✔️ASTM F136 ELI Titanium is the one of the best choices for initial piercing, though it is very expensive by comparison to Steel. It is a chemical element (‘Ti’ on the Periodic Table), stronger than steel but much more lightweight.
✔️Titanium is non-magnetic, will not set off airport scanners, is MRI safe, and can also be fully autoclaved sterilized.
✔️Even those who are sensitive to nickel can safely wear Titanium jewelry for longterm in fresh and healed piercings!
✔️Titanium has very unique properties: it has the highest strength to density ratio of any metal element – making it highly corrosion resistant – so it does not react with oxygen or body fluids!
However, Titanium has various grades…
✔️Titanium for use in initial piercings must be of the highest medical grade, known as ASTM F136 or ISO 5832 compliant. This is the same material used by the NHS to make bone screws and hip replacements suitable for maximum biocompatibility into the body.
Titanium has a natural silver-tone lustre and can be highly polished, and Titanium can be “anodized” to alter the color appearance of the metal without compromising its safety to be worn in the body.
Anodizing is a simple process that creates a thin oxide layer on the outside of the jewelry by passing an electric current thru the metal– this changes the color of the jewelry (different voltages results in different colors). Because there are no dyes or plating involved, only the molecular surface is altered, so nothing will chip off in the body like plated jewelry would. Another way to change the colour of titanium is to coat it with PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition), usually to give it a black or gold finish. PVD coatings are used commonly in the medical industry to coat surgical instruments safely as it changes the surface of the metal without altering the metals properties or affecting its biochemical safety.
✔️ The only quality recommended for use by the Association of Professional Piercers is Titanium that is certified to meet ASTM or ISO standards for surgical implant applications.
WHY IS IT BAD TO USE SURGICAL STEEL?
“Surgical steel” is a blanket term that is commonly used to refer to “stainless steel”. With no formal definition or standard to regulate what metal content is used to make the alloy, companies and manufacturers can use this term to describe any corrosion-resistant steel, like pots, pans, door handles, silverwear etc., and it’s not exclusive to medical or even “surgical” instruments. “Surgical” makes it sound like it is safe, but we don’t actually know what metal is used – it could be the same mix as your belt buckle – so “surgical steel” is a misleading term.
316L Surgical Steel is unsafe for use in piercings due to its high nickel content, which can cause complications for those with a sensitivity to nickel (as many as ten percent of the population is sensitive to nickel!)
⚠️Using poor quality jewelry can cause hypertrophic scarring (bumps), itchy flaking skin, excessive discharge build up, and perhaps eventually migration or rejection of the piercing entirely.
According to the EU Nickel Directive it is illegal to use any jewelry in initial piercings with a nickel release rate of 0.2 micrograms per cm2 per week or less. Nickel is significantly cheaper and easier to manufacture than certified implant grade Titanium, this is why most mass market jewelry will contain lots of nickel, and is not safe for prolonged wear!
925 SILVER IS NOT SAFE FOR PIERCINGS!!
The purity of silver is measured in hundreds, so 925 silver is 92.5% silver and 7% other metals – usually a high percentage of nickel!
⚠️925 Silver should never be worn in a fresh piercing, and ideally, should only be worn “outside” of the body such as necklaces, bracelets, rings… not even for healed piercings/earrings!
This is because 925 Silver oxidises very easily!!
Silver should not be worn in the body (as earring / body jewelry) because silver will quickly oxidize when it comes in contact with our natural body’s acidity. In a healed piercing the oxidation can stain the skin black which can be permanent. And if silver is worn in a fresh piercing, toxic “silver salts” can form as the silver reacts to our bodily fluids, which can be highly dangerous. Long term silver exposure in porous body tissues such as mucosal membrane (septum, nostril, oral and genital areas) can result in Argyria – aka Silver Poisoning.