Lovers of fine fashion jewelry enjoy wearing a pretty pair of earrings to accent their most beautiful outfits. Unfortunately for some, wearing earrings and especially pierced earrings can turn out to be an uncomfortable or even painful experience due to sensitivity to nickel. Hypoallergenic earrings are the best choice for those with this sensitivity and they are available in a lot of hypoallergenic options.

It is estimated that nearly fifty percent of the population experiences a sensitivity to some degree to nickel, known as contact dermatitis. Nickel is used to enhance the strength of jewelry because it is an inexpensive metal to add to jewelry. Symptoms of an allergy to nickel can range from mildly uncomfortable to painful in those that are very sensitive to it.

When some pierced earring wearers first put in a pair of earrings that are not hypoallergenic, uncomfortable symptoms can begin to show up within a few minutes, depending on how sensitive they are to nickel. Symptoms range from a red rash to burning and itching along with a general uncomfortable feeling, and the ears can even become dry or blistered or crusted over. People with nickel sensitivity will most often have problems with earrings, but they can also have problems with other jewelry like bracelets, rings and necklaces.

Sometimes earrings are advertised as nickel free and as specifically made for sensitive skin, but they may still contain trace amounts of nickel. The posts of the earrings might be nickel free, but the areas that touch the skin on the front and back of the earrings can still contain trace amounts of nickel along with other metal alloys and can cause irritation.

The way a nickel allergy works is that very small amounts of nickel present in jewelry dissolves when jewelry is exposed to moisture, forming a nickel salt. Sweating can cause nickel to dissolve, as well as washing hands or bathing while wearing jewelry. Once this dissolving action takes place, trace amounts of the nickel form a type of salt and this nickel salt is what causes the negative skin reaction in those people who are most sensitive to nickel.

There are some types of metal that are just naturally nickel free. These include titanium, platinum, high-grade surgical steel and 14K and 24K gold. Sterling silver is also an option for anyone who is not severely sensitive to nickel. High quality sterling silver is safe for most of these people. Other metals to look for in jewelry made especially for sensitive ears include palladium, niobium and aluminum.

Surgical steel earrings will often times have a number that identifies the grade of surgical steel present. Numbers like 302 and 304 are used to label high quality surgical steel that should be safe to use for those with nickel sensitivity. Since nickel cannot be seen in jewelry just by looking at it, buyers are limited to relying on the labeling printed on the packaging to decide if earrings are safe for them to wear.

Nickel allergies can be uncomfortable, but by purchasing high quality hypoallergenic earrings, people with the most sensitive ears still enjoy wearing beautiful earrings. Show off your style and creativity and enhance those beautiful outfits with a gorgeous pair of earrings. Just be sure that those earrings will leave you free from irritation.