Did you know that 83% of people in the United States alone have at least one ear piercing? Ear piercings, and piercings in general, can be a great way for people to express themselves. It can also be a great way to add some style to your overall look.
By changing out a pair of earrings, you can easily go from a feminine, classic look to a punk look or vice versa. But what should you do if you want to get ear piercings but have sensitive ears? Maybe you've gotten ear piercings in the past and found them too irritating to wear for long.
Or maybe you've never gotten piercings before but already know your ears are on the sensitive side and are worried about what might happen if you get earrings. Fortunately, because you have sensitive ears doesn't mean that you have to live your life without some stylish earrings. Keep reading and learn more about what it means to have sensitive ears and what you might have to do to get the right earrings for you.
What Are Sensitive Ears?
You might not only have sensitive ears but sensitive skin in general. Even so, your ears, for whatever reason, might be especially sensitive to the touch and to certain materials. This makes sense because ears are full of blood vessels.
If you pinch your ears, you can feel how easily your ears will become hot as they fill with blood. You will even be able to see how the influx of blood makes the skin of the ear red. If you have sensitive skin, you might find that your ears may occasionally be itchy or develop rashes.
Having sensitive ears, in general, can be very annoying, but the symptoms of sensitive ears tend to be worse upon getting ear piercings. If you decide to get ear piercings, you may find that your ears will itch much more than usual.
You may also find that your ears are more often red and sensitive to the touch. In some cases, you may even experience ear pain. Some earrings may irritate your ears more than others.
Many people tend to develop sensitive ears directly after getting their ears pierced. The symptoms of sensitive ears often persist for about a year after the first piercing. During this period, a person may find it too uncomfortable to get more piercings.
Usually, after a year, the ear sensitivity should go away on its own, but for some people that already had sensitive skin and ears, it might stick around. This can be especially annoying if you love your earrings and would like to get more but are afraid of the consequences. However, what you should know is that the problem may not actually be with you but with what kind of earrings you're wearing.
That's because some materials can irritate the ears more than others.
You Might Have a Jewelry Allergy
While it might be true that you have sensitive ears (and possibly sensitive skin), it might also be true that you have a jewelry allergy. What is a jewelry allergy, you might ask? How can you be allergic to metal and metal alloys?
As it turns out, metal allergies are more common than you might think. That's why many people end up unable to wear certain kinds of jewelry for long periods of time. Over time, a piece of jewelry can irritate someone's jewelry allergy, and the person in question may not even realize that they have a jewelry allergy.
They might just think that it's their usual sensitive skin problems. However, if you look closely, you can see that a jewelry allergy creates some symptoms that are unique compared to the symptoms of sensitive ears. The symptoms of a jewelry allergy tend to be similar to a skin reaction to poison ivy.
Symptoms of a Jewelry Allergy
You might notice that after getting new ear piercings your ears are itchier than usual, sometimes even unbearably itchy. Around the piercing, you might notice the development of tiny red bumps that seem to get worse the more you scratch. In some cases, you might even develop small blisters around the site.
More often than not, you will develop a rash on your ear where the earring is in contact with the skin. This can make wearing the ear piercing an arduous and uncomfortable task. Many people with jewelry allergies end up giving up on their piercings because they are too painful and itchy.
But does that mean that you are allergic to all jewelry? Not necessarily. Rather, it depends on what kind of material the jewelry might be made of and how your skin reacts to it.
What Metals Cause Jewelry Allergies?
When people end up experiencing an allergic reaction to their jewelry, they may come to the mistaken conclusion that they are allergic to all types of jewelry. These people may try to avoid wearing not only earrings but also rings, bracelets, necklaces, and so on. If you love jewelry, it can be a terrible fate to not be able to wear it at all due to your jewelry allergy.
Fortunately, you won't have to avoid all jewelry completely. However, you will need to avoid some types of jewelry, depending on what the jewelry is made of. You might think that all gold jewelry is fine since you may have heard that gold is hypoallergenic.
But this is not always the case when it comes to jewelry. The gold may be mixed with other, cheaper metals and may still cause an allergic reaction. So, what is the best metal for sensitive ears?
There are a few options to choose from, but before we explore those, let's discuss the very worst metal for sensitive ears: nickel. When it comes to the best earring material for sensitive ears, nickel is the worst of the worst. But why?
