Why earrings turn green?


Have you ever noticed that your earrings sometimes leave a green residue on your skin or tarnish over time? This phenomenon can be frustrating and even cause skin irritation for some individuals. In this guide, we'll explore the reasons why earrings turn green, as well as practical solutions to prevent it from happening. By understanding the causes and implementing preventive measures, you can keep your favorite earrings looking pristine and avoid potential skin reactions.

  1. Metal Reaction:

The most common reason why earrings turn green is due to a reaction between the metal in the earrings and the acids in your skin. Earrings made from materials such as copper, brass, or nickel are more prone to this reaction, as they contain alloys that can oxidize when exposed to moisture and air. The green residue is often the result of this oxidation process and can transfer onto your skin when you wear the earrings.

  1. Moisture and Sweat:

Exposure to moisture and sweat can accelerate the oxidation process and cause earrings to turn green more quickly. This is especially true in hot and humid climates or during strenuous physical activity when you're more likely to sweat. Moisture can also get trapped between the earrings and your skin, creating an ideal environment for oxidation to occur.

  1. pH Levels:

The pH levels of your skin can also play a role in causing earrings to turn green. Skin with higher acidity levels is more likely to react with certain metals, leading to discoloration and tarnishing. Factors such as diet, hormonal changes, and skincare products can influence the pH levels of your skin and contribute to the likelihood of earrings turning green.

  1. Solutions:

  • Choose Hypoallergenic Materials: Opt for earrings made from hypoallergenic materials such as sterling silver, gold, or surgical-grade stainless steel, which are less likely to cause skin reactions or turn green.
  • Apply Clear Nail Polish: To create a barrier between your skin and the metal of the earrings, apply a thin layer of clear nail polish to the earring posts or backs.
  • Store Earrings Properly: Store your earrings in a dry, air-tight container or jewelry box to prevent exposure to moisture and humidity, which can accelerate oxidation.
  • Clean Earrings Regularly: Clean your earrings regularly with a mild soap and water solution or jewelry cleaning cloth to remove any buildup or residue that could contribute to tarnishing.


Understanding why earrings turn green and implementing preventive measures can help you keep your favorite earrings looking beautiful and avoid potential skin irritation. By choosing hypoallergenic materials, storing earrings properly, and cleaning them regularly, you can enjoy wearing your earrings without worrying about discoloration or tarnishing.

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