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Why are my ears sensitive to earrings?

Why are my ears sensitive to earrings?

Did you ever buy a cute pair of earrings but finally didn't get to wear them because they irritated your ears?

If your answer is no, you're very lucky, but if yes, you are certainly part of the huge set of people (still lucky, you are not lonely) with sensitive ears, hence Jewellry allergies.

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What are jewelry allergies?

These are the different reactions of your skin, when it comes in contact with a particular metal, mostly a Nickel-containing metal. 

Common symptoms on the ears may be itchy, red and painful earlobes. Sometimes, the infected area may become dry or blistered, pigmented (it changes in colour) and thickened.

In all cases, these are not pleasant and can give a really hard time both to the person and those around.

Most jewelry allergies will primarily require getting away from Nickel. Another method will be coating or plating your earrings again–but first things first, we need to recognize Nickel-made earrings.

earrings hurt 3

How to know if your jewelry contains Nickel

Nickel is very much used in the manufacture of precious metal alloys. It is either mixed with the precious metal or used as based metal, then plated by gold or silver (the precious metal). It would therefore be very difficult, by sight only, to distinguish between a plated jewelry and one that is Nickel-free.

There are two effective methods, however, to tell if your jewelry contains Nickel;

1) The composition of your earrings' metal. If your earrings are not made in 18 carats -24 carats gold, stainless steel, 925-999 silver or pure platinum, just always assume it contains Nickel. When a metal is not purely used for your earrings, or just in some proportion, you need to know that they are alloyed with other metals like nickel or brass.

Let's take an example with gold; a 24 carats gold, contains 99.9% of gold. That is o.1% is left out, which is occupied by nickel. In the same way

  • 18 carats gold contains 75% of gold.

  • 12 carats gold contains 50% of gold and

  • 9 carats contains only 37.5% of gold.

2) Test your earrings (or jewelry). You can get a nickel-testing kit from a pharmacy, the internet, or from a dermatologist. This kit is in the form of a liquid and will turn a nickel-containing metal pink if applied on. Note that the liquid will not damage your earrings if this one does not contain Nickel in a high proportion.

These are excellent methods of avoiding Nickel allergies, and therefore the allergic reactions that go with them.

Another very effective way to avoid these is to opt for earrings that are 'friendly' to your sensitive ears.

earrings hurt 1

The best earrings for sensitive ears

As mentioned above, it is very difficult to distinguish between a plated earring and a nickel free one by sight only; they are all shiny and women, principally, will fall for beautiful designs. So in getting the best earrings for your sensitive ears, you might want to consider the following;

  • The material or metal. The most suitable earrings for sensitive ears are made with gold (18k-24k), Sterling silver (925-999), stainless (surgical) steel, platinum, titanium, plastic or niobium.

  • Nickel-free. Get earrings that are marked Nickel-free.

  • Some earrings are marked hypoallergenic. These are good for sensitive ears, but might still be just nickel-coated. The protection will only last for like 2 weeks and after that they may still hurt you.

  • Avoid earrings made with nickel-posts.

How to make your earrings hypoallergenic

If you still love your nickel-made earrings, or maybe just want your earrings to be safer for your ears, making them hypoallergenic will be wise. You do not need complex chemical compositions or high-tech equipment do not worry, all what you might need for this is clear nail polish, hydrogen peroxide, Vaseline, a clean tissue and you being still and chilled.

  • Method 1: Paint the posts of your earrings twice (2 coats) with clear nail polish. Wait for some minutes and when perfectly dry put them on and shine.

  • Method 2: This is in the case you are in a hurry, or just can't wait to finally put your earrings on.

Clean the post of your earrings with hydrogen peroxide and apply 2 coats of Vaseline before wearing.

Note that this method works for only about two hours, after that you will have to go through this procedure again.

 

earrings hurt 2

Other reasons why your ears may hurt and what to do

Allergies are not the only cause of swollen earlobes or ear pains. You will agree with me that if your earlobe already hurts, wearing earrings will make the condition even worse. So before jumping into any conclusions, note that earlobe pains can be as a result of;

  • Ear piercings. After being pierced, your earlobe will usually hurt or swell for 1-2 weeks. If the pain goes beyond that time period, make sure you see a doctor because your ears may be infected. To avoid infections, make sure your ear piercings are made by a qualified person. This to make sure not only the right equipment is used but also that this last is sterilised as it should be.

  • Some people experience crusting of the ear after wearing earrings. This is a common reaction after being pierced. It is as a result of your body's natural healing process. The crusting are dead blood cells and plasma that dry out after being in contact with air.

  • Injury. A very small pull on your earrings, being hit on your ears or wearing very heavy earrings is enough to make your earlobe to swell.

