one of the most versatile metals around, and it has several applications in different areas of your life from aerospace applications to architecture and surgical/ medical applications.
The use of stainless steel in medical and surgical applications is the main reason for the use of stainless steel in jewelry. In essence, if it’s good enough to be used in surgery, it must be good for jewelry. So, if you want to read more, this post is for you: Is stainless steel jewelry good or bad?
The versatility of stainless steel further stems from its corrosion-resistance, as well as the fact that it doesn’t scratch easily, as that it holds up quite well to daily wear, use, and abuse in different environments. Thanks to these properties, stainless steel makes an excellent fit for use in jewelry. Today, you will come across rings, necklaces, bracelets, and watches made of stainless steel.
Is it good for sensitive ears?
Yes. The stainless steel used in jewelry is almost 100% free of nickel, the main cause of skin allergies. Therefore, stainless steel earrings are generally safe for use by individuals with sensitive skin.
In addition to being hypoallergenic, stainless steel is also rust-resistant, strong, and very durable.
It’s also important to note that stainless steel falls into different grades, but the stainless steel used for jewelry is 316L or 316LVM, also called surgical stainless steel.
As mentioned above, stainless steel used in jewelry and surgeries is almost 100% free of nickel. The percentage of nickel is not enough to cause allergies, hence the overall regard of stainless steel jewelry as hypoallergenic. This stainless steel has 10-13% stainless steel. 18/0 stainless steel has no nickel while 18/10 stainless steel has 10% nickel.
However, there are people who are allergic to stainless steel because of the low levels of nickel in the metal.
The other elements of significance in stainless steel are chromium and iron. Neither chromium nor iron cause allergies. Chromium is quite stable thanks to the chromium oxide layer formed immediately chromium is exposed to the air. Chromium doesn’t cause allergic reactions. Iron is also non-reactive, and it will not cause a reaction.
The other reason why surgical stainless steel is regarded as a hypoallergenic metal has to do with its corrosion-resistance. Stainless steel doesn’t corrode even in damp environments, and it will only show slight corrosion in salty environments. It doesn’t leach into the body tissues or cause allergies.
Is stainless steel or titanium better for sensitive ears?
Titanium has an APP approval, and it’s regarded as an implant/ medical-grade metal. Therefore, the APP regards titanium as the ideal metal for use by a person with nickel sensitivities.
Titanium is ranked as the most biocompatible/ hypoallergenic elements on earth; it doesn’t cause irritation, even on the most sensitive skin types. All these come from the fact that titanium is inert and very non-reactive to most chemicals around.
So, titanium is better than stainless steel for persons with sensitive ears.
Is sterling silver or stainless steel better for sensitive ears?
Stainless steel is, without question, better than sterling silver for sensitive ears. Sterling silver contains 7.5% copper (92.5% silver), and if you are allergic to copper, then it means that you are almost certain that you will have an allergic reaction to sterling silver. Besides copper, sterling silver might also contain traces of nickel, zinc, platinum or germanium.
If you are unsure about whether sterling silver is safe for sensitive ears or not, our answer is – it depends.
It will be okay if you are not allergic to copper/ nickel, but a terrible idea if you are allergic to copper and nickel. Besides nickel, sterling silver also oxidizes, and it will turn black after some time. The black oxidation product will irritate the skin.
Stainless steel is also not 100% hypoallergenic since it might contain nickel which could cause an adverse reaction for persons with sensitive ears.
If you have extreme sensitivities, you could opt for surgical steel or titanium instead of sterling silver.
Surgical stainless steel is regarded as the best alternative to sterling silver and platinum for individuals with skin sensitivities. It’s also affordable and ideal for body piercings and even implants. But don’t pick any stainless steel you come across. There are many grades of stainless steel jewelry, but you should opt for the stainless steel 316L or 316LVM. These alloys work well for sensitive ears.
So, answer your question about stainless steel, and whether it’s good for sensitive ears or not, our answer is Yes; unless you are extremely sensitive to nickel and then you have to opt for other metals like titanium or niobium.
See you guys in the next post!
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.