I've always been a sensitive person: tenderhearted with moody skin that crispy critters in the sunlight since I look like a vampire, and sometimes even Cetaphil burns my face. So it didn't come as a huge shock when I started having trouble wearing earrings a few years ago. At first I could still wear pure gold earrings, just not costume jewelry, but it got worse and worse until I couldn't even wear gold anymore without my ears burning, itching, and stinging. I tried Neosporin, then hydrogen peroxide, and then Cortisone, then I got creative and tried painting the posts with clear nail polish. When that failed I even bought some nickel free earrings from the department store. No dice. I gave up for a long while, then decided to scour the internet a few months ago to find the Holy Grail of all earrings for sensitive ears. After running through a couple dozen websites trying to A) figure out what I did to piss my ears off and B) locate a type of earring I might be able to wear, I lucked out!
Allow me to introduce you to Maggie's Creations, an online company specializing in earrings for those who can't even wear the gentlest of metals without issues. The owner began to experience these issues herself about 10 years ago, and has since launched an entire line of earrings ranging from studs to fullblown chandelier earrings (as well as doing plenty of research on what causes this and how to remedy it). Her earrings come in two metals: niobium and titanium, both of which are surgical quality.
After emailing back and forth with Maggie about my issues, she recommended that I start with a pair of niobium healer earrings, which are designed with re-introduce your ears to the idea of wearing earrings. I chose a pair of small, colored hoops. The first couple of days, as she had warned they might be, were rough. The earrings itched like crazy, but there was no burning, and the discomfort lessened as I continued to follow her careful instructions. I showered in them, slept in them, lived in these earrings for a week. By Day 3, my ears were no longer fighting back. By Day 5, I had forgotten I was wearing them.
It seems like wearing the earrings as Maggie directed have helped. As she told me, some people can use her products to re-train their ears to allow all sorts of metals, while others find that her earrings are the only thing they can wear. I still don't wear any earrings very much, but I can get away with some wear here and there. Today I wore a pair of sterling silver earrings and managed to keep them in until after work!
I truly recommend Maggie's Creations to anyone who has sensitive ears. I can't say that these products are cheap, but she does have a sale page and will even let you return earrings if they cause you problems. In addition, I'd rather spend $40 on a pair of earrings I know I can wear than that much on normal earrings that will end up in a drawer unloved. She has some really cute styles, so check her out!