Choosing earrings for newly pierced ears can be a tough decision because there is a lot of misinformation about earring materials.  I consulted the Association of Professional Piercer's website to get more information on what jewelry they recommend for initial ear piercings. Skip to the end if you want the 'too long didn't read' version. 
   
Here is what they recommend:
   

JEWELRY FOR INITIAL PIERCINGS:

   
Choosing jewelry for a new piercing is obviously quite different from shopping for a ring to wear on your finger.
  
Because body jewelry is worn inside a wound and is in contact with your internal tissues, only certain products are suitable.
  
The look of the jewelry that is placed in your fresh piercing must be secondary to aspects that affect safety and compatibility with your body. The size, style, material, and quality of the initial piece of jewelry all affect your ability to heal.
  
Remember that the piercing location is fixed, but the jewelry can be changed after you have successfully healed. Because the body jewelry industry is saturated with substandard products, piercers and clients alike may forget that cost alone should never be the key factor in your purchase. Consider the following when selecting body jewelry for a new piercing:

   

Jewelry Size and Style

  
Must be of appropriate length or diameter for your unique anatomy and the placement of the piercing. Jewelry that is too tight does not allow for air and blood circulation or for the expulsion of normal secretions from the piercing. Ill-fitting jewelry increases the likelihood of swelling, embedding, and other complications if too small, or catching and excessive trauma, if too large.
     
Must be of an appropriate gauge (thickness). The body may treat jewelry that is too thin in gauge like a splinter, resulting in migration or rejection.
  
Must be of a style suited to your build and the location of the piercing.
   

Jewelry Material

   
Of the numerous materials available, few have been proven appropriate for wear in fresh body piercings. Some metal alloys (mixtures) have been approved based on medical usage (often as medical implants) and have specific designations that represent a precise standard for the alloy and its quality as determined by the American (now International) Society for Testing and Materials Standard (ASTM) and/ or the International Standards Organization (ISO). Other materials, such as gold and obsidian (natural glass) have a long history of use in piercings dating back hundreds—and sometimes thousands—of years.
   

The material worn in a healing piercing:

Should be able to withstand the heat and pressure of autoclave sterilization.
  
Should be inert and compatible with the body so it doesn’t cause irritation, allergy, or infection.
    
Surgical Steel is made of a variety of alloys. Many of them are used for body jewelry, but only a few specific grades are proven biocompatible: steel that is ASTM F-138 compliant or ISO 5832-1 compliant; ISO 10993-(6,10, or 11) compliant; or (EEC [European] Nickel Directive compliant.
   
Titanium is a lightweight metal that is ideal for people with concerns about nickel sensitivity. This material can be anodized to create jewelry of different colors without affecting the safety. Look for implant certified titanium (Ti6Al4V ELI) that is ASTM F-136 compliant or ISO 5832-3 compliant, or commercially pure titanium that is ASTM F-67 compliant.
   
Niobium has been widely used by piercers with good results for many years. It is very similar to titanium, but does not have an implant-grade designation. Like titanium, niobium can be anodized to produce different colors. (And, unlike titanium, it can be anodized black.) Anodized niobium and titanium may fade due to body chemistry or when worn in friction-prone areas, but this is not harmful.
  
Gold (yellow or white) is appropriate for initial piercings if it is 14k or higher, nickel-free, and alloyed for biocompatibility. Gold higher than 18k is too soft for body jewelry because it can easily be scratched or nicked. Gold plated, gold-filled, or gold overlay/vermeil jewelry is not acceptable for fresh piercings.   All of these involve coating a base metal with a layer of gold. The gold surface (which is very thin—measured in millionths of an inch) can wear or chip off. 
   
Platinum is a heavy precious metal that is extremely inert and excellent for wear in body piercings. However, body jewelry in this material is rare and very expensive due to the high cost of the material and greater difficulty in manufacturing jewelry from it.
    
Biocompatible polymers (plastics) including Tygon® Medical Surgical Tubing S-50HL or S-54HL, PTFE (Teflon®), or Bioplast™ are considered suitable for new piercings. Tygon is a bio-compatible medical tubing that is highly flexible. It should be changed every few months as it stiffens and discolors from extended wear. PTFE, a white plastic, is widely accepted within the industry. Bioplast was created specifically for piercings and is similar to PTFE, but comes in an array of colors and shapes. These may be worn as a substitute for metal jewelry. With new polymer products coming into the marketplace, check that the product you are purchasing, if not listed above, is USP VI compliant. These can be sterilized in an autoclave.
    
Glass—Fused quartz glass, lead-free borosilicate, and lead-free soda-lime glass are inert and considered safe for initial piercings. They can also be sterilized in an autoclave."
   

Bottom Line:

   
Piercing jewelry is worn inside a wound and is in contact with internal tissues, therefore your choice in earrings should be taken more seriously than jewelry worn externally to the body (rings, bracelets, etc). The material, style, and quality are all important when choosing your earrings. 
   
At Tini Lux, we recommend our Starter Studs for initial piercings, newly pierced ears, and ears with active infections. They are made with pure, biocompatible, medical grade titanium and are manufactured by a medical implant manufacturer in the US. They also come in rose gold, gold, and silver so you don't have to sacrifice style while you heal. They are made so that you can wear them 24/7 and not have to worry about them pulling or catching while you sleep or when getting dressed. 
   

Click to shop our collection of pure titanium starter studs.

  
Shop the 3mm Crystal Studs
  
Reference: https://www.safepiercing.org/docs/APP_Initial_Web.pdf
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6 comments

  • Thank you for the advice. I recently got my helix pierced and i’m pretty sure the piercing person shouldn’t have put these earrings, they’re hoops (i think we should start with studs?) and they’re pretty thin. What should I do?

    Emma on

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Best earrings for sensitive ears! I haven’t been able to wear any earrings since my kids that didn’t upset my ears. I haven’t had to take these out since I’ve received them. Just when I thought I had to be done wearing earrings because of the pain you came along. Thank you for making me feel pretty!

Jessica B.

I'm in love! I haven't been able to wear earrings for a very long time, the last time I wore cheap earrings they practically ruined my piercings because they were so irritated. I love these earrings because I can wear them comfortably and safely, but they look AMAZING.

Lydia S

I had given up on earrings when I decided to try this material and I am so happy I did. They look cute, but most important, no allergies!

Melissa

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