Common Earring Allergies
Metal allergies are very common to most people who wear earrings, especially those with sensitive skin. Nickel and cobalt are among the most common problem makers, and they are found in just about all of the metal beads and findings in jewelry.
Copper and brass beads and findings often contain a very high concentration of cobalt and nickel.
Sterling silver is made up of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of other alloys, including copper and nickel. But be careful of many products you find that claim t be ‘sterling silver’.
Gold is probably the least allergenic of the metals beaders often use, but it also has some trace of copper or silver in it. The higher the karat number, the less the amount of alloys, but if you’re extremely allergic to metal, you might want to be wary of this one, too.
SO WHAT TO DO?
Try painting three or more coats of clear nail polish on your metal findings and beads to keep the metal away from your skin! Do a test run before you put too much effort into the project to make sure this will work. Also this needs to be reapplied regularly.
Gold can be worn by some with a mild allergy. But it should be 14K or higher.
Surgical Steel. The term “Surgical” steel does not mean anything. It can be a very low grade of steel which can/will contain reactive metals. If you are considering steel for piercings it should be of “implant grade”. The most common metal that meets implant grade standards is
316-lvm stainless steel. It must meet all requirements of ASTM-F138 to be considered implant grade.
Consider nonreactive metals:
Titanium is the safest metal available for sensitive skin, especially for anyone allergic to nickel or silver. It is used for surgical implants and earrings are the same medical grade. Allergic reactions to titanium are almost unheard of.
These earrings are available in polished titanium, which looks like silver or platinum and also in anodised colours. Anodising is an electrochemical process which causes the surface of the metal to change colour, there are no other materials added and there is no plating or painting.