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Sensitive skin? Stretched earlobes? How to wear earrings without pain

Anyone who's made it through an evening wearing hefty, dangling earrings knows the feeling: raw, sore lobes the next morning.

In a worst-case scenario — as TODAY's Tamron Hall recently experienced — the earlobes actually rip. (Yikes!)

So what's a jewelry lover to do? Aside from ditching the earrings halfway through dinner, there are a few other methods.

Do you have sensitive skin?

Stick to non-reactive metals such as gold and silver when choosing earrings, Kristin Petrovich, owner of the mineral- and gemstone-based Sjal Skincare, told TODAY Style.

When it comes to gold, the higher the karat the better. "For example, 24-karat gold is hypoallergenic and doesn't cause irritation to the body," she said. Skip rose gold, which contains copper and can irritate some people. If gold isn't your style, look for sterling silver instead of nickel.

But if you do experience a bad skin reaction from a lesser metal, Petrovich suggests rubbing the area around the piercing with sea salt water or an antibiotic cream.

Speaking of sensitive skin, here's another option some people swear by: apply liquid bandages to both sides of the ear before putting your earrings in, to minimize redness and irritation.

Are your earrings too heavy?

If sensitivity isn't your problem but your ears are feeling dragged down by heavy earrings, consider earring patches (like Kendra Scott's Lobe Wonder, $10). They're stickers that attach to the back of the ear to stabilize the earring, so your skin doesn't stretch as much.

RELATED: Here's why you'll never look at earrings the same way again

Kendra Scott Fashion Designer Jewelry
Earring patches can help minimize stretching from heavy earrings.

Do you have stretched or torn earlobes?

Believe it or not, torn earlobes aren't that uncommon, Dr. Daniel Maman of 740 Park Plastic Surgery in New York City told TODAY Style.

"My partner and I probably fix 10 earlobes a month," he said. "It happens for a couple reasons — when people wear earrings that are too heavy, they slowly cause stretching in the earlobe and that little piece on the bottom gets thinner and thinner and at some point it tears through. Usually, it's gradual and occurs over years."

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The second culprit? Sleeping in earrings, which is dangerous because they can drag across the pillow and snag, eventually tearing the ear.

While a fix isn't all that difficult — "We do it with local anesthesia and it takes about 20 minutes," plus healing, Dr. Maman said — it's not ideal. So save the heavy earrings for special occasions and always remember to take them out before bed.

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