· Essential Oils · Help For Sensitive Earring Wearers – Like Me!
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Help For Sensitive Earring Wearers – Like Me!

I love big, dangly earrings! The problem is….most of them don’t love me. I say MOST because I know if I bought earrings with sterling silver or gold-plated hooks I would probably be fine…but I don’t. It never fails that the earrings I LIKE are cheapo kinds with cheapo hooks that end up making my earlobes sore and inflamed. Very frustrating.

When my earlobes get that way I will rub a drop or two of Tea Tree essential oil on them and it takes care of the discomfort right away! But I didn’t know how to PREVENT it in the first place. That is until I saw an idea by Karen Petersen at Today’s Mama about coating your earring hooks with Vaseline.

It makes perfect sense when you think about it. Coating the earring hooks with something that provides a barrier of sorts between your sensitive ears and the offending earring. Brilliant.

I decided to forego the petroleum-based Vaseline suggested, and instead used an alternative product I found at Whole Foods awhile ago called Waxelene that has no petroleum or hydrogenated oil. Another alternative would be to make your own. CLICK HERE to see my post on how to make your own NON-petroleum jelly.

Then I decided to take it one step further and added a few drops of Tea Tree to the Waxelene to create the best of both worlds sensitive ears remedy!

Tea Tree has powerful healing properties and combined with the waterproof barrier that the Waxelene provides, it’s the perfect combination.

Those of us with sensitive ears can now be fashionable AND comfortable! (Now if we could just come up with something similar for SHOES!)

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  • I used to have that problem too, until I found a company, years ago, called Simply Whispers. I bought the hoops and then changed out all of my earrings. They have worked for years. I always clean out my piercing because the holes can collect debris that might cause a problem. Alcohol does a good job for me, and it’s easy to do when changing earrings. I never thought of nail polish but after reading other comments it’s nice to know that works also. Thanks for the tip on the Waxelene and TeaTree oil. It is one of my oils I am never without. So many uses!

  • I have very sensitive skin all over but my ears are specially sensitive and react vengefully to my love for cute earrings. The best solution I came up with when I was in high school was to coat the offending piece of the earring with clear nail polish. It works perfectly and lasts about month if you use them every day. Acrylic top coat lasts double :-)

  • I have always coated the posts or earwires with clear nail polish. My daughter has sensitive ears and after we started doing this she has not suffered with sore earlobes.

  • Thank you so much for posting this! I started having trouble wearing earrings within the last 6 months. I was having to take my earrings out mid day and put them in my pocket. I have tried putting Vaseline on my earrings prior to wearing them and it has worked! I’ve done it 3 times now. Thank you so much for sharing this remedy.

  • Hey there Jillee! I have that problem too but I gave up wearing the cheapos almost altogether. But if you can’t do that….I would recommend something like perhaps shea butter- it will coat your earrings but not be potentially toxic to you.

    Hope that helps – take care!

  • I am soooo jealous of you earring wearers. I have had my ears pierced twice in my life and has been a disaster both times. I drove me so crazy when I did wear a pair that my ears got all swollen and read and nasty stuff came out. I cleaned my earrings, and did everything I could think of and it has unfortunately never worked out. I tried gold earrings, silver earrings and even tried the plastic earring covers…nothing has ever worked and I would love to try it again, but am afraid to even try… :(

  • Great idea! Though I’m a bit bummed because we just moved to Brazil and it’s more difficult to find non-petroleum options. I have been here for 2 months and am reeeeeally starting to miss Whole Foods!!! – Julie | alonewithmytea.blogspot.com

  • Thank you! I am so excited to try this!!!!!!!! It doesn’t matter what type of earring I wear, if it’s not gold my ears will bleed if I leave them in for more than a couple of hours. It was a real shame with all of the cute earrings I have, I usually just decided that the pain was worth it. Hopefully I won’t have to do that ever again!

  • I’ve used Vicks Vapo-Rub as a preventative (put a little on the earrings before putting them in) and also used it as a healing ointment (for those times I forget to put it on before putting the earrings in). It’s a bit “smelly”, but it works wonders. Usually I put it on before bed and I wake up with ears that are perfectly fine.