  • Medical conditions. This can be an abscess (or bump under or on your skin filled with pus) or a cellulitis (bacterial infection on the skin).

Should you remove your earrings when your ears hurt?

When your ears hurt after a piercing, it is totally natural, the pain will dissipate after sometimes so you might want to keep your earrings on. If you remove the piercing which is in its beginning a wound might close back while healing.

In any other case, remove your earrings and if the pain is unbearable, see a doctor after removing them.

Why am I allergic to my earrings?

Apart from nickel, a fungal infection is a possible cause of your reaction to the earring as well. However, it is also possible that you just have really sensitive skin. In either case, the thing to do is stop wearing earrings until you can figure out the root cause of your reactions.

Can one ear be allergic to earrings?

Yes, one ear can be allergic to earrings. This is called 'allergic contact dermatitis' and can be very troublesome as it may require lifetime avoidance of the earring material. You can try out another pair of earrings made out of gold or other non-allergenic metals like tungsten, platinum or stainless steel to see if you are still reacting to them.

Why do my ears get crusty after wearing earrings?

Ear piercing contains some risk of infection due to the skin damage caused by the earring. It is important to rotate the earrings worn in each ear periodically to reduce this risk. If you are still having problems after having changed your earrings, then there may be an infection present that needs medical attention. You should also visit a doctor if you have additional symptoms like fever.

Why do my earrings smell?

This type of contact dermatitis/allergic reaction is known as "irritant contact dermatitis", and usually appears when the earring makes a scratch at the ear canal. Compounds like nickel, chromium, manganese, iron and salt (from sea water) are known to cause this problem. This is even happens when the earrings are unjeweled. The culprit is not necessarily the metal itself but rather the skin damage which occurs in that area. The damage can occur regardless of material used for earring making.

Why do my ears get swollen when I wear earrings?

You can see a doctor if this is so, or do some allergy tests to find out if its your earrings. Some solutions to the problem are wearing looser-fitting earrings (especially those which will rest on your lobe) or putting a few drops of 'Hypo-Allergenic Water' into each ear while wearing the earring. This prevents irritation by causing the skin around the area to relax

Why do my ears bleed when I wear fake earrings?

If you have ever worn fake or plastic earrings you may be allergic to the material. A very light rash (also known as an 'earlobe rash') occurs when the material scratches the skin in your ear canal. You can try wearing a different pair of earrings to see if the problem persists. If not, visit a doctor as this could be a serious problem.

Why don't I have allergic reactions to all the materials used in fashion?

Some people are very sensitive to lead whereas others are not. My earrings can be an issue for me so I would say that 'Yes, it's possible to be allergic to more than one thing'. The only way of finding out is by testing each and every material and alloy used in jewelry manufacturing.

The only tests available at this time are those that look for allergies/allergies (called 'patch tests'). By looking at how your skin reacts during the test you can see how sensitive your body is to a particular material.

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Other Questions

Why are butterfly back earrings bad?

Traditional butterfly earrings are very light to wear and comfortable, but their back, which slides into the post, makes the earrings very tight and sometimes close to the lobes.

This is bad for all kinds of ears, especially sensitive ears. 

If the earring is made with a nickel-containing metal, it can cause allergies; swelling of the earlobe, itching and pain.

We should also note that earrings that are extremely close to the skin of your earlobe trap air, which makes that area of your skin moist and prone to infections.

 

Is it bad to leave earrings on all the time?

When you just got your ears pierced, keeping them all the time for about two weeks is necessary for the hole to form itself and stay open. If you remove them, the piercing, which is still a wound on your ears at that time, will tend to close itself while healing.

In other cases, it is fine to have your earrings on all the time. 

Even though OK, it is however advised to remove earrings when taking a shower as soap or gel may get stuck in them and give the earrings a strange greenish colour later on. 

Also, having very heavy earrings on all the time, may cause your ear lobe to swell.

 

Why is black stuff coming out of my earrings hole?

The black stuff that usually comes out of your earrings, sometimes with an unpleasant smell, is simply sebum (oily, waxy substance produced in your skin glands) and dead skin cells from your ear holes.

According to healthcaremagic.com, your ear holes might host some collection of dirt made from crust because of perspiration and water.

It is nothing dangerous and can easily be cleaned up using some cotton and alcohol.

 

About This Article 

Date : March 18, 2021

Author : Nick, Website Owner And Writer

Experience : Hi, I am Nick, and I have suffered with ear problems my whole life, mainly tinnitus. I have tried a lot of products to help protect my ears over this period, and several devices to block out the constant ringing

“Are you having problems hearing? If so, those around you already know it. Hearing loss is no laughing matter, so don’t be a punchline.”

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