If you have pierced ears and sensitive skin, you may have a hard time finding jewelry that doesn't irritate your earlobes. If you find that your ears become red, irritated and itchy when wearing inexpensive or costume jewelry, you may have a sensitivity to nickel. Fortunately, as body piercings grow in popularity and acceptability, it's become easier than ever to find hypoallergenic jewelry with a low risk of skin irritation.
Visit a tattoo and piercing shop in your area and ask to see the selection of surgical-stainless-steel jewelry. Stainless steel is the default metal for body piercing because of its low risk of irritation. Try captive bead rings or circular barbells for a fresh new look.
Ask the piercer at the tattoo shop if she has any titanium or niobium jewelry in stock. Piercers often keep a few titanium and niobium pieces available for the very rare client with a sensitivity to stainless steel. Titanium is often anodized into bright colors such as pink, blue and yellow; niobium is available in black.
Buy gold jewelry from high-end jewelry stores rather than mall piercing shops. Not only is the jewelry usually made better, it's of a higher karat value than the gold-plated mall offerings. Look for earrings that are at least 18-karat yellow or white gold. Platinum, while quite expensive, is another hypoallergenic metal available at nicer jewelry stores.
Search online auction sites for deals on platinum, gold, steel, titanium and niobium jewelry. Buy only jewelry that's never been worn. If it hasn't been sterilized in an autoclave, visit a piercing shop and ask them to do it for you; most shops are happy to do so for a small fee.
Support independent metal artists by having your jewelry custom-made. The Internet has made it easier than ever to connect with artisans whose work is exactly your style.