Safe Metals for Body Piercing
by Ritika Changrani
Body piercing is a manifestation of your need to be different. Timely safety precautions will ensure that it is a source of joy and pride. Prudence must be exercised while choosing the correct metal for this. Spare no expense as it's your own body you are experimenting with.
SAFE METALS FOR YOUR BODY PIERCING - ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF
USING DIFFERENT METALS USED FOR BODY PIERCING JEWELRY
So, you have finally decided to take the plunge. Body piercing may turn out
to be one of the best decisions of your life or one that you may bitterly
regret. Its all a matter of your approach towards the vital safety factors.
Before you get your body pierced you should have detailed knowledge about
its pros and cons. There are certain factors that need due attention. An
important question that arises is - What is the correct metal to be used for
You may feel that a piercer knows best and will give you the right jewelry.
However, you should be familiar with the various types of metals used and
their degree of suitability. The first thing to consider is your allergic
reactions. Never use a metal that you are allergic to, just because
everybody advocates it. In the long run it may cause infections that leave
you scarred forever.
All metals that are used in body piercing must necessarily be biologically
inert. This means that they should be non-reactive and be compatible to the
There are specific metals that should be used for body piercing.
It is the safest but the most expensive metal. Normally18K
gold is used. Both white and yellow gold are secure. 14K gold is a cheaper
but risky alternative as it is alloyed with other metals. You must make sure
that you are not allergic to them before piercing. Nowadays nickel-free 9K
gold is also available, which is a safe option.
Surgical Stainless Steel (Implant Grade)
This grade of steel is
widely used in knee and hip replacement surgery and hence is irrefutably
inert. It looks silver but is in fact steel. In some places however, the use
of this metal in piercing is banned.
Surgical Titanium (Implant Grade)
This is the general choice as it
is inexpensive. Electric current is passed through this metal to give it
colour. The colour will eventually fade but is ideal for a short-term use.
It is advised if you frequently like to change your jewelry. Wearing it for
an extended period of time may give rise to complications.
Niobium is an element not a metal alloy, hence it is not
harmful. It is very biocompatible i.e. usually well accepted by the human
PVD (Aztec Gold)
This is used in pacemakers as it does not react
with the body nor does it discolor. It is lightweight in nature and a good
substitute for gold if your body is sensitive to metals.
This is a special type of plastic and not a metal. It should
be used only if you are extremely allergic to all types of metals. In case
of pregnant women, any metal naval piercing should be removed and a tygon
ring worn. As the body grows, metals will eventually be rejected. Tygon
being plastic poses no harm as it is flexible and will bend as the body
The safety factor of a metal is determined by its nickel content. Baser
metals are a greater threat to your body. Given below are some metals which
are a strict no-no as the risk factor is immense.
Dont use below metals
Its oxidation property renders it harmful for
use. It has been known to react with body tissues and fluids.
The risk of lead poisoning is very high and should be
avoided at all costs.
Plated gold or gold filled jewelry
The plating will flake off and
expose the inner metal layer which may not be of inert variety, thus causing
infection. Such jewelry must never be used.
Iron is a very reactive metal and rusts easily. Rust may
turn the wound septic creating a mammoth problem.
Low grade metals
like nickel, tin, copper, bronze, zinc, brass are
highly inappropriate for body piercing.
Making an incorrect decision regarding the metal may lead to a host of
problems. The most common after-effects are allergic reactions and
infections. Sometimes the body totally rejects the invasion in which case
the hole needs to be closed. The American Dental Association (ADA) is
"against any type of oral piercing". Metal objects in the mouth can cause
extensive damage to the gums and enamel surface of teeth.
The decision of choosing the right metal should be made based on the risk
factor involved. Affordability comes next. Seek to achieve the correct
balance between your desire and your pocket. You must never choose a ring or
bar for piercing just because it is trendy, without checking out its
metallic nature. Go for a simpler but safer piece. Take your own decision
and don't be influenced by what the salon tells you. They may promote a
particular type of metal if that is the only variety they stock.
Piercing is a huge decision, so take your time and once you've resolved to
have it done, just go for it. Make your statement by standing out. When you
have it, flaunt it and enjoy the envious glances of your peers.