Safe piercing jewellery materials
Safe piercing jewellery materials: In this article, we’ll talk about different materials we can find piercing jewellery made of. Which are safe, and which aren’t and why.
These materials are suitable to wear in healed piercings. Some are better than others, some are very discouraged for long term wear and thus I would not recommend them. But because still a lot of jewelry is manufactured in these materials I would like to elaborate on the subject as well as tell you more about the good, the bad and the ugly.
Gold is not entirely free of nickel, also it’s a very soft material and that’s why it’s almost never used as initial piercing jewelry. A lower grade of gold such as 14 or 18 karat gold is safest when wanting to wear it in initial piercings. Yellow gold is gold alloyed with silver, copper and platina to make the maerials harder (red gold, also known as rosé gold, contains more copper to make the color red). The purity of gold is measured in karats. Pure gold is 24 karats, 18 karat is 75% pure and 14 karat is 58.3% pure. Massive 14 and 18 karat gold are most suitable for piercings. Softer gold is more prone to harbor bacteria when worn for a longer period of time. White gold is gold that is alloyed with palladium or nickel and layered with rhodium to obtain the nice white color. White gold with palladium is prefered over white gold with nickel for wearing in body piercings because people have lesser chances of developing allergies to palladium than to nickel.
Rhodium is an inert precious metal. It is mostly alloyed with either platina or palladium. White gold is often layered with rhodium to obtain the white color and as a form of protection against corrosion, oxidation and discoloration. This metal is very suitable for body piercing jewelry.
Real silver always has a stamp .925. Sterling silver is just 0.925% silver and contains other metals that can cause irritation and therefor is not suitable to wear as piercing jewelry. It is very protne to oxidation, corrision and discoloration when it comes in contact with air and body fluids. The fact that silver is a soft metal also raises the risk of small, invisible scratjes, holes and tears on the metal that can harbor bacteria. Sterling silver is only suitable for healed earlobe piercings and should only be worn short term. Silver or silverplated jewelry are strongly discouraged to wear in all types of piercings.
No matter what, don’t use sterling silver, nickel or pure copper in piercings. Many jewellery contain copper. To avoid any problems never wear them for longer periods of time, as you would for acrylic jewellery.
Silver becomes black in contact with sulfur or chlorine, matters that are in the air. The black stains on silver cause black stains on the skin and these are permanent. This is called oxidation. The black stains on the skin are called argyria. This is not dangerous but definitely permanent.
There are differnt types of plastic to manufacture piercing jewelry from. But all plastics were not created equal, neither are they all just as saef one as the other. PTFE is a hypoallergenic material that is very trustworthy, but now a little about the other types of plastic.
Acrylic has it’s entire own article.
Tygon, PMFK (polymer medical flexible plastic) and Bioplast are in fact the same kind of material. These are not implantable. Bioplast can be autoclaved but is still preferably only worn in healed piercings as a retainer for example. Always look at the finish. Some pieces made of Bioplast, Bioflex or Tygon are smooth, but others can be very stiff, brittle and have sharp edges. Good PMFK jewlry are only available in transparent and are mostly well finished, thanks to this they can safely be used as retainers for piercings that have to be invisible during work hours for example.
Polycarbonate is a rare materials that is not implant grade and thus not suitable for piercings. This is a very strong material though that is resistant to heat but it can release Bisphenol A (BPA), which is a toxic substance when it enters the body. BPA can cause hartdisease, diabetes and liver damage. This makes it comparable to acrylics thus not recommended.