Allergic reactions in the ear may primarily be due to an allergy to metals, the plating on earrings, or other materials. Allergic responses can occur on the earlobe, the helix, or other parts of the ear. Some may believe that all gold-plated earrings are alike and can be problematic for sensitive ears, but that’s not true. In gold-plated jewelry, the base metal that may not be good for individuals with sensitivity in the ears could contain nickel. Nickel is a common allergen. If you have a nickel allergy, choose jewelry labeled as “nickel-free” or with “low nickel content” is a wise choice.
First, you need to know what is the gold plating and which base metals are typically used in gold-plated jewelry?
Gold plating on jewelry refers to a thin layer of gold that is electrochemically deposited or mechanically bonded onto the surface of a base metal. The base metal can be made of various materials such as copper, brass, stainless steel, or other alloys.
What Does the Term 18k Mean？
It means that 18K gold-plated earrings have a thin layer of gold with an 18K purity applied or bonded to the surface of a base metal. This gives the earrings the appearance of being made of solid 18K gold while being more affordable than solid gold jewelry.
Are 18k Gold-Plated Earrings OK for Sensitive Ears?
If your ears are sensitive, 18k gold-plated earrings might be okay, but it’s important to know that people react differently. Whether these earrings are safe for sensitive ears depends on what metal is underneath, how thick the gold layer is, and how sensitive you are personally.
If you experience an allergic reaction when in contact with nickel metal, it’s best to avoid wearing gold-plated jewelry. (Because the gold layer in gold-plated jewelry is relatively thin, and over time, the plating may wear off, increase the risk of allergic reactions). Instead, consider choosing stainless steel, sterling silver, or titanium jewelry. When purchasing jewelry, check the product labels or descriptions to understand the ingredients and manufacturing materials, ensuring you select jewelry that is more safe to you.
Is 18k Gold-Plated Better Than 12k or 14k Gold-Plated Jewelry?
18 karats represents a higher gold purity compared to 12k or 14k gold. Some people may think that the higher the gold content in gold-plated items, the less likely it is to cause allergies. But the safety of gold-plated earrings is not necessarily determined by the karatage of the gold but rather by the materials used in the plating process and the individual wearer’s sensitivities. Both 18k and 12k or 14k gold-plated earrings can be safe if factors like base metal quality, thickness of gold plating, and individual sensitivity are taken into consideration.
How to Prevent Gold-Plated Earrings From Causing Irritation or Discomfort to Your Skin?
- Choose Safe Earrings:
Pick gold-plated earrings labeled as safe or nickel-free to avoid causing allergies.
- Go for Better Quality:
Choose gold-plated earrings with more gold for longer-lasting wear and less contact with your skin.
- Watch for Nickel:
Check if the base metal has nickel, a common allergen, and avoid it in gold-plated jewelry.
- Stay Dry:
Take off gold-plated earrings before swimming or showering to prevent quick wear and tear.
- Use Nail Polish:
Apply clear nail polish on earring backs to create a barrier, reducing direct contact with your skin.
- Keep Them Clean:
Regularly clean gold-plated earrings with a damp cloth to remove oils and maintain their appearance.
But overcleaning gold-plated earrings can be counterproductive. To maintain the longevity and appearance of gold-plated earrings, it’s recommended to clean them only when necessary and to use gentle cleaning methods.
- Take Breaks:
Avoid wearing gold-plated earrings for long periods to reduce the risk of irritation and allow your skin to recover.
- Test Sensitivity:
Test new earrings for a short time to check for any skin irritation before extended wear.
- Try Alternatives:
If you have ongoing skin issues, consider earrings made of materials like sterling silver or titanium.
- Seek Professional Advice:
Consult a dermatologist or allergist if you experience persistent skin irritation for personalized advice on allergies.
People with sensitive ears can still wear earrings; it’s just that certain factors need to be considered when choosing. The main goal is to balance beauty and comfort. Fortunately, at Meideya, most of our gold-plated earrings are made with stainless steel as the base metal, and the gold plating is of good quality, so you don’t have to worry about causing sensitivity reactions. Just come to join us and find a pair of perfect earrings for yourself!