If you have sensitive skin/ ears, chances are you’ve had many instances where you’ve bought new earrings and had to cross your fingers that this time, just this one time, they don’t cause the annoying itch.
But don’t you think that it’s finally time for you to take control of your accessories by wearing the right (safest) earrings you can find? Well, we have an idea on how to ensure that you avoid those nasty flare-ups: be cautious about the material used to make the earrings.
At the end of the day, your ears’ sensitivity can be controlled if you wear earrings made of materials that will not cause irritation. The sensitivity and reaction to earrings often stem from your genetics and the fact that you react to some things more adversely than other people. As a result, choosing earrings that will not cause that reaction is paramount.
Today, we look at sterling silver earrings. Should you wear them if you have sensitive ears? Perhaps the jeweler mentioned that they are safe, but are they?
Is Sterling Silver Good for Sensitive Ears?
Unfortunately, no. Sterling silver might be marketed as a safe and okay for use by persons with sensitive ears, but it isn’t. Sterling silver is a constituent of two metals (alloys), often pure silver and copper. There is no jewelry made of pure silver since pure silver is extremely soft and too malleable to be used to mold jewelry. But since silver is still an excellent metal for use in jewelry making, it’s hardened by other metals. Copper is the most common metal added to pure silver to make sterling silver. Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper. In other cases, nickel is used in place of copper.
Besides being the feature that enhances the strength and the hardness of sterling silver, copper or nickel added to pure silver are not hypoallergenic. Therefore, sterling silver is not hypoallergenic jewelry.
Individuals with sensitive ears are often allergic to nickel and others copper. Therefore, exposure to materials with either of these metals will result in a skin reaction.
But that is not all; sterling silver is also not ideal for use by persons with sensitive ears since it tarnishes. By reacting with oxygen, sterling silver forms a thin black film which could react with your skin, especially if your ears are too sensitive or if they are not 100% healed from recent piercings.
Pros and cons of silver earrings for sensitive ears
- Sterling silver earrings have a beautiful, natural luster perfect for any and all styles
- It matches white gold jewelry perfectly
- You can find sterling silver earrings in all styles
- Sterling silver is valuable
- Sterling silver is not hypoallergenic and not ideal for wear by individuals with sensitive ears
- It tarnishes
- It’s soft, and it’s not the most durable metal
Is 925 sterling silver good for sensitive ears?
If you are allergic to copper or nickel, 925 sterling silver earrings are bad for your sensitive ears. On the other hand, if you are not allergic to copper, you might wear sterling silver earrings.
Note, however, that sterling silver earrings are not the safest option for persons with sensitive ears since your sensitivity means that you could react to other metals in the earrings, especially if the earrings are not made by a reputable jeweler. To be safe, we recommend against wearing sterling silver earrings if you have sensitive ears.
Is Gold Plated Sterling Silver Good for Sensitive Ears?
The search for the best earrings for sensitive ears goes down to the safety of the earrings. And when you have sensitive ears or react to some metals in earrings, it could mean that you have an allergy called the allergic contact dermatitis.
In such cases, the best way for you to protect your ears (and health in general, since you might end up needed antihistamines and steroids) is by wearing pieces that will not mess things up.
One of the contenders in the possible safe earrings for sensitive ears are the gold-plated sterling silver earrings.
Unfortunately, we cannot vouch for the sterling silver earrings plated with gold, also called gold vermeil earrings. While gold is generally safe, the gold plating on sterling silver is normally low-karat gold, and this poses a risk of you wearing earrings made of low-gold content filled up with other materials like copper and nickel – these are not hypoallergenic.
14K and even 18K gold are relatively safe since they have higher gold content, but because of their impurity, it means that there is a risk of allergens in the plating. 14K gold is only 50% gold, and the additional copper or nickel will cause an allergic reaction to if you have sensitive ears.
18K gold, on the other hand, is 75% gold and it also has copper and/ nickel. Therefore, the addition of the gold plating to sterling silver earrings doesn’t make the earrings safe for sensitive ears.
Notably, the gold-plated layer on sterling silver is too thin, and it will be corroded too fast, exposing you to the inner sterling silver layer, which is also not hypoallergenic.
Therefore, if you have sensitive ears, you might want to steer clear of gold-plated sterling silver earrings.
If you have sensitive ears, you need to consider investing in other alternatives of earrings. Sterling silver and gold-plated sterling silver earrings might look good, but they contain allergens.
Instead of sterling silver earrings, you could opt for the rhodium-plated earrings, surgical stainless steel earrings, titanium, palladium, or niobium earrings. Generally, you need to avoid earrings made of metals like nickel, cobalt, copper, or white gold. You also need to steer clear of plated metals (gold-plated sterling silver).
Finally, don’t buy earrings just because they are labeled hypoallergenic. While that label tells you that the earrings are hypoallergenic, they don’t tell the entire truth since they could be made of materials you are allergic to. And if the information provided for the earrings is vague, don’t trust the earrings.
Or you can read the next post: is surgical steel is good for sensitive ears?