Type of Metals to avoid for your fresh body piercings

There are only a few types of metals suitable for body piercing jewelry, especially for fresh piercings. Not a lot of those who are just getting into body modifications know what type of metals are safe. The materials are chosen for their biocompatibility. It is very important the metal be non-allergenic and does not adversely react to body tissues, or it could lead to serious health risks later on. If your still hesitant, you can always take your own body jewelry and have the shop use it to pierce you with, you will feel safer and you safe money. The following metals should be avoided for jewelry placed in initial piercings (The type of metal listed are for initial and fresh piercings, you may change to some of the metals after it has been fully healed.):

  • Brass – Not recommended for piercings. Brass alloys vary widely and may cause irritations or negative reactions.
  • Nickel – Avoid jewelry that contains nickel which is known to cause allergic reactions in many people. Some European countries have regulated piercing jewelry and now require it be less than 0.05% nickel.
  • Copper – Not recommended for piercings. Can be reactive.
  • Fake Gold – Avoid fake gold jewelry made from other base metals, since they could contain unknown base metal and may corrode when exposed to body fluids.
  • Gold Filled – Could contain unknown base metals.
  • Gold Plated – Avoid plated jewelry because the plating can rub off and expose an underlying metal that reacts with your body.
  • Lead – Risk of lead poisoning. Especially dangerous for young children.
  • Non Stainless Steel –  Not recommended for piercings. Use surgical implant grade stainless steel.
  • Sterling Silver – Sterling silver oxidizes when it contacts body tissues and fluids. Silver jewelry can often be safely worn in healed piercings, but should never be worn in initial unhealed piercings.

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316L? 316LVM ASTM? – What are they?

316L Steel and 316LVM ASTM F-138, what is the difference? and does it matter? I am by no means a chemist, but i hope to help shed some light on this subject, and share some of the research i have done regarding these 2. What does 316L and 316LVM mean? well the number 316 is a classification code. Code 316 steel is soft, which is also easier to shape and used for body jewelry. The “L” is used to signify “Low” Carbon content, and the “VM” stands for vacuum melted, which is a process that reduces what steel makers refer to as inclusions. Vacuum melting does not change the chemical makeup of the steel, and it will show the same composition both before and after the vacuum melting process.

 

  Below is a table of Mill Cert. comparing the 3.

AISI max % ASTM max% ISO max%
Carbon .03 .03 .03
Manganese 2 2 2
Phosphorous .045 .025 .025
Sulphur .03 .01 .01
Silicon .75 .75 .01
Chromium 16.0-18.0 17.0-19.0 17.0-19.0
Molybdenum 2.0-3.0 2.25-3.0 2.25-3.5
Nickel 10.0-13.0 14.0-15.0 14.0-15.0
Nitrogen .1 .1 .1
Copper n/a .5 .5
Iron Balance Balance Balance

 

316L steel is the most basic metal used in body jewelry. It is the basic requirement of metal to be used in initial piercings and for healing. There are better grades (below) but usually they cost more as well. For most people this grade of steel works just fine.

This grade of steel is top of the line. It is highly recommended, but it comes down to a personal preference on whether you want to pay a little bit more for the best. Lots of people are fine to use the basic 316L steel, but for some people with extremely sensitive skin, getting the top grade of steel usually helps.