Some people spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on earrings that they can never wear. Others receive gorgeous earrings as gifts but realize that they will have to sit in the jewelry box indefinitely. It’s one thing to purchase a piece of jewelry only to find that it isn’t the same as it appeared on TV or in a magazine ad, but it’s a completely different story when wearing a certain item becomes a health hazard. Earring allergies are more common than many people think, so it is important to know what to look for when making an earring purchase. Allergy free earrings are those that are safe and suitable for individuals who have undesirable physical reactions to certain metals.

Why Do People Have Earring Allergies?

There can be a wide number of reasons that might cause an allergic reaction when a person puts on a certain pair or earrings. One cause for earring allergies is a newly pierced set of ears. Everybody who gets their ears pierced for the first time will have to have a starter set of studs placed into the piercing to keep it open while the wound heals. The pin on these starter earrings will come into contact with the open wound and the blood from the piercing. Depending on how sensitive a person’s body is, a physical reaction could result. Swelling could occur, sharp or throbbing pain could follow, and pus may even develop. While pus is a sign of bacterial infection, pain and swelling may be present in those with newly pierced ears and those who have worn earrings for many years.

Earrings that contain nickel are responsible for causing most of the allergic reactions seen in people with earring allergies. It is believed that over-exposure to certain metals like nickel can cause allergies over time, even if an individual has never had any previous problems with nickel-containing earrings. While an extreme example, this can be compared to over-exposure to UV rays or radon gas. A person will show no symptoms at first, but after years and years of contact, he may develop cancer and have many of the horrible symptoms that come with it.

What Types of Earrings Are Safe to Wear?

The answer to this question is: it depends. It depends on the specific allergy of the individual. A person who is allergic to nickel should not wear earrings containing nickel, but a person who is allergic to another metal might be able to wear nickel earrings with no problem at all. Many people will advise a friend to purchase expensive, high-quality earrings since they should be less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Unfortunately, even a $10,000 diamond encrusted earring containing nickel will give a person with a nickel allergy problems. It’s not the quality of the earring that is the issue, it’s what the earring is made out of.

So what types of earrings should somebody will a nickel allergy look for? Titanium, gold, and plastic earrings are usually good choices. Titanium earrings work well, look good, and don’t cost a fortune. Gold earrings are expensive, and one should not go for earrings 18k gold or less since they contain higher proportions of other metals–nickel possibly included. Otherwise, they are safe and generally look great. Plastic earrings are very affordable and safe for the most part, but some people think they look cheap and ugly. Although choosing earrings really comes down to preference, it’s a good idea to look for the words “hypoallergenic” or “allergy-free” when shopping for them.