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Best Metal for Body Piercings: What a Manufacturer Has to Say

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piercing jewelry

Source: Impuria

A piercing is making a hole in the body, which is an open wound that can cause infection, irritation, or complicated allergic reaction if in contact with certain materials. Therefore, it’s ideal that you make an informed decision before choosing jewelry that will be inserted in your body piercings. So, what is the best material for body piercings?

To be honest, we highly recommend surgical steel (316L stainless steel) for both brands and customers. Read on to find out why.

What is Body Piercing Jewelry?

Body piercing jewelry refers to various types of jewelry pieces designed specifically to be worn by making a hole in the body. This includes the ear, nose, belly button, tongue, etc. These types of pieces are to be made from materials that are safe for use in and on the body.

body piercing jewelry

Why Body Piercing Material Matters

  • Allergy and Irritation Risks

Choosing the wrong material can cause allergic reactions, infections, and irritations. For example, Nickel causes itching, redness, and swelling of the pierced part.

  • Healing Process

The choice of material affects the healing process of the piercing. Some metals cause prolonged inflammation or delay of the healing process.

What Defines a Good Body Piercing Jewelry

Durable & Lasting Color

The best body jewelry material is the one that lasts long, and doesn’t corrode, tarnish, or degrade over time. The Jewelry should not change color after consistent wearing or contact with water.

Affordable & Value for Price: 

Good body piercing jewelry for males and females should be budget-friendly. While being affordable, it should still prioritize safety and hypoallergenic properties, making it continually valuable.

Friendly to Sensitive Skin

The best metal for piercing is one that’s suitable for people with sensitive skin. Choose materials that are known for their biocompatibility and non-allergic to every skin type.

Lightweight & Right Size

Heavy or bad-sized jewelry can cause discomfort and strain on the piercing, resulting in swelling or tearing of the skin. An ideal body piercing jewelry should be lightweight and appropriately sized for the body part it’s inserted.

Easy to Maintain

Just like every other piece of jewelry, body piercings should be easy to maintain for self-hygiene purposes and the prevention of infections. Choose metals that don’t react aggressively to day-to-day wear.

Elements that Might Cause Allergies in Body Piercings

nose piercing jewelry

There are quite a few elements that may cause allergies in body piercings, but Nickel is the most common. Normally, people with sensitive skin are allergic to nickel, and exposing the body to this element can result in several skin defects, such as redness, itching, blisters, etc.

Other elements that might cause allergies in body piercings for females and males are copper, lead, and cobalt.

Thus, before choosing your preferred jewelry, know the elements used in the manufacturing.

US Standards for Nickel Control

Proposition 65 is one of the standards and guidelines stipulated for the control of nickel content in jewelry making in the USA. For purposes of Proposition 65, Nickel is defined to be compounds of nickel with solubility in water of greater than 0.1 moles per liter (mol/L) at 20oC. 

EU Standards for Nickel Control

Below are several new standards for nickel release, setting stricter benchmarks for nickel release:

  • ‍CEN EN 1811:2023

This standard outlines the reference test method for the release of nickel from post assemblies inserted into pierced parts of the human body and articles intended for direct and prolonged skin contact. It supersedes EN 1811:2011+A1:2015.

  • CEN EN 12472:2020

This method simulates accelerated wear and corrosion for detecting nickel release from coated items, updating the previous standard EN 12472:2005+A1:2009.

  • CEN EN 16128:2015

Focusing on ophthalmic optics, this standard is the reference method for testing spectacle frames and sunglasses for nickel release, replacing EN 16128:2011.

Common Body Piercing Materials

body piercing jewelry
  • Silver

Has a bright, lustrous appearance that’s highly valued for its beauty and combination with any type of outfit. Silver is most suitable for healed piercings and occasional wear. It’s not recommended for initial piercings and long-term wear because of tarnishing.

  • Gold

This is the best piercing jewelry for females due to its aesthetic appeal. Gold is available in various colors (yellow, white, or rose) and different karats (14K, 18K, 22K, or 24K). It can be used for any type of piercing, including initial and healed piercings. However, it should be solid gold, instead of gold-plated or gold-filled, to avoid fading and reactions.