At first glance, nickel looks like a pretty ordinary and innocent metal. It is silver in color though it is a bit lighter than real silver. Jewelry makers in particular love this metal because it is cheap and easy to mix with other, more expensive types of metals without compromising the color of the resulting metal.
However, even though nickel is convenient, it tends to be the metal that irritates people's skin the most. Certain types of nickel may even have carcinogenic properties and may lead to the development of cancer. To avoid developing a jewelry allergy, you will need to avoid nickel.
What Kind of Jewelry Can You Get If You Have a Jewelry Allergy?
When it comes to choosing the best metal for ear piercing, you will want to choose a metal that is pure and is not mixed with too many other metals, especially not nickel. Unfortunately, this can be a hard task at first. That's because many types of jewelry are mixed with some percentage of nickel.
It makes the jewelry easier to mold, and it also saves money in the jewelry creation process. But it will certainly not save the health of your skin. You will find that to avoid nickel in jewelry; you will have to spend a bit more money on your piercings. On the bright side, in addition to no longer suffering from your jewelry allergy, you will also have an excuse to buy high-quality jewelry.
Gold is one of the most popular options because, as previously discussed, pure gold is hypoallergenic. On the downside, it can also be very expensive. For that reason, if you can't afford gold piercings that are higher than 14K, you may have to opt for another type of material for your ear piercings.
You might be asking: is stainless steel good for sensitive ears? It is. Stainless steel is often known in the jewelry industry (and elsewhere) as surgical steel. It is a very hard and pure type of steel that is even used during surgeries because it won't react negatively with the body.
Steel might not sound very luxurious when it comes to jewelry and earrings in particular. However, the great thing about steel piercings is that, at first glance, they can look much like silver piercings. Most people wouldn't even know the difference between steel and silver earrings, so what do you have to lose?
How to Choose the Right Gold to Avoid Jewelry Allergies
You might be wondering: Is white gold good for sensitive ears? Most of the time, it's not. Why might this be, you ask?
White gold is a particular type of gold that has a few differences compared to traditional yellow gold. Instead of having a deep golden color, white gold is very light with very delicate yellow tones. The reason why it is so light is that it usually has nickel mixed in with the gold.
Nickel's light color can mix with gold's darker color and produce a lighter and more silvery version of gold. On occasion, jewelry makers may instead create white gold with silver instead of nickel. However, you would have to do plenty of searching and analyzing to make sure that your white gold jewelry is made with silver and not nickel.
This can be exhausting and time-consuming. For that reason, it is often best to avoid white gold altogether. Yellow gold, on the other hand, is a different story. Many types of yellow gold can also cause allergic reactions, but that is because the gold is of low quality.
For example, the most common type of gold sold in the United States is 14K gold. It is on the cheaper side, but it still has that deep gold color that everyone loves so much. But while it may look great for ear piercings, 14K gold tends to irritate those with sensitive ears.
That's because most 14K gold is mixed with nickel to some degree. This is also true for less pure forms of gold, such as 10K. The less pure the gold is, the more likely that it is mixed with cheap and irritating metals like nickel.
But what about the purer types of gold?
The purest form of gold is 24K gold. It may be somewhat unusual in appearance to some people because it is such a dark and yellow shade of gold. Even so, because of its purity, it is completely hypoallergenic.
However, there is a downside. You will have a very hard time finding any jewelry made of 24K gold. That's because this gold is so soft that it is often impossible to wear it as jewelry without it becoming immediately damaged.
Your next best option is 18K gold. 18K gold is yellower and more expensive than 14K gold. While it is not completely hypoallergenic, it is pure enough for most people to wear without developing irritated skin.
You might find that you might even be able to wear 14K gold without much if any, skin irritation. It depends on how sensitive your skin is to nickel and other cheap metals. If you don't want to risk your skin with gold, there are also other hypoallergenic metals that you can try, such as medical-grade titanium and even plastic.
Everything You Need to Know about Earrings and Sensitive Ears
Many people have sensitive ears, and some may believe that they will never be able to wear earrings because of how irritated their ears can get. However, more often than not, the problem has to do with the material your earrings are made of.
As long as you stick to hypoallergenic materials like steel or gold, you shouldn't have any more problems with your ears.
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