  • Thank you and everyone else for the tips. I’m looking forward to trying this as I rarely wear earrings anymore due to my sensitivity. It doesn’t seem to matter what kind I put in, most seemed to bother me.

  • Teresa, thanks for taking the time to share that info. I assume that’s what happened with me, too. I pretty much quit wearing earrings when I stopped working to become a stay-at-home mom 25 years ago and got to the point where my ears would become inflamed within minutes when I put a pair in. A few years ago, I tried buying some pricey 22k gold earrings and had no problems with them – but I can’t afford a full wardrobe of 22k gold earrings! Then, a year ago, I finally had a EUREKA! moment and tried coating the studs and hooks of a few pairs with nail polish and VOILA! I was able to wear a cheap pair all day with no problem. And now, a year later, I don’t even have to coat them – I apparently re-trained my ears to accept a foreign body in them just as your doctor explained. Though now that I think about it, that doesn’t explain why the 22k gold ones didn’t bother me. Hmmm…

  • I have always had a problem with earrings that weren’t 14k. I never realized that a simple coating of vaseline would do the trick. Thanks so much for the heads up. Definitely going to give it a try :) Love your website Jillie! Just made a batch of Powdered laundry detergent. What a great savings!

  • I love the idea of using melaleuca oil to heal the inflammation and soreness! I have been dipping my earring hooks into coconut oil, and it seems to do the trick to protect my ears. Now to mix up a batch of coconut oil with melaleuca ! Thanks. Jillie!

  • For anyone who wants to swap out earring hooks, make sure you open the rings correctly or you can ruin them. Not only do you not want to fiddle with the rings too much as over working the metal can make it brittle causing breakage but the ring may not close securely again but leave a gap or lose its round shape and look goofy.

    Go to YouTube and search for How to open a jump ring. I’d add a link but I’m using my iPhone and the app doesn’t provide URLs. Sorry.

    You always want to twist the rings open sideways. Never turn the O shaped ring into a U. It should become a warped twisted shape but still an O. You know how you have to pull open a key ring? Sideways? Like that. With cheap metal, you may only get one shot. Watch how to close it again too. You want to over close it slightly then pull the ends back to center. They will likely spring back there anyway. If you don’t, there will likely be a gap. If there’s a gap, you may lose your earrings.

    With tiny jump rings and most on earrings are tiny, you will need pliers to open and close the rings. Never use pliers with ridges or teeth to open and close jump rings like household needle nose pliers. If you aren’t willing to buy chain nose pliers (both cheap at craft stores with coupons, you need two pair), at least add a couple layers of plain household tape or one layer of electrical tape to the teeth so you don’t mar or worse, break the fine wire.

    If you balk at the cost, there’s an amazing amount of SUPER easy jewelry making you can do with only two pair of chain nose pliers, a pair of crimping pliers, flush cut wire cutters (also cheap), beads and wire. For $30-45 in tools, you can make hundreds of dollars worth of jewelry. Hello awesome gifts. And zillions of free tutorials out there on blogs, YouTube and on online bead store sites. HTH!

    JILLEE, if you read this, I’d be happy to do a guest post in time for the holidays!!

  • Simply Whispers catalog is great for buying new earrings. In addition to that, though, you can buy the earring hooks themselves to replace the ones that irritate you. All you’ll need is a pair of needle nose pliers.

  • For Sarah B. After going without earrings for several years, I, too, had the same problem when starting to wear them again: weepy, swollen piercings every time I wore a pair…I’d wait a week or so and try again, with the same results! I talked to my doctor about it, thinking I had developed an allergy. She said that when re-introducing earrings after a time of not wearing them, the body sees the earring as a foreign substance and tries to rid itself of them by overreacting with irritation. Given a few days with the earrings IN, however difficult, the ears will “settle down” and you can wear them again with no problem. Just make sure to regularly wear something in your piercings or you will face the irritation again. It worked for me!

    • It was same with me, every time I try these fancy earrings and boom my ear lobe is swollen. So one time I ignored the pain and discomfort but kept on wearing those earrings. After one time proper allergic reaction now I can wear any type of earrings with no issues at all.

