The best earrings for sensitive ears

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In today's post, I will show you how to find the best earrings for sensitive ears.

I have been sensitive to earrings since childhood but my metal allergy got better while growing up. When I was a kid it was so bad, it prevented me from wearing any kind of earrings.

It can be very painful and it really made me feel conscious about my body like every kind of skin problems such as acne and allergic rash.

When I was a teenager I felt like I was missing out as it was very difficult to find cute earrings for sensitive ears at the time.

Eventually, the situation started to get better, however, I am still sensitive to certain kind of metals and alloys.

I now know exactly what can trigger ear sensitivity and what to look for when shopping for a new pair of earrings.

Symptoms of ear allergies

"According to the National Institute of Health, allergic symptoms resulting from exposure to metals typically appear 24 to 48 hours after exposure." Charles and Colvard

The main symptoms of ear allergies to nickel or cobalt are typical of contact dermatitis:

  • ears get red, itchy and irritated

  • green skin and sore ears

  • swelling, crustiness, oozing and even bleeding

The bad news for people sensitive to earrings is that there is no standard in the jewellery industry when it comes to what hypoallergenic means, therefore earrings marked as "hypoallergenic" do not guarantee that they won’t trigger your allergy.

To prevent unpleasant allergic reactions, the easiest things to do is to stay away from cheap, costume jewellery.

Some earrings on the high street are marked nickel-free, however, it is highly unlikely that are nickel-free earrings for sensitive ears.

Knowing what to look for when purchasing earrings for sensitive ears is essential.

I have listed below the best earrings for sensitive ears to help you make the right choice for you.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.

My earrings collection

The best earrings for sensitive ears: hypersensitivity


In its unalloyed state, platinum is safe and the best choice for hypersensitive skin

Price range: £££

Pros: extremely durable, elegant, classic style

Cons: harder to find and very expensive

Handmade platinum studs with sapphire - Diamonds by Jo

Platinum 0.75ct Total diamond pear stud earrings - Ernest Jones

Niobium Earrings

Price range: £

Pros: inert and even when anodized, it is still 100% non-reactive and it doesn't tarnish

Cons: Difficult to find, limited design options.

The best Niobium earrings are from independent shops on Etsy

Niobium earrings by Kujah Jewellery

Minimal arc threader earrings from Bob jewellery

Solid gold

The best earrings for sensitive ears are generally made with pure gold because they are available more or less everywhere.

Make sure you buy 14K like 18K and 22K gold (karat is a measure of the purity of gold) to avoid the possibility of nickel being mixed in.

Price range: £££

Pros: Easy to find, durable and stylish

Cons: Expensive

Charlotte hoops 14K- Mejuri

14k fine gold claw Huggies - Missoma

What materials are to avoid when buying earrings for sensitive ears?

- Nickel: the worst metal for sensitive ears as it irritates the skin.

- Brass: it is a mix of 60% copper and 40% zinc, is one of the most commonly used base metal either on its own or coated with either sterling silver, or gold.

The downside of brass is that it leaves green marks on the skin.

- Costume jewellery in general is not a safe choice as it is usually made out of base metal and it is not nickel safe.

Metals suitable for mild sensitivity

Plated gold:

Usually, plated gold earrings have a base of brass or silver (the latter is to prefer) that has been coated with a thin layer of gold.

"Vermeil is more hypoallergenic and has a thicker layer of gold than normal gold plating, which is why you'll see it in stores selling fine jewellery. However, with enough scuffs and scratches, the plating can wear off." - Vrai

Yellow gold is the safest option because white gold is alloyed with nickel to obtain a lighter hue.

Rose gold is also not ideal either because it has been alloyed with copper to achieve its pinkish shade.

Price range: ££

Pros: Cheaper than solid gold and easy to find on the high street

Cons: The gold layer flakes off with time and exposes the inner metal. To prevent that, avoid contact with water and perfumes.

Gold plated earrings for sensitive ears

Halo Oval Hoop earrings - Maison Miru

Gold vermeil white topaz moons stud earrings - Accessorize

Palladium earrings:

White metals are becoming increasingly popular and palladium is a great alternative to platinum, however, 30% of people being allergic to nickel are also reacting to palladium.

Prince range: £££

Pros: For those who love fine, white jewellery and have a mild sensitivity

Cons: Pricey and limited design options because it is primarily used for engagement rings

Palladium earrings sensitive ears

Sterling silver:

Are sterling silver earrings ok for sensitive ears?

Like 24K gold, fine silver (99.9% purity) is very soft and therefore not highly durable.

Sterling silver (92.5% purity) is a suitable alternative for those who suffer from mid sensitivity.

Price range: ££

Pros: Easy to find, reasonably priced and fashionable available

Cons: it reacts to cleaning agents, oxygen, or bodily fluids, meaning that it will become dark if not polished often and it can leave marks on the skin.

Heath Circle and Bee Stud Silver Earrings - Oliver Bonas

Sculptural hoops - Mejuri

Titanium earrings:

When the Titanium is marked as medical-grade (the same used for medical implants), it barely contains nickel. It is often used in piercing jewellery, therefore it is a great choice and the best earrings for newly pierced ears.

Pros: lightweight

Cons: Not many fashionable styles available

Titanium earrings UK for sensitive ears from Nonita Jewelry

Titanium stud earrings for sensitive ears

Tiny flower titanium earring: With bling London

Stainless steel or surgical steel:

The word surgical is misleading because in this case, it refers to the most common metal for surgical instruments due to its corrosion-resistant properties. In fact, it contains trace amounts of nickel and iron, which makes it not the right choice for very sensitive skin but it could be ok for those with mild sensitivity to earrings.

Price range: ££

Pros: rust-resistant and sturdy

Cons: it is hard to find gold plated versions for those who prefer gold jewellery

Surgical steel earrings for sensitive ears

Stainless steel hoops - Calvin Klein

Silver surgical steel daisy flatback 3-pack - Lovisa


As long as they are entirely made out of plastic they are safe to wear because they are nickel free.

Price range: £

Pros: Inexpensive

Cons: plastic earrings often look cheap, they are easily breakable and designs can be limited. Not suitable for smart occasions and they are not a good choice for the environment.

Plastic earrings for sensitive ears - Androlucious

Natural stone earrings on plastic posts for super-sensitive ears - EZstyleLLC

My final tips and tricks to reduce sensitivity:

Of you have a pair of earrings that you really love, I have a couple of hacks that could help you wear them more often even if you are sensitive to them.

  1. Apply two coats of clear nail polish on the earrings

  2. Vaseline applied to the metal can avoid an allergic reaction for a couple of hours, but make sure not to wear them the whole day.

  3. If you have infected piercings, consider swapping them with ear cuffs instead.

Shop Rebel ear cuff trio here

Find out the Crystal ear cuff trio in sterling silver here

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