Hypoallergenic Earrings: What Metals to AVOID for Sensitive Ears

Hypoallergenic Earrings

For people with sensitive skin and sensitive ears, prone to itching, redness, irritation, bleeding, or rashes the moment certain jewelry touches their skin, hypoallergenic earrings are a godsend to those with an earring allergy. But just what are hypoallergenic earrings?

Hypoallergic earrings are crafted with specific metals less likely to cause allergic reactions for wearers with skin sensitivities. They are often made of pure metals such as titanium, nickel-free stainless steel, gold, or platinum. Some hypoallergenic earrings are also made of plastic or other materials.

Hypoallergenic jewelry is the perfect solution for people who experience allergic reactions to nickel.

Keep reading as we teach you everything you need to know about hypoallergenic earrings for sensitive skin. I’ll show you where to buy hypoallergenic alternatives of your favorite styles and discuss if your favorite earring retailers offer hypoallergenic options.

What are Earrings are Hypoallergenic?

Many people with sensitive skin and ears may have resigned to a lifetime without wearing earrings to save themselves from the symptoms of painful rashes, bleeding, swelling, redness, or irritation. Luckily for them, a hypoallergenic earring looks just like any other earring but are crafted with metals that cause fewer allergic reactions.

A major allergen in jewelry is nickel, which is unfortunately in many pieces of jewelry. Nickel is most commonly used in cheap jewelry, but even more luxurious materials such as gold may have nickel mixed into it to improve the metal’s durability at a low cost. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10% to 20% of the population have nickel allergies.

By choosing to wear hypoallergenic jewelry, you can enjoy looking your best without causing an unsightly allergic outbreak.

What are Hypoallergenic Earrings Made of?

There is currently no manufacturing standard for a pair of hypoallergic earrings for sensitive ears, which means that the materials they are crafted with can vary per manufacturer. The most important factor of hypoallergic earrings is to ensure that allergy-causing metals, such as nickel, do not touch your skin. This does not guarantee that every pair of earrings is entirely hypoallergic and will not irritate people with sensitive ear lobes.

While certain hypoallergic earrings are exclusively crafted with skin safe metals such as surgical steel, titanium, and platinum, some may have allergy triggering metals beneath a coating of a safer metal type. So, if the skin safe coating wears away, you will your skin could irritate or suffer an allergic reaction from the allergen inducing base metal.

What are the Best Hypoallergic Earrings for Sensitive Ears?

Keep your eye out for earrings labeled as “nickel-free” and “hypoallergic.” There are countless jewelry stores dedicated to only selling nickel-free jewelry, such as Simply Whispers which you can always feel confident shopping at. Many retailers such as Macy’s also offer nickel-free earrings for sensitive ears, so you can keep shopping from favorite brands.

The best earrings for sensitive ears can be found at reputable jewelry stores, rather than bargain bins. Cheap products are more likely to be made with nickel because of how durable and inexpensive this metal is.

With any cheap jewelry, you may only get to enjoy wearing it a few times before its outer coating wears away. Then the base nickel becomes exposed and you will start seeing allergic symptoms again.

What are the Best Metals for Sensitive Ears?

The great news for people with metal sensitivity is that there are plenty of alternatives that can be fearlessly worn without causing a reaction. Try wearing hypoallergic earrings made with:

  • Platinum
  • Fine Silver
  • Surgical Steel
  • Copper
  • Titanium
  • Niobium
  • Argentium

How to know if earrings are hypoallergenic

Nickel-free products are a fantastic alternative for people with sensitive ears. Be sure to buy a quality pair, ones that do not have a hidden base metal of nickel which will eventually become exposed with wear. Nickel-free earrings are a safe alternative for any skin type.


Which Metals are Hypoallergenic?

Jewelry can be made with countless metal types, from classic 18 karat gold to exotic black titanium, and even wood, the possibilities are limitless. Check out if your favorite metal types make the cut:


Not always. Since brass is an alloy (a metal made by combining at least two metallic elements), it has the potential to have nickel mixed into it.

Sterling silver?

Not always. Sterling silver is just 92.5% pure, which may sound high, but even if just a little bit of nickel is used to make sterling silver, people with allergies will suffer.

Gold plated?

Not always. Gold plated simply means that there is a layer of gold plating over a different type of metal. If the gold plating wears away and nickel becomes exposed, allergens will trigger.


