Ask Anna: Why am I all of a sudden allergic to gold?


Dear Anna,

I’ve had my second and third ear piercings for 5+ years and just recently my ears have started rejecting earrings! I typically wear only 14K gold because I’m prone to sensitivity but I’m now sensitive to gold studs too - any advice for or experience with this?



Hi J,

What a bummer! I actually struggle with this problem too. Before we figure out a solution, there are a few reasons this could be happening...

No. 1 – No gold in jewelry is pure, 100% gold (unless marked 24k - more on that here). So, when you're putting 14k gold in your ears, it means that 10 parts (out of 24) are other alloys. The same goes for 18k - 6 parts (out of 24) are other alloys. These alloys can be a number of different metals. For example, copper is used  to turn your gold rose, rhodium is used to turn your gold white, and sometimes random metals like nickel can be used (which is a common allergen). You could be allergic to some of the alloys in the metals.

No. 2 – You could be going through a hormonal shift. Sometimes, our body's chemistry changes with the seasons, diet, age, etc. When our hormones shift, our chemistry change and it could be impacting how you interact with various metals. 

So, what can you do?

I recommend switching your earring posts to platinum or 18k. Platinum is 950 parts (out of 1000) platinum and only 50 parts other metals. This means that there will be only 5% other metals in the mix. Therefore, a much lower concentration that will hopefully not cause a reaction. The same idea goes for 18k gold - a lower concentration of other metals. 

Also, making the transition to only purchasing 18k or platinum jewelry for the time being. For me, I was having a hard time with 14k in my early 20s, but in my late 20s was able to transition back to 14k (I suspect mine was hormonal)...

Hope this helps, J.

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