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How to Buy Hypoallergenic Earrings

by Julianna Church
Last updated on April 15, 2023
Bridal Earrings + Lab Diamond Jewelry

Do you ever buy yourself some new jewelry only to find that it leaves traces of green on your skin? This often happens with fashion rings but can also occur with earrings. When this happens, everyone’s first thought is that the jewelry piece is fake. That’s not entirely true. The green left behind isn’t some discoloration left from metals; it’s an allergic reaction. Hypoallergenic earrings can help solve this issue.

Why Your Earrings Turn Green

Admittedly, many of these come from earrings and jewelry that have been plated with precious metals. Cheaper earrings on different marketplace sites are often coated with thin layers of gold over other metals. Gold can be plated over sterling silver, brass, stainless steel, or unnamed mixed metals.

Some jewelry metals won’t have a precious metal plated over them. Instead, they may just have a gold color painted over the metal. If you read that jewelry is gold tone, rose gold tone, or silver tone, it is not actually gold. These are merely color finishes painted over a pair of earrings.

When your skin turns green, it’s less about the realness of the jewelry and more about your sensitive skin. If having negative reactions to products is a common theme your life, you’re more likely to have the same type of problem with your earrings as well.

Having sensitive skin or sensitive ears doesn’t usually mean you can’t have your ears pierced. Some cases involve people not being able to wear earrings at all due to the stress or irritation of their earlobes. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

Other Allergic Reactions to Earrings

Turning into the Hulk isn’t the only allergic reaction you can have from jewelry metals. Some people get rashes, redness, itchiness, or hives.

Uncommon and Common Metal Allergies for Sensitive Ears

Though nickel is the most common metal allergy, there are other metals you could be allergic to. Some metal allergies are more rare than others.


According to the American Academy of Dermatology, around 18% of North America suffers from a nickel allergy.


Copper can be a base metal for gold-plated jewelry, but it’s also how yellow gold and rose gold jewelry are created. It is also one of the key elements in brass jewelry, usually coated with a color or precious metal.

Stainless Steel

There may be traces of copper and nickel in stainless steel. Typically, stainless steel doesn’t cause a reaction, but it can for those with severe allergies.


Zinc is often used in metal alloys in brass jewelry or unnamed plated metals. You’re more likely to find it in costume jewelry or resin pieces.


Chromium allergies are far less heard of than the previous allergy types. While not as common, they can still happen. Chromium isn’t found in precious metals like silver, gold, or platinum, but can be part of mixed metals in costume jewelry.


Cobalt is a less common metal sensitivity, probably because there isn’t as much cobalt jewelry in stock at retailers. You’re even less likely to come into contact with earrings made of cobalt. However, this is one of the few metals known to produce skin reactions from contact.

Nickel-Free Earrings vs Hypoallergenic Earrings

up-close shot of a model wearing two earrings in one ear

If you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re allergic to nickel, you can wear nickel-free earrings or hypoallergenic earrings. But understand that nickel-free and hypoallergenic don’t mean the same thing.

I’ll explain.

Nickel-free jewelry allows customers with nickel sensitivities to purchase jewelry that won’t cause a reaction. However, it only works for customers with a nickel allergy, not any other metal sensitivity.

For example, if you’re allergic to another metal, a nickel-free pair of earrings could still cause your skin to change. Hypoallergenic earrings cover all the metal allergies.

That being said, you should choose carefully where you purchase pairs of hypoallergenic earrings. Some companies claim their jewelry is hypoallergenic and people still have issues with them. These may be found in marketplace-style shops like Amazon or Etsy.

While we’d like to say that every online jewelry seller is trustworthy, it’s simply not true. So just in case you have reservations about buying diamond earrings online, we offer a generous return policy to help our customers feel comfortable and safe buying online from Clean Origin.

Our 100 day return policy is one of the biggest reasons why adults choose our site for their first online diamond buying experience. Having around three months is long enough to see if you’ll have any reactions to our recycled metals.

Hypoallergenic Earrings for Sensitive Ears

model wearing two earrings in one ear

If you have a nickel allergy, wearing 14K or 18K rose gold or yellow gold is better for you. These gold metals are nickel-free. You also have the option of wearing platinum earrings if you have a love for the silvery color of traditional white gold jewelry.

White gold jewelry can be nickel-free, but you’ll need to ask the manufacturer whether or not it is. You’re less likely to have an allergic reaction to gold jewelry if the purity is higher. For example, 18K gold as opposed to 14K gold. But don’t make the mistake of thinking you need to search out 24k gold.

Platinum is considered a hypoallergenic metal, and we give all our customers the option to choose platinum for their earrings. Other jewelry metals that are considered hypoallergenic include tantalum, medical-grade stainless steel, and titanium.


The moral of the story is that if you know you have sensitive skin, you may start searching out hypoallergenic earrings made of platinum or gold. While no jewelry metal is completely hypoallergenic, there a few that are frequently considered to be so:

  • Platinum
  • Sterling silver
  • Tungsten
  • Titanium
  • 14K Gold
  • 18K Gold

However, it’s possible for people to develop a reaction to these metals if they’re alloyed with reactive metals. Some companies may alloy their metals differently.

At Clean Origin, our pairs of earrings come in various styles. They are all crafted in hypoallergenic metals of recycled gold and platinum. For those with more sensitive ears, we also carry earrings in 18K gold.

If you happen to fall in love with a pair of our ethically sourced earrings but are unsure if you need hypoallergenic earrings, our return policy will back you up in case you have skin reactions.

Always take metal allergies seriously. If any pairs of earrings are making your skin react, you should remove them immediately to be safe. If you know you are allergic to certain metals, avoid them completely. No piece of jewelry is worth contact dermatitis.