Like a solid pair of pumps or an expensive handbag, the right pair of earrings can make an outfit. But if you end up with skin irritation, redness and swelling from that pair, it will likely be the last time you wear it. The best earrings for sensitive ears are gentle on your skin—and gorgeous to look at. Interestingly, you don’t need to have sensitive skin to react to jewelry. Dr. Geeta Yadav, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Facet Dermatology, says cold, dry weather, and eczema can also be possible culprits. However, the most common causes of earlobe irritation are piecing infections and contact metal allergies—specifically to nickel, copper and cobalt.
The best earrings for sensitive skin are made from pure metal; specifically gold (14 carats or higher), sterling silver, titanium and platinum. Since those materials also tend to be expensive, we consulted jewelry experts for their advice on the safest and most stunning options. The top pick overall is Mejuri Dôme Hoops for their comfort-first fit, timeless design and high quality materials. For an affordable pair, consider Quince’s Silver Croissant Hoop Earrings, which are equally stylish and cost less than $30. Ahead, 9 of the best earrings for sensitive ears that we highly recommend.
Mejuri is known for their modern-yet-classic designs with many pieces made in gold vermeil, which is sterling silver coated with 18k gold. This material is affordable and nickel-free, making it safe to sweat, swim and sleep in. These Dôme Hoops are a good choice to elevate simple, everyday outfits. For a slightly fancier option, consider the Bold Pearl Drop earrings with gold vermeil posts.
Founded on the idea that luxury items shouldn’t be inaccessible, Quince cuts out the middlemen to keep their prices low and includes a breakdown of all their costs under each product, so you know exactly what you are paying for. For less than $50, these sterling silver earrings are irritation-free and won’t tarnish over time. For a thinner hoop, try the Silver Statement Hoops.
Sensitive skin-friendly earrings don’t have to be limited to simple studs and hoops. BaubleBar offers a wide range of hypoallergenic and statement-making earrings. These 18 carat gold-plated sterling silver and cubic zirconia creations add a little personality to any look.
Materials: Rhodium-plated sterling silver | Other options: gold | Hypoallergenic: Yes | Tarnish-proof: No
Sterling silver is an alloy that often includes a mixture of silver and another metal, usually copper. Maison Miru’s sterling silver earrings have a 92.5% concentration of silver (the highest possible), and they are coated in rhodium, which is hypoallergenic and provides high shine. Plus, these hoops in particular don’t require closures, so you can forget about pinching and pulling. For added security when wearing, squeeze the two ends together.
A specialist in gold, Aurate exclusively uses 14k or 18k gold for their modern minimalist pieces. This higher quality of gold improves the material’s longevity and also diminishes the chance of an unwanted reaction. You can opt for solid gold or gold-plated options depending on your preference and budget.
Materials: Titanium, titanium nitride coatings | Other options: Silver color | Hypoallergenic: Yes | Tarnish-proof: Yes
Tini Lux jewelry is specifically designed for those with metal allergies or sensitive skin. All pieces feature medical-grade titanium and many of the earrings, including these Livie studs, are coated in hypoallergenic titanium nitride to prevent tarnishing and provide a gold hue. Also nice: the post on these earrings won’t poke the back of your neck so you sleep in them.
Stone And Strand designs everyday jewelry made from high-quality materials, including solid gold that won’t tarnish or cause rashes, and at prices that are significantly lower than fine jewelry. These large hoops have a hassle-free, slide-in back closure and are versatile in size that you can wear to work or parties. For a bit more glitz, consider diamond pave, pearl or textured designs.
For sensitive skin folks who like the look of hoops but not the feel, huggies are the next best thing. As the name suggests, the silhouette hugs your lobe and feels much lighter than dangling hoops. With this two-tone, reversible pair from Studs, you don’t have to choose between gold and silver (just switch the side that faces out). They’re safe for sensitive ears, with internal brass that’s coated in 14k gold and rhodium to ensure comfort.
Materials: 14k gold | Other options: Rose gold, yellow gold, white gold, platinum | Hypoallergenic: Yes | Tarnish-proof: Yes
Blue Nile sells diamonds and fine jewelry without the middleman, keeping their prices low and quality high. While you can find many diamond options that are safe for sensitive ears, these simple studs are a staple that you’ll wear endlessly whether in gold, rose gold or platinum. You can also design your own pair, choosing the stone size, setting and more, so it fits your exact taste.
Why Trust Forbes Vetted
Here at Forbes Vetted, we’ve researched, tested and written extensively about the jewelry market, from evaluating the most trusted sources for lab-grown diamonds to hunting down the best jewelry stores online. As a contributor, I interviewed multiple experts for this story, including Dr. Geeta Yadav, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Facet Dermatology, and Aroom Han, the senior vice president of merchandising at Studs. I also read reviews, tested products and researched materials and metals to find the best earrings for sensitive ears. As a freelance writer, my work has appeared in publications including Instyle and Well and Good, and I’m the former beauty editor for Real Simple and Health magazines.