Ever try on a gorgeous pair of heels but then realize they’re the blister-causing kind once you’ve tried them on? Yep, it’s equally as disappointing when you find an eye-catching set of earrings only to find it’s made of materials that could irritate your skin. Sure, they say pain is beauty, but when that pain involves itchiness, redness, and uncomfortable rashes (on an already-thin and sensitive part of your skin, no less), it begs the question: “were these hoops really worth it?” The short answer is, well, no.
And remember: you’ll know if your piercing is infected if it’s red, inflamed, sore, hot to touch, or if it’s releasing puss. You should consult with your physician if you suspect you have an infection.
The truth is, if you’re someone who struggles with finding earrings that won’t cause discomfort, you may have to work a little harder to find your match. “Unfortunately, sterling silver jewelry is made with a mix of metals, often nickel, which is the most significant irritant to sensitive ears,” explains Ottawa-based medical director of Concept Medical Samuel Hetz, MD. “Those with sensitive ears want to find hypoallergenic rhodium-plated jewelry with low to no nickel content.” He recommends looking for the standard benchmarks of 14k gold or above as well as sterling silver 925 grade to reduce the chances of nickel content.
Because we don’t believe those with sensitive skin should be left out of the party, we rounded up nine of the best earrings for sensitive ears that are always stylish, and never irritating.
BaubleBar Sutara 18K Gold Earrings
For sensitive-skinned folks, Baublebar’s Sutara Earrings will make you thank your lucky stars they’re made out of 18k gold. To take things a step further, they’re hypoallergenic, proving they’re really made for those who have a contact allergy in mind. The pavé design ensures you’re always glistening while the asymmetric style provides an unexpected twist to traditional star-shaped earrings. Throw these on solo or stack them with other studs for a real rockstar vibe.
Jenny Bird Rafael Drop Earring
Why choose between silver and gold when you can have them both? Jenny Bird’s Rafael Drop Earrings uniquely fuse the two metals together for one final product that has a cool-girl vibe written all over it. This pair is made out of high-quality 14k gold to minimize the risk of irritation. What’s more, if you’re looking to take things down a notch, the bottom link is removal. How’s that for having options?
Tory Burch Miller Stud Leather Hoop Earring
Leather on your ears is always a good idea, as proven by Tory Burch’s Miller Stud Leather Hoop Earrings. This pair takes an iconic earring style (hoops) and jazzes it up with the brand’s signature buttery leather and double-T logo. Plus, you won’t find any nickel in these 18k gold-plated brass earrings, making the triple-digit price tag well worth the investment.
Mejuri Bold Pearl Trio Hoop Earrings
Mejuri modernizes classic pearl studs by throwing three of them onto a gold vermeil-plated hoop. We love that these elegant accessories are so versatile: wear the Bold Pearl Trio Hoop Earnings to elevate a basic outfit, or to serve as the finishing touch to your special event ensemble. Either way, the freshwater pearls and 18k solid gold on sterling silver are unlikely to make your ears irritated.
Jennifer Behr Brynn Hoop Earrings
There are statement pieces, and then there are statement pieces. Jennifer Behr’s Brynn Hoop Earrings are surefire head-turners — let’s be real, it’s impossible to ignore the gorgeous dangling butterflies. This pair is nickel-free and surprisingly lightweight despite its length — translation: your ears will be comfortable as you wear them and when it comes time to remove them.
Tini Lux understood the assignment: create trendy jewelry at affordable prices that don’t irritate the skin. The brand is a product of founder Jackie Burke’s own struggles with finding earrings that accommodated her sensitivities and contact allergy to metal. These Resort Hoops are perfect for your next beach vacation — they come in fun pink and blue colors, are easily stackable, and won’t turn green if you take a dip in the pool since they’re waterproof. Best of all, they’re nickel-free, hypoallergenic, and made of pure, medical-grade titanium to keep skin protected.
Abbott Lyon Luxe Heart Stud Earrings
We’ll always say yes to rose gold earrings, especially if they’re plated with 18k rose gold and made with nickel-free sterling silver like the Abbott Lyon Luxe Heart Stud Earrings. This pair comes with a two-year warranty but we bet you won’t need it considering the earrings are water-, heat-, and sweat-resistant, and made with an anti-tarnish protective coating. The option to personalize these with a letter on each also adds a nice touch (and makes for a great gift, too).
Bony Levy 14K Gold Knot Stud Earrings
Your go-to pair of everyday earrings should be comfortable, lightweight, and easy to style. Bony Levy’s Italy-made 14k Gold Knot Stud Earrings are all of that and more, bringing along their delicacy to every look you pair them with. The Nordstrom-exclusive brand is dedicated to providing high-quality materials — as such, you won’t find anything less than 14k in their designs.
Throw your hair up into a ponytail because the last thing you’ll want to do is cover up these beauties from Modern Gents. The Leah earrings are gold-ball studs that are as timeless as they are comfortable to wear — they’re nickel-free, feature 925 sterling silver, and are plated with 18k gold to ward off irritation.