  • Platinum

A dense, durable, and highly valuable material that’s extremely biocompatible and safe for sensitive skin. It’s popularly used for making high-end body jewelry because of its resistance to corrosion and wear.

  • Surgical Steel

This is a pure metal body piercing material that’s highly recommended even for the most delicate parts of the body. However, make sure the steel jewelry you select is one of the following: ASTM F-138 compliant, ISO 5832-1 compliant, ISO 10993-6 compliant, ISO 10993-10 compliant, and ISO 10993-11 compliant. An example is the 316L stainless steel, which is affordable, durable, and safe.

  • Niobium

Stronger but a little heavier than 316L surgical stainless steel, niobium is a great material option. It’s non-reactive and can be used for body piercings in new or healed piercings without causing any sensitivity issues. And it can be anodized to produce different colors without affecting its hypoallergenic properties.

  • Glass

Has to be borosilicate or soda-lime glass, which are known for their smooth surface and biocompatibility. They are non-porous and don’t harbor bacteria. Glass is used for initial and healed piercings, especially for ear plugs and tunnels.

  • Silicon

This is a flexible, rubber-like synthetic material that’s biocompatible and non-toxic. Its flexibility makes it comfortable to wear, particularly in parts of the body that require frequent moving, such as the tongue or ear lobes.

  • China

Also, known as ceramic or porcelain, this material is suitable for body piercing jewelry because of its hypoallergenic properties, aesthetic variety, and durability. It’s most ideal for body parts where flexibility and movement are not often required. Because of the aesthetic appeal, it’s often used in ear plugs and tunnels

Benefits of Surgical Steel Body Piercings

nose piercing

Choosing surgical steel body piercings over other materials is greatly beneficial to brands & studios, as well as customers. These are some key advantages:

For Brands & Studios

You Can Keep More Inventory

Surgical steel is generally more affordable than other materials, making it a cost-effective option. Thus, brands and studios can manufacture and keep a large inventory of surgical steel body piercing jewelry without a significant financial burden. A large variety of designs and sizes can be kept to meet diverse customers’ demands.

Competitive Price Offer

Its cost advantage allows brands and studios to offer the best metal for piercing at competitive prices, making it easier to attract all customers, including those on a tight budget. This leads to higher sales and increased market penetration.

Less Likely to Cause Allergies in Customers

Surgical steel has low nickel content, making it cause fewer allergic reactions compared to other materials. With this, brands and studios can reduce the risk of customer complaints and product returns, thus maintaining brand reputation and retaining customers’ trust.

For Consumers

Quality surgical steel body piercing jewelry does not cause irritation, damage, or allergies to your skin. This makes it a suitable choice for everyone, including people with sensitive skin. Also, its durability ensures that the jewelry maintains its appearance and integrity over time.

Body Piercings Aftercare to Best Effect & Rapid Healing

To prevent infections, swelling, itching, or tearing of your skin, you need to imbibe some hygiene routine to boost the healing and take care of the pierced body part. Here are the 4 hygiene steps you need to adhere to:

Step 1: Daily Cleaning

  • Wash your hand thoroughly before touching your piercing.
  • Clean your piercing once a day.
  • With clean hands, gently apply antimicrobial soap to the entry and exit holes of the piercing.
  • Rinse the piercing with warm water to remove the soap residue.

Step 2: Saline Soaks

  • Soak a clean cotton wool in a saline solution.
  • Gently rub the soaked cotton on the piercing and leave it for a few minutes. This keeps the piercing clean, reduces inflammation, and boosts the healing process.
  • Repeat this process 2-3 times daily.

Step 3: Protect the Piercing

  • Stop touching the piercing to prevent bacteria.
  • Keep the piercing dry always, especially after cleaning.
  • Don’t swim for at least 30 days.

Step 4: Healthy Lifestyle

  • Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. These activities slow down the healing process.
  • Get enough rest and manage your stress levels to boost the healing process.

Key Takeaway

There are several types of body piercing material, but surgical steel is best recommended because of its affordability, aesthetic appeal, durability, and hypoallergenic properties. It suits the interests of manufacturers, suppliers, and consumers. All you have to do is contact a professional stainless steel jewelry manufacturer for your body piercing jewelry preferences.

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