  • I quit wearing my gold earrings when my baby was born. Now he’s 5 and I haven’t been able to wear the earrings again without them getting itchy and inflamed. I had no problems before I stopped wearing them. Any suggestions? I might try your trick!

  • I have used that antibiotic ointment(OTC) like generic Neosporin for years! I keep it with my make-up and dip when I put them on! It works!!! I use Target triple antibiotic ointment with”pain reliever”. Try it!

  • I have a nickel allergy too, but instead of coating the hooks I just go to Michaels or another craft store and buy new earring hooks that are sterling silver instead. They’re easy to replace and affordable enough that I don’t mind tossing them with the earrings when I’m done wearing them. Or if you wanted you could just move them to a new pair of earrings. You can find them around the beads and other jewelry making items. Best of luck!

    Also, if anyone knows how to prevent your belt buckle from causing an allergic reaction when that rubs through to the nickel I’d love to hear about it.

    • I’ve had success with nail polish. I put it on the back side of the
      Buckle and no more rash!
      Add me to the nickel allergy gang. My granddaughter also.
      Thanks to all of you for mentioning Whispers-I’ve had a hard
      time finding nickel free jewelry. I’ve had this allergy all my
      life and it is a major pain!

  • I’ll chime in with a few other commenters … I only buy earrings from simplywhispers.com. Everything is nickel-free. I haven’t done it yet, but I also noticed that they sell findings as well, so you could buy a pair of their nickel-free french hooks, for example, and replace just that part on a pair of earrings bought elsewhere.

  • I also have the allergy to nickel. I had to let my holes close up when I was a pre-teen, because of the reaction. My research revealed that it begins when your ears are first pierced and the nickel is introduced to your body through the starter earrings. When I had them re-pierced, and when my daughter got hers done, we used surgical steel starters. I still have the sensitivity, but she has no problems.

    • Interesting theory there. My dr assured me that there was no nickel in any parts of the procedure but alas, I also cannot wear nickel anything. Good thing I don’t need metal replacement parts!
      Next step is to investigate nickel in foods.And since nickel is part of stainless steel manufacturing, be wary of any chipped cooking pans. I’ve made the leap to cast iron and glass. By the time I get it all figured out, will I live long enough to enjoy what time I have left?

  • I have those same nickel sensitivities so I’m sitting here nodding my head and echo everyone else. It’s easier to just buy a pack of good ear wires and swap them out. Remembering to coat your hooks with petroleum jelly (aka vaseline) before every wear eww greasy no thank you :) But then again you do live in a drier climate than I do and I may be more sensitive than you are ( it’s a good thing trust me, I blister )

    BTW white gold can contain nickel, it’s what makes it white. There are lots of good articles on the chemistry of alloying gold and this wiki explains what’s in it pretty well.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colored_gold

    My daughters ears are sensitive too, I’ve started buying titanium for her.

  • James Avery also carries nickle free jewelry. But, I use Camp Wander’s Anti Aging Healing salve on mine and it is amazing. I put it on my face and then decided to try it on my earlobes. Instant relief and the next day my non James Avery earring went in pain free! I love the healing salve!

  • Thank you so much for this tip! I’m also allergic to nickel and the clear nail polish trick didn’t work on one of my favorite pairs. I will try the Waxeline and look into replacing my earring hooks and studs from the jewelry dept. as well as check out Whispers.

    Thanks everyone! Great advice!

  • I have an issue with earrings, even white gold irritates my ears. I swiped my ears with tea tree oil, and no problems. That stuff is a miracle. I use it for everything. Thank you Jillie for introducing me to your wonderful blog and all the great natural alternatives

  • I have been doing this for years with generic antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly. They both keep my ears very comfortable with any type of earring.

  • My husband is allergic to purer gold. His wedding ring is 24 ct (unless there is a higher one I forget it was a while ago) and his finger broke out during our honeymoon. Turns out the better the gold the more of something (again I forget what it is) in it, probably not nickle if that’s in silver and less expensive stuff since that doesn’t seem to be a problem. Anyway coating the inside with clear nail polish has always worked for him but it does wear off and you need to reapply every so often. I don’t know how well this would work for earrings but it is another option, though non-petroleum vaseline along with some of the other options mentioned here sound as good or better for that. Others may have the ring problem too which is the only reason I mention it.

