The common belief is that earrings labeled "hypoallergenic" will not cause any adverse reactions.
However the term hypoallergenic simply means less likely to cause an allergy, it does not guarantee that your ear piercings will not react.
WHY DOES METAL ALLERGIES HAPPEN?
Metal allergies also known as contact dermatitis are contact allergies, meaning a reaction only occurs when your body is in contact with the substance, like when you are wearing your favorite earrings.
The symptoms include reddening of the skin, swelling, blistering, rash and PAIN, and we hate those right?
Contact dermatitis does not occur immediately; it develops over extended contact with the reactive substance. This is why many people can wear earrings for years without issues and then seemingly overnight develop painful reactions when they try to wear them.
Once a contact allergy is developed, it can occur after a few moments of contact with the allergen.
Approximately 20% of the population suffers from metal allergies, and that number continues to increase because so many people wear earrings that contain highly reactive metals.
PURE METALS VS ALLOY
An alloy is a substance composed of two or more metals, or of a metal or metals with a nonmetal, intimately mixed, as by fusion or electrodeposition.
Alloys can be problematic for a couple reasons. Firstly, because they may contain trace elements of reactive metals like nickel. Secondly, because the electrochemical reaction between the metals may cause allergies. Therefore, to ensure that your earrings will not cause pain, you should only wear pure, unalloyed, biocompatible metals.
To be sure that the earrings you’ve chosen will not irritate your ears, ensure that you choose the right metal. GOLD!
- High-Karat Gold Earrings– Gold is easily one of the best metals for sensitive ears. It’s best to stick with karatage above 14K as these contain more gold and very little nickel.
White Gold – White gold is made of yellow gold alloyed with white metals like nickel, silver or palladium that help to give it its white color. The two common white gold alloys used in the jewelry industry are gold-palladium-silver or gold-nickel-copper-zinc. Opt for the palladium alloy as this won’t cause skin problems.
Always ask the jeweler if you aren’t sure about their metal ;)