Considering hypoallergenic earrings, lets get the bad news upfront: hypoallergenic means less likely to cause allergic reactions, not certain avoidance of them. Some wearers who are especially sensitive will still have reactions, no matter how careful jewelry makers are in trying to prevent them.
The good news? Many retailers, large and small, create beautiful hypoallergenic earrings. Some will be effective for almost everyone.
Even the expert handmade jewelry makers you can find at craft fairs and online get their basic material, like hooks, from sources that are hypoallergenic. It may take some trial and error, but you may very likely find a technique that works for you.
The Skinny On Allergies
Allergic reactions are an unfortunate side effect of our miraculous immune systems. Many people suffer from them in other situations, cat allergies, for example.
These systems respond strongly whenever they sense that something inappropriate is in or on our bodies. But like the well-known immune reaction after organ transplants, sometimes they make a mistake by reacting to something good and helpful.
Our bodies’ responses are fast and powerful. They are also somewhat blind.
With earrings, the culprit that seems most often to trigger reactions is nickel. Nickel is a naturally occurring element that is part of many alloys used in jewelry manufacture. It has attractive qualities that are useful but also carries with it the threat of allergic reactions.
How Hypoallergenic Earrings Can Help
The trick for jewelry designers who want to help customers by reducing their risk of reactions is to find the most effective methods for keeping harmful allergen from touching your skin.
Nickel, as previously mentioned, is most often the problem, but our immune systems can be triggered by many things. Some allergy sufferers never even know for sure what their triggers are. It can be highly personal.
- With earrings, there are several hypoallergenic strategies that may be effective.
- Stainless steel is probably the most frequently used material for making hypoallergenic earrings or components. For extremely sensitive ears, it can release enough minute amounts of nickel and other metals to cause a reaction.
- Gold-plating is also used to limit exposure to allergens, but even expensive gold posts, labeled 14K are only a little more than half-gold, the remainder of the composition being alloys, including nickel. They arent perfect, no matter what they cost.
- Sterling silver can also be effective and is especially popular in antique jewelry, but its still only 92% silver, the rest being other metals, mainly copper.
- Surgical stainless steel is the recommendation of some manufacturers, especially those specializing in hypoallergenic earrings. As youd expect, this is the steel used by surgeons for orthopedic implants and for instruments. It has qualities for hardness and infection resistance that are admired, but here again, read the fine print. Nickel is one of its components.
Earring shoppers with sensitive skin have all of the above options when looking for hypoallergenic earrings. Maybe you can check out the original and creative jewelry designers you meet at craft fairs and trust their suggestions. You can also find endless options at retailers like Walmart, Overstock.Com and Amazon.
Since there are so many possibilities and few want to give up on earrings altogether, the smart choice may be to try hypoallergenic earrings from many sources until you find the one your sensitive skin can handle. Youre unlikely to run short of original, creative choices before you find the one that works most comfortably for you.
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