    • Actually it is Nickel. They use nickel to harden metals that are soft such as gold. I paid for very expensive gold earrings in my youth thinking they would be better and they turned out to be worse. Go figure. Then I learned about nickel allergies.

  • I just want to say that you have some of the most helpful information on your blog. I find myself pinning from your blog nearly every day. Thanks for such a wide plethora of great info!

  • Amazing!! I had no idea that there were others that had the same issues I did with cheap jewelry! My sister can throw anything in/on her body – but of course I had to be “Special”!!! Thanks so much for the information – these days I can’t afford to be buying “good” jewelry and there is so much out there that is just too cute! And it’s always easier to make an outfit look new with a few accessories rather than buying a new outfit when the pocket book is in charge of wardrobe!!! Love you Jillee – keep it up!!!

  • You can also buy surgical steel hooks and posts for earrings. I can’t wear any kind of sterling silver, less than 22k gold, etc because it is always alloyed with something that my ears don’t like. Coatings and such don’t help me at all.

  • You are allergic to nickel. I am also allergic to nickel as well, really, really bad. You can replace the hook part with ones that are nickel free. Coating the earring does no good for me either. I have found that I am allergic to anything that has nickel in it, belt buckles, necklaces, and any metal on clothing. My allergy is so bad that I have to watch what I eat, as nickel is also found in food. Something a lot of people are not aware of. Do a search on the internet of nickel containing foods. So for those that are allergic to nickel in jewelry, be aware that it is also in foods. May I also say that Whispers is a wonderful brand and that if you are going to purchase any jewelry it must say, “nickel free” not just hypoallergenic (it isn’t the same) – there are other brands out there.

  • The biggest culprit is sterling silver. My ears swell up something terrible because sterling silver is alloyed with nickel. Most costume jewelry today doesn’t have nickel, but always be wary of silver.

    • Not everyone is allergic to Sterling Silver. In fact Sterling Silver and Stainless Steel are the only metals I can wear. I am allergic to Gold and cheap metals.

      • I am also allerhgic to gold. I have found putting clear nail polish on the hooks solves the problem for me.

  • Very early in life I discovered a company called “Whispers”. ALL nickle-free jewelry, including watches. Cheap in cost-yes. Cheap looking-NO….I found most of the selection including chains and extra’s for making your own earrings,simply lovely! Wearing “nickle-free”, you don’t ever have to worry about something “wearing off”. Nickle free is NICKLE FREE! Some of your big box stores carry a line of this jewelry too. Just look at the labels. It will say just that–NICKLE FREE! (don’t buy “hypo-allergenic”) I don’t have a clue what they mean by that!!

  • That is awesome! I have some earrings that I just love and can’t wear because
    sensitive ears. I so am going to try this out. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Fix the problem permanently buy buying sterling or silver plated hooks in the jewelry-making section of a hobby/craft store. Some people, like my teenage daughter, are so sensitive that the barrier method of any type doesn’t work. She is very happy to not have her earring choices limited any more!

  • I have a pair with those flattened hooks, like the ones in your picture. They’re killer on the earring holes! Like little knives~~~~
    Go to a crafts shop and get replacement hooks for those. Get ones that are round all the way.

    • DUH! I never thought of that before. Those type of hooks are like DAGGERS in my ears! I will definitely go to the craft store and replace them! Thanks for the great idea!

  • I have used Neosporin on my earrings and that has worked well for me. Plus, I already had it in my first aid kit! Thanks for the alternate ideas, too.

  • I have the same problem, however I discovered the source of the irritation. I am allergic to nickel which is used in almost all cheap jewelry. My doctor informed me that the most common cause of skin irritation like that is from nickel. Who knew? There are nickel-free lines at places like Claire’s boutique, etc. However, the coating wears off very quickly so they are generally not worth the money. I solved my problem by rubbing the hooks with a make-up remover sheet before putting them in. That seems to provide just enough of a barrier that they last all day without bothering me. I will try your idea, as well. Also, fyi, don’t ever try the clear nail polish trick! Double the pain, swelling and irritation.

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