How to Buy Earrings When You Have Metal Allergies

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If earrings make your ears itch or bleed, it's typically an allergy to nickel, a metal found in lower-cost earrings. The itching can drive you crazy, but you don't have to let the holes in your ears close up. Pay attention to the material that makes up the earring. By selecting earrings that are made of hypoallergenic materials or higher-grade metals, you can avoid the contact dermatitis caused by contact with nickel.

  • Buy higher-quality earrings. Earrings made of silver or gold rather than silver or gold-plated nickel, where the plating rubs off exposing the base metal of the post, prevent a reaction. Sterling silver earrings are affordable and typically won't trigger a reaction. Other good options include 18-karat gold or nickel-free, 14-karat gold.

  • Buy earrings made of nickel-free stainless steel to avoid a reaction. Surgical-grade stainless steel does contain minute amounts of nickel, but the concentration is low enough that it won't trigger a reaction for most people. It's considered hypoallergenic.

  • Choose non-allergenic metals, such as copper or titanium. Neither of these metals include nickel, so won't cause a reaction if you're allergic to nickel.

  • Avoid white gold or cobalt, both of which contain nickel. These metals will cause your contact dermatitis to flare up, making your ear lobes itch and swell.

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