Approximately 17 percent of women and 3 percent of men have an allergy to nickel, a metal that’s often used in earrings.
If you’ve recently had your ears pierced and are dealing with a lot of
discomforts, a nickel allergy could be to blame.
Even if your earrings aren’t made of nickel, you could still
experience allergy symptoms after having your ears pierced. You might also be
allergic to other popular metals like chromium, cobalt, or stainless steel
(which often contains trace amounts of a nickel).
Read to learn about some signs you’re dealing with a metal earring
allergy, as well as some tips on how to correct the problem.
Earring Allergy Symptoms
If you have a metal allergy, you’ll likely know it soon after having
your ears (or any other part of your body) pierced or inserting a pair of
earrings made with questionable metal.
The following are some of the most well-known signs that you’re
dealing with this allergy:
A rash or red bumps
Itching, often severe
Changes in the skin color
The presence of dry patches on the skin
Usually, these symptoms occur within hours or a few days after
receiving your piercing or starting to wear a certain pair of earrings. They
can last anywhere from two to four weeks.
In most cases, the symptoms stay localized in the area where you
received the piercing. Sometimes, though, they can spread to other parts of the
When to See Your Doctor
If these symptoms pop up shortly after having your ears pierced or getting hearing aids, you may be able to treat the problem with at-home or over-the-counter remedies.
If you don’t notice any improvements to your symptoms after using
these remedies, though, you ought to call your doctor. They will be able to
prescribe something stronger and more effective.
You also should call your doctor right away if you notice signs of an
Never try to clear up an infection on your own. Always get help from a
medical professional to prevent the infection from spreading.
Earring Allergy Risk Factors
Some people are more likely than others to deal with allergies to
nickel and other metals.
For example, women are more prone to this allergy than men, as are
those who have a family history of nickel and metal allergies.
People who spend a lot of time working with nickel and other metals
are also more likely to develop allergies because they’re exposed to them so
Earring Allergy Treatment Options
There are a lot of at-home treatments you can use to clear up earring
allergy symptoms. The following are some of the most effective options:
Soothing lotions like calamine lotion to eliminate itching
Regular moisturization with an emollient cream or lotion like
Wet compresses to dry out blisters
and minimize itching
Your doctor may also prescribe medications if these at-home remedies
don’t work. The following are some prescription treatments that can get rid of
rashes and reduce irritation:
Corticosteroid creams like clobetasol and betamethasone
Nonsteroidal creams like pimecrolimus and tacrolimus
Oral corticosteroids like prednisone
Oral antihistamines like fexofenadine and cetirizine
Some physicians also recommend phototherapy. If your condition does
not get better with topical or oral medications, this can be a good treatment
option, although it does take quite a while to produce results. It involves
exposing the skin to controlled amounts of artificial UV light.
Does This Mean No Earrings?
If you’re experiencing symptoms of an earring allergy, you might be
wondering if this means you have to give up wearing earrings altogether.
Some people do choose to stick to ear cuffs and other, less invasive, jewelry options after they experience symptoms of earring allergy.
The good news is that you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to!
You can still wear your favorite types of earrings. You just have to be more
cautious about the specific metals they’re made from.
Best Earrings for Sensitive Ears
The following are some of the best types of earrings for people who have metal allergies or sensitivities.
14kt Gold: Make sure you’re really buying 14kt gold earrings and not
earrings that are simply gold plated — they might be made with another metal
that triggers allergy symptoms.
Platinum: Platinum is highly resistant to corrosion and is
unlikely to trigger allergy symptoms.
Titanium: This is another corrosion-resistant,
non-allergenic metal that most people do just fine wearing
Plastic and acrylic: Both of these are inexpensive options that do not
trigger allergic reactions in most people
Surgical steel: This is much safer than stainless steel and rarely
triggers allergic reactions
Niobium: This is a chemical element that is hypoallergenic and great
for those with earring allergies
There are plenty of earring options out there that are perfect for
folks with sensitive skin and metal allergies, and they come in a variety of
Plastic and acrylic are highly affordable and good for folks on a
budget, while platinum and 14kt gold are on the pricier end.
Be sure to read the package your earrings come in carefully before you
put them in your ears. That way, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that
you’re not exposing yourself to any potential allergens.
Need Help with Other Skin Issues?
Earring allergy symptoms are a common skin issue that lots of people
If you keep these tips in mind, though, you’ll likely be able to clear
up the issue very quickly while still being able to wear earrings that you
Are you dealing with any other jewelry allergy symptoms? What about
skin issues in general?
If you need help clearing up your skin, check out the Skincare Archives of our site today. You’ll find all kinds of tips that will help you streamline your beauty routine so you can look and feel your best at all times.