09. Apr 2022
Do You Have An Earring Allergy?
Between the excitement and adrenaline of getting your ears pierced, the concept that you could potentially have an earring allergy is likely the last thing on your mind – at least at first. After just a few short hours, you might notice some certain signs that seem unlike the norm you were preparing yourself for during the healing process. And though it’s true that all new piercings need time to heal, which can cause some itching and swelling initially, it can get a bit confusing if what you are experiencing is normal healing or a full-blown earring allergy. In short, some site swelling and redness are just fine. However, if those freshly pierced ears remain red, itchy, and ultimately form a rash along the way, then you could very well be facing an allergic reaction to earrings.
Nickel allergy earrings stats: About 17% of women and 3% of men have a nickel allergy, which is a metal that is very often used in the production of traditional earrings – aka metal allergy earrings.
Overall, an allergic reaction to jewelry is quite common, and millions of people unfortunately equate pretty earrings to the word "ouch." In fact, the presence of nickel is the leading catalyst for allergic contact dermatitis. With that being said, if you are still unsure if you are simply healing or do actually have an earring allergy, then below is a comprehensive breakdown of the tell-tale signs, symptoms, and of course, the best solutions that enable you to wear your favorite pieces without the pain.
Allergic Reaction To Earrings – How Do You Get It?
First and foremost, you don’t necessarily “get” an allergic reaction to jewelry for the jewelry itself. In addition, this challenge is not something that directly reflects on the manufacturing of the earrings or the quality work of the piercer (at least not always). Overall, an allergic reaction to earrings is all about how sensitive your body is when coming in contact with certain metals – in this case, nickel. And though nickel exposure is very often introduced to the body through getting pierced with nickel-based jewelry, it is important to recognize that forming an allergic reaction to this metal does not just stem from body piercings.
While the exact cause of nickel allergies is unknown, it follows the same guidelines as any other allergy: your immune system sees nickel as a harmful substance and reacts accordingly to try and protect your body from it as it would any other toxic thing like viruses and bacteria. It is also worth documenting that if your family has a 'metal allergy earrings' history, then the chances of you inheriting that is probable regardless if you get exposed through working with metals or getting your ears pierced. Nonetheless, the most important thing to remember here is that once your body has developed this reaction to nickel, your immune system will always be sensitive to it. And you guessed it, that will require you to take some mindful jewelry purchasing steps to work around it.
The Symptoms Of A Nickel Allergy
Metal allergy earrings, or more specifically nickel allergy earrings, are loose terms that do not reflect the properties of the jewelry as it stands, but more so how your body reacts to it. As noted above, healing vs. earring allergy signs can be tricky to separate, especially if you have never experienced the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction to non-puncturing jewelry before. So, what are the signs you might have an allergic case on your hands?
Severe, persistent itching
Redness and bumps
Changes in skin color
Skin breakage, leathering, and scaling
Rashes (which can spread)
Keep in mind that these earring allergy symptoms, according to WebMD, will likely rear their heads anywhere from 12 to 24 hours after getting pierced or coming into contact with nickel in general. So, if you have recently gotten your ears pierced or are thinking about it, be sure to keep an eye out for any of the above signs before, during, and even after that timeframe so you can act accordingly (i.e., take it out and disinfect) and hopefully avoid having to endure medical treatment due to prolonged infection. If you are nervous about taking out the piercing yourself upon discovering that you may actually have an allergic reaction to it, you can always go back to your piercer and they can assist you as well as provide alternative jewelry and healing solutions.
Side Note #1: Before jumping to conclusions that you have an allergy to nickel, take a look at the cleaning solution you are using. If you are using the recommended solution that your piecer provided, then there is a solid chance that it is not the source of your discomfort. However, if you are using any other non-standard types, it could be causing your irritation due to being too harsh. To test this (if not using the recommended solution), switch to saline spray or warm sea salt soaks and see if the symptoms clear up. If not, then you could have an allergy to the metal and should contact your piercer to see what the next steps should be.
What To Do If You Love Earrings?
Finding out that you have a nickel/metal allergy that prevents you from adorning yourself in beautiful pieces can feel downright terrible. After all, getting your ears pierced is an exciting thing you experience with so many jewelry opportunities unlocked, and having that be taken away as soon as you begin is a hard pill. BUT that is one hard pill that you don't necessarily need to swallow, thanks to hypoallergenic jewelry. In general, you can still wear stunning, non-nickel allergy earrings that are made using materials that are less likely to cause allergic reactions, such as surgical-grade stainless steel, titanium, niobium, and sterling silver like we provide here at Simply Whispers.
Side note #2: Surgical-grade stainless steel and 14-, 18-, and 24-karat yellow gold pieces can contain some nickel, but it is usually still hypoallergenic for most with an earring allergy. Based on the recommendations of your piecer or potentially Dermatologist, making the switch to these or any other vetted hypoallergenic jewelry can be a win-win outlet for you to have your cake and eat it too.
Designing our brand on a foundation of integrity and transparency, Simply Whispers is home to a vast inventory of hypoallergenic pieces that can enable you to look and feel your best regardless of your sensitivity level to nickel. From elegant hoops, stud earrings to dangles accentuated with crystals, stones, and pearls, we have dedicated our entire brand to supporting all walks of life on filling their jewelry boxes with high quality, nickel-free pieces that accentuate style without the risk of adverse allergy consequences. In the end, everyone deserves to lace themselves in pieces without having to suffer from it, and the first step to making that happen is understanding where your relationship stands with nickel and taking advantage of hypoallergenic resources that can keep your passion for jewelry ignited.
This statement is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent diseases. For accurate ear allergy diagnosing, please consult a qualified Dermatologist for sensitivity tests and tailored immune system treatments.