Sensitive Lobes? Try These Earring Metals for All-Day Comfort

Choosing jewelry, especially earrings, can be difficult for those with sensitive skin and ears. Unlike food allergies you may have discovered as a child, skin allergies can develop anytime—often from over-exposure to certain metals, like nickel.

If you’ve noticed ultra-red lobes or itchy earring holes after wearing a particular pair of earrings, you may have an allergy or sensitivity to earring metals. But don’t panic! Plenty of earring material options and hypoallergenic metals are offered in today’s jewelry stores. Keep reading to find out what you should look out for regarding sensitive ears and how to find the best metal for piercing.

How do I know if I'm allergic to earring metals or have sensitive ears?

If you have sensitive ears or an allergy to earring metals, the allergic reaction behaves similarly to other allergic reactions on the skin. The most common symptoms of an earring material allergy or sensitivity are:

  • Skin redness at the piercing site
  • Bumpy rash or blistering at the piercing site
  • Itchiness and discomfort at the piercing site
  • Swelling around the piercing site
  • Skin that is warm to the touch

Jewelry allergies and sensitivities can develop at any time or age. Unlike a food allergy you were born with, you may not be aware of your sensitivity to certain earring metals. If you have an allergy, you’ll see symptoms 12-48 hours after you come into contact with the earring material.

What earring metals are best for sensitive ears?

People can have allergies to any or all types of earring metals, though nickel is the most common metal allergy. If you have sensitive ears, you may want to avoid earrings made of nickel, though gold, silver, or titanium may also be the culprit for your earring allergy.

If you’ve experienced sensitive ears in the past, it’s crucial to identify the type of metals that have caused the flare-up. Nickel-free jewelry is considered hypoallergenic and best for people with sensitive ears. Other hypoallergenic metals frequently recommended for sensitive ears are sterling silver and 14-karat or higher gold.

Many with sensitive skin question whether or not stainless steel is hypoallergenic. Stainless steel is a popular earring material due to its durability. However, it can contain trace amounts of nickel, so those with extremely sensitive ears and known nickel or steel allergies should avoid it.

What is the best metal for piercing?

The best metal for piercing is that which you are not allergic to. Even earrings labeled as made with hypoallergenic metals can cause an allergic reaction since the term hypoallergenic merely means “less likely” to cause an adverse allergic reaction. 

The best metals for piercing, which are least likely to cause an allergic reaction in most people, include: 

  • Titanium
  • Niobium
  • Platinum
  • Solid gold (not gold-plated or gold-filled)

These earring metals are harder to find on the marketplace and are especially rare in fast fashion jewelry. Earrings made with these materials also cost more money due to the higher quality materials, so you’re more likely to find them from fine jewelry lines.

What earring material does MACHETE use?

MACHETE’s fine jewelry is made from recycled brass and ethically sourced gold and silver. Earring posts are made from hypoallergenic stainless steel, sterling silver, or solid gold.

Our Italian Acetate materials (as seen in our “tortoise” style) are handmade and non-petroleum based. Cellulose acetate is an eco-friendly alternative to commonly used petroleum-based jewelry materials like resin. We also upcycle our pearls from dead-stock pieces by transforming them into new creations and use recycled and repurposed brass with ethically sourced 14k gold and sterling silver.

Not only are natural and renewable materials important to us, but responsible production methods are too. We even offer store credit if you recycle your pre-loved MACHETE pieces through us!

We’re all about creating your own rules when it comes to personal style, unless they come with the risks of skin allergies and discomfort, of course. If you’re wondering what earring metals are in that new MACHETE you have your eye on, feel free to reach out to our team! We’re here to help you find the best finishing touch to your outfit.