Tips for earring sensitivity and allergies in children

Ear piercing is a rite of passage for most American girls, but many girls’ ears are sensitive to certain kinds of earrings. Learn why this occurs and how to help your daughter avoid irritation.

Can she be allergic to metal?

Any body piercing offers a direct route for exposure to metal, and many young girls are sensitive to rash producing metals like nickel. Unlike poison ivy, which quickly causes a reaction, a nickel response happens slowly with prolonged exposure. In most cases, it causes excessive itchiness and a dry, scaly, red rash. Since it’s a skin sensitivity, the reaction likely won’t be as severe as a full-blown allergic response. Nickel exposure doesn’t cause the same swelling or breathing difficulties that a bee sting might.

Be careful with metal selection

Nickel and cobalt allergies are extremely common, so experts recommend avoiding earrings that contain these metals. Some kids may even be sensitive to white gold, as it can often contain nickel. Unfortunately, a lot of fun, inexpensive earrings for kids contain irritating metals. Better options are sterling silver, gold vermeil and 14KT gold. Before making a purchase, do your research and ask which metals were used, or go with a doctor recommended, hypoallergenic brand like Pair Piercing.

Teach her proper piercing care

One way to avoid unnecessary irritation is by ensuring your daughter practices daily care for her ears.  For the first 6 weeks after piercing, we recommend:
• Washing with antibacterial liquid soap and water 1-2x per day
• Cleaning with saline solution or aftercare wipes 2-3x per day
• Avoiding the use of alcohol, peroxide, or bar soap on the piercing site
• Not wearing tight, heavy, or nickel-based earrings

Keep an eye out for infection or allergies

Signs of infection include redness, swelling, pain, itching or tenderness. If you see these signs around the piercing site, remove the piercings immediately and contact your daughter’s pediatrician to determine if the issue is an infection or allergic reaction. If it’s an infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. If it’s an allergic reaction, your doctor may recommend a break from earrings, or only certain metals (usually nickel-free). It’s important to let the site heal fully, as thick scar tissue is more likely to develop when there is an infection or allergic reaction.

Keep a look out for nickel-free

Once she is all healed, help her avoid irritating metals. Pair Piercing offers hypoallergenic, nickel-free options in a selection of metals shipped to her door every month for 3, 6 or 12 months.

Pair Earring of the Month Club

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Designed to celebrate the magical moments of adolescence, the Pair Earring Club is a special monthly surprise that includes a hypoallergenic and nickel-free pair of earrings, and content designed to initiate meaningful conversations. Your first box will also include an earring stand, earring pouch, journal, and pen!

Starting at $16.95/month

At-Home Piercings

Our trained nurses come to your home for ear piercings that are as safe as they are special. You can even get pierced in your PJs! Celebrate with family or invite some friends to share in the moment.