Yes. As nickel is the biggest metal allergen causer, nickel free jewelry is safe to wear.


Yes. Titanium is one of the safest materials for sensitive ears.

Surgical steel?

You might have guessed this from the name, but surgical steel means that it is safe to use for surgical purposes. If a metal is safe enough to be used in surgery, then is perfectly safe to wear as jewelry.

Stainless steel?

No. Stainless steel is an alloy made with nickel and chromium (another metal that can cause allergic reactions). So no to stainless steel, but don’t get confused with surgical steel, which is okay.


Not always. As long as you buy jewelry made with fine silver, which is 99.9% pure, you should have no issues with allergens.


Not always. While rhodium is nickel-free, if the plating wears away and the earring post is made with nickel, rhodium-plated earrings are not hypoallergenic.

White gold?

Not always. Similar to other materials, white gold is sometimes mixed with nickel to improve its durability at a low cost.

Zinc alloy?

Not always. Since jewelers do not use pure zinc when making jewelry, other metals such as nickel are mixed with the zinc to create an alloy.


Where to Buy Hypoallergenic Earrings?

One of the best things about hypoallergenic earrings for sensitive skin is the wide range of styles that they come in. We will show you where to buy hypoallergenic alternatives of your favorite types of earrings and styles:


Jeweler Simply Whispers exclusively sells a wide assortment of affordable stud earrings, such as gold plated four-prong diamond studs. From time to time they offer free shipping as well.

Hoops & Huggies:

We all know that no jewelry collection is complete without a pair of hoops and Simply Whispers has you covered with these classic medium-sized hoops.

Earring hooks:

Get crafty with these hypoallergenic earring hooks from Beadaholique to make your long time favorite pair of earrings wearable again. They offer free shipping after you spend a certain amount.

Cartilage earrings:

Step up your earring style with these darning cartilage earrings by Simply Whispers with its unique clover setting.

Gold earrings:

You do not always need to wear massive jewelry to make a statement, these two golden bobbles from Simply Whispers will effortlessly elevate your style at a great price.

Titanium earrings:

Titanium earrings are easy for anyone to enjoy, allergies or not, and these titanium violet bar studs from Blomdahl will add a much-needed pop of color to any dull day.

Earrings for babies:

While there is no definitive earring style for babies, your safest option are classic studs. They are not likely to get caught on anything in your baby’s path like these smooth bezel set studs from Blomdahl.


These golden dangles from Lovoda will capture everyone’s attention as they offer a sleek hoop and two sleek dangle elements with bobbles at the ends. They offer free returns and free shipping over $50.

Earring backs:

Not only does Blomdahl offer countless earring styles, but they also have plenty of nickel free earring backs.

Earring sets:

Why settle with buying just one pair of earrings when you can buy a set of several styles to mix and match like this earring set of faux pearls, silver bobbles, and diamond simulants from Amazon?

Pearl earrings:

Pearl earrings are a timeless staple that belong in every jewelry lover’s arsenal, such as these lovely pearl studs from Lovoda.

Plastic earrings:

These medical plastic earrings with vibrant gems by Blomdahl are a safe option for all earring wearers.

Sterling silver earrings:

We can always depend on Macy’s to carry every earring style such as these sterling silver and diamond-adorned hoops.


Forget your grandma’s clip-ons, Pretty Smart Earrings offers these amazingly sleek clip-on hoops made with clear acrylic for a seamless look.

Earring lifts:

No one wants their ears to droop under the weight of their earrings. Save your style with these hypoallergenic earring lifts from Origin Trendy to raise up your ears and feel more confident.


Tassels are incredibly fun to wear as they sway with your every moment like these rich magenta tassels from Lovoda.

After reading our buying guide on hypoallergic earrings, are you ready to make the switch? Will you DIY your jewelry box and buy hypoallergic earring backings to upgrade the longtime favorite studs you love?

Perhaps you are now ready to say goodbye to your old allergy-inducing jewelry and change to safe, nickel-free earrings so always look your best without the stress of painful breakouts?

Whatever pair of earrings for sensitive ears you pick, enjoy the countless hypoallergenic metal alternatives available to you.

Learn More about Buying Earrings:

Carl A. Jones, GIA GG

Carl A. Jones is a GIA Graduate Gemologist with over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. He is an independent jewelry appraiser. He specializes in determining the value of diamonds and advising consumers on how to buy quality diamond jewelry.

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