Two of the most frequent issues with body jewelry are allergic reactions and infection. Appropriate care and cleaning of piercings is vital, but the type of metal in the piercing jewelry you choose is also extremely important. The following are the top 3 best metals for body jewelry, and a couple that you should definitely steer clear of.
TOP 3 METALS FOR BODY PIERCINGS:
#1 Implant Grade Titanium
Titanium is by far the metal of choice for body piercings, and is safe for initial piercings. Implant grade titanium G23 (Ti6al4v-ELI) is the material used in surgical implants, is biocompatible, resistant to body fluids and nickel free. Titanium weighs less and is much stronger than steel, which means you will have body piercing jewelry that is both durable, comfortable and nearly free of scratches. Titanium is an expensive metal, but well worth the slightly higher price. Titanium body jewelry is beautiful, is long lasting, and will still look like new after many years of wear.
#2 Surgical Stainless Steel
Surgical steel is the most popular metal for body jewelry, and is just behind titanium in terms of biocompatibility. 316L or 316LVM are the only two grades of stainless steel that are considered safe for wearing in healed piercings. Keep in mind that even the best grades of stainless steel do contain nickel and may cause problems for those who are sensitive to nickel. Several European countries have banned the use of stainless steel for initial piercings, and it is best to steer clear of stainless steel altogether until after your piercing has healed.
Although it is beautiful, gold is not a good choice for body jewelry, especially for initial piercings or long term wear. Because gold is softer than other metals and is made with metal alloys, there can be an increased risk of irritation or infection. Gold jewelry is beautiful, but is safer when worn in healed piercings, and with care. Replace gold piercing jewelry with titanium at any sign of irritation.
Sterling Silver: Stay away from any body jewelry where the part that is inside your skin (barbell, banana, ring) is made of silver. Sterling silver tarnishes when it comes in contact with body fluids, can easily harbor bacterial growth, and can contain allergy-causing metals such as nickel. Body jewelry where a sterling silver charm that is connected to or dangles from the end of the steel or titanium bar should not cause any prblems, as long as you dont have a silver allergy. Just make sure that the part that threads inside your body is made from a more biocompatible metal.
Mystery Metal: Scary. Any costume or plated body jewelry is a bad idea, and so is inferior grade stainless steel. Stick with the top 3 choices above to be sure your piercing stays comfortable and infection-free.
Dont forget that a body piercing jewelry is placed inside your body, and should be treated more like a surgical implant than a piece of costume jewelry. Although it may be tempting to buy inexpensive body piercing jewelry, spending a little more money on higher quality pieces is definitely a better choice in the long run.