Are Gold Plated Earrings Hypoallergenic? The Truth 

Are Gold Plated Earrings Hypoallergenic? The Truth 

Are gold plated earrings hypoallergenic? As someone with very sensitive skin, this has been one of my greatest concerns. Gold plated earrings are not only beautiful but also affordable. They come in a variety of designs that can match any outfit. But are they a safe choice for people prone to allergic reactions? We will explore gold plated earrings and uncover the truth about their hypoallergenic properties.

What are Gold Plated Earrings?

Gold plated earrings are made by coating a base metal, such as brass, steel, or silver, with a thin layer of gold. This layer can vary in thickness, but it is generally measured in microns, which is one-millionth of a meter. The thicker the gold plating, the longer it will last.

Gold plated earrings come in different karats, such as 10K, 14K, 18K, or 24K. The word “karat” refers to the purity of the gold used in the plating. 24K is pure gold, while lower karats contain other metals mixed in for strength and durability. For example, 14K gold is 58.3% pure gold, while 18K is 75% pure gold.

Are Gold Plated Earrings Hypoallergenic?

The short answer is: it depends. Gold itself is a hypoallergenic metal and it is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. So, gold plated earrings are somewhat hypoallergenic. However, the base metal underneath the gold plating can contain nickel, which is a common allergen. If the gold plating wears off and exposes the nickel-containing base metal, it can trigger an allergic reaction in some people.

The thickness of the gold plating also plays a role in determining if gold plated earrings are hypoallergenic. A thicker layer of gold plating is less likely to wear off and expose the base metal. However, frequent wear and exposure to sweat, cosmetics, and other chemicals can cause even thick gold plating to eventually wear away.

It’s also important to note that not all gold plated earrings are created in the same way. Some manufacturers may use a higher quality base metal that is less likely to cause an allergic reaction, even if the gold plating wears off. Others may use a lower quality base metal that is more likely to trigger a reaction.

How Can You Get Allergies From Gold Plated Earrings?

If you wear gold plated earrings that contain nickel, you may experience the following symptoms due to nickel allergy:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Blistering
  • Dry Patches

These symptoms usually appear within 12 to 48 hours after exposure to nickel and can last for several days. In severe cases, the reaction can spread beyond the area of contact and cause more systemic symptoms.

If you suspect you have a nickel allergy, it’s important to see a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment. They may recommend avoiding nickel-containing jewelry altogether or using a protective barrier, such as clear nail polish, to prevent contact with the skin.

Alternatives to Gold Plated Earrings

If you love the look of gold but want to avoid the potential for nickel allergies, there are several alternatives to gold plated earrings:

Solid Gold Earrings

Solid gold earrings are made entirely of gold and do not contain any other metals. They are the best option for hypoallergenic jewelry, but they are also the most expensive. 14K or 18K solid gold earrings are a good choice for those with sensitive skin.

Gold Filled Earrings

Gold filled earrings have a thicker layer of gold than gold plated earrings, making it less likely to wear off over time. The difference between solid gold and gold filled earrings is that here the gold layer is mechanically bonded to the base metal. Gold filled earrings are more expensive than gold plated but less expensive than solid gold.

Stainless Steel Earrings

Stainless steel earrings are made of a metal alloy that is naturally hypoallergenic. They are durable, affordable, and resistant to tarnish and corrosion. Look for surgical-grade stainless steel earrings for the highest quality.

Titanium Earrings

Titanium earrings are another hypoallergenic option. They are lightweight, strong, and resistant to corrosion. Titanium is also a good choice for those with multiple metal allergies, as it is one of the least reactive metals.

Moissanite Stud Earrings

Moissanite stud gold earrings are a beautiful and affordable alternative to gold plated earrings. Moissanite is a lab-created gemstone that looks similar to a diamond but has more fire and brilliance. It’s a hypoallergenic option for those who want the look of diamonds without the price tag.

How to Care for Gold Plated Earrings

If you already own gold plated earrings and want to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction, there are several steps you can take to care for them properly:

  • Remove earrings before swimming, showering, or exercising to avoid exposure to sweat and chemicals.
  • Store earrings in a dry place away from moisture and humidity.
  • Clean earrings regularly with a soft cloth to remove dirt and oils.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on gold plated earrings.
  • Have gold plated earrings re-plated every few years to maintain the integrity of the gold layer.

By following these simple care instructions, you can help extend the life of your gold plated earrings and reduce the risk of an allergic reaction.


Are gold plated earrings hypoallergenic? The answer is not a simple yes or no. While gold itself is hypoallergenic, the base metal underneath the gold plating may contain nickel, which is a common allergen. The thickness of the gold plating and quality of the base metal can also play a role in determining whether gold plated earrings are safe for those with sensitive skin or not.

If you have a known nickel allergy or are concerned about the potential for an allergic reaction, it may be best to avoid gold plated earrings and choose an alternative such as solid gold, gold filled, stainless steel, titanium, or moissanite stud earrings. 

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