General chatter - OT - earrings, why can't I wear them anymore?

01-19-2009, 04:43 PM
Hi everyone!

So, it has been about a year since I haven't been able to wear earrings. I have had my ears pierced since 2 years old. Never had a problem with them until the past year.

It seems that, whenever I put any earrings in them, they start to hurt so bad and swell and become red and irritated so I have to take the earrings out.

I guess maybe I've developed some sort of nickel/metal allergy.

Has this happened to anyone else, and did wearing pure silver or white gold or gold help the matter?


01-19-2009, 04:58 PM
Yes, I would say that you have a nickel allergy. There are several new metals which aren't mixed with nickel, or are mixed with less nickel and make excellent jewellery.Titanium, niobium and PTFE (an implant grade plastic post) would all be good alternatives. Also, using 18k or 24k gold will probably be alright...

01-19-2009, 05:01 PM
I can onlly wear earrings with either surgical steel or 14k and above gold. If I try anything else I get the same reaction as you. I wonder if there is anything you can coat the post or wires with? I love the costume jewelery but I can't stand having them in my ears.

01-19-2009, 05:08 PM
I used to have that problem. I could wear any ear ring I wanted. Then I started having reactions to the cheap stuff. Then it got to where I couldn't wear any jewelry at all. It was hormonal for me. Once I got my hysterectomy, it gradually went away. I had my ears repierced a couple of years ago because it had been so long. I keep forgetting to wear them.

01-19-2009, 05:18 PM
OK, I have a wierd one:
I have 2 holes in each ear. On the top hole of my left ear, as soon as I put in an earring it turns really red and starts burning and itching.
Makes sense that it's an allergy, right?
But the hole directly under it is unaffected. I don't understand why it's only that one hole.

01-19-2009, 05:25 PM
I'm allergic to nickel, and have the same problem. It's not uncommon for people to develop new allergies over time.

You don't have to spend a ton of money on silver or gold! A lot of earrings say "nickel free" on the package, so just look for those.

01-19-2009, 09:11 PM
Hmmm, okay, I will try something that says "nickel free" and see what happens. If that doesn't work, I will move up to silver I guess.

I did read that you can buy sterling silver posts or hooks and then wear your old favorite (cheap) earrings by attaching them that way. That would be nice as I have tons of beautiful earrings I love wearing....

Thanks everyone!

01-19-2009, 11:10 PM
I can only wear non-gold earrings about one day a week - and by the end of the day I can't wait to get the non-gold earrings OUT.

Also, if I forget to wear earrings for as short a time as the weekend, I have trouble getting them in on the Monday.

01-20-2009, 12:21 AM
I started having the same problem with my earrings out of no where. Its gotta be some type of allergy because sometimes bracelets or necklaces with certain clasps give me the same rash, and even the buttons on my jeans are irritating.

As well as "nickel free" earrings you can buy "sensitive ear" that are the same thing. And for my old jewelry I just put a thin layer of clear nail polish on the posts. You can't even tell and then you can still wear all your old jewelry that has nickel in it.

Thighs Be Gone
01-20-2009, 12:24 AM
..Try dipping your post into neosporin before putting them in your ear..I read that advice and it helps immensely..I had started getting little hard balls in my earlobe

01-20-2009, 12:50 AM
You might also check out Simply Whispers jewelry online. They are 100% nickel-free, and I have purchased some nice stuff from them :) (I don't own stock in it or anything, ha! Just a happy customer.)

Yeah, I used to wear all the cheapo costume jewelry but no more :( I can only have stuff with nickel in it in my ears for a few minutes before I have to take it out. I've heard about the clear nail polish trick too, have not tried it. My mom does that with her gold wedding ring ;)

01-20-2009, 12:52 AM
Most people will develop a reaction to nickel if they are exposed to it for a long enough period of time. It's very common.

If the nickel free earrings still cause problems for you, I'd look for pure gold (not white gold) or surgical steel. Silver can cause a reaction in some people as well.

01-20-2009, 01:17 AM
oh, I will try out the clear nail polish and the neosporin tricks too. Great ideas, thanks so much!


01-20-2009, 01:40 AM
i have this problem with the piercings that i rarely keep jewelry in- once i put something in my ears become very irritated hot and red and inflamed. but if leave it after a while it goes away. for me it seems to be about not wearing jewelry often in them. i am thinking that the neosporin trick might help for me anyway.

painted lady
01-20-2009, 09:21 AM
if you do a sea salt soak for your ears, it should help them more than rubbing alcohol, which is really drying. i do a salt soak for my ears whenever they get angry (and i have stretched ear lobes, so when they get mad, they get horrid).

here's a link to a great page about salt soaks (

01-20-2009, 12:54 PM
I use a littloe OTC hydrocortisone if I'm wearing a pair of earrings that I expect to irritate my ears. Works well.

01-20-2009, 11:05 PM
Most people will develop a reaction to nickel if they are exposed to it for a long enough period of time. It's very common.

If the nickel free earrings still cause problems for you, I'd look for pure gold (not white gold) or surgical steel. Silver can cause a reaction in some people as well.

I am allergic to nickel and also can't wear surgical steel. I can wear 14k gold (and maybe higher, don't know!). I can wear the earrings that say "nickel free", but not for all day every day. Besides 14k gold, I have had good luck with sterling silver--I seem to be able to tolerate that OK.

01-21-2009, 09:46 AM
I have the same problem. I'm allergic to silver and nickel. I wish I could wear cheap silver jewelry! I have some and it is so cute but I just can't wear it. When I have worn the cheap earrings my ears turn red and swell - they are sore and gross for a couple of days after. :(