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Body Jewelry Materials, Metals, and Care

Body Jewelry Care For Each Specific Metal

316L Surgical Steel 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.

  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap and warm water before inserting into your piercing
  • If the steel jewelry also has acrylic DO NOT use alcohol or harsh chemicals to clean it. It will ruin the acrylic.
  • If the steel jewelry has gems on it DO NOT use alcohol or harsh chemicals to clean it. It could eat away the glue that holds them in place. Better pieces of jewelry will have the gem bezel set in it (not held in by glue). These pieces cost significantly more but are well worth the money.
  • No need to use alcohol or harsh cleansers on your jewelry
316LVM ASTM F-138 Implant Grade Steel 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 stee, but for some people with extremely sensitive skin, getting the top grade of steel usually helps.
  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap an
Titanium ASTM F-136 (G-23) Implant Grade Steel Titanium is usually preferred over steel because it contains no nickel and it weighs almost 50% less than steel. Titanium can come in plain polish which looks just like steel AND it can come in a variety of colors (but NOT red or black). Titanium is super for people with sensitive skin to steel. It does cost a little more but is well worth it. Titanium comes in different grades just like steel with Grade 23 (6AL4V ELI F-136) implant grade being the highest. Colored titanium does fade over time (but is not dangerous to your piercing). If worn in the mouth the color usually fades faster.
  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap and warm water before inserting into your piercing
  • No need to use alcohol or harsh cleansers on your jewelry
Niobium Niobium is an elemental metal (not man made) and is slightly heavier than 316L stainless steel. If you are allergic to stainless steel, niobium is a good alternative, but most people prefer titanium because it is much lighter and about the same price. Niobium is also the only metal that can be colored black through a heating process, and is still proven to be safe.
  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap and warm water before inserting into your piercing
  • No need to use alcohol or harsh cleansers on your jewelry
Gold Only 14k or 18k gold is appropriate for body jewelry (24k gold is too soft). 14k is the best as it is strong enough to maintain the threads for barbell etc. The higher grade of gold, the softer it gets. Lower grades than 14k could result in migration, rejection, or develop permanent reactions to gold.
  • Do not clean with alcohol or other harsh chemicals
  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap and warm water before inserting into your piercing
  • Be gentle when screwing on balls as threads could easily strip
  • Over time gold can lose its luster from being within the body. All you need to do is lightly buff it back to its natural shine.
Sterling silver Silver should never be worn in new or unhealed piercings. It is safe to wear in healed piercings, but not for every day wear (every day for long periods). Silver can tarnish and when worn in a new piercing, the tarnish can be deposited into the skin causing it to darken or turn gray. Silver is very soft and is easily scratched. If you have a nickel allergy, do not wear sterling silver.
  • Do not clean with alcohol or other harsh chemicals
  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap and warm water before inserting into your piercing
  • Over time silver can tarnish (turn brown colored). All you need to do is lightly buff it back to its natural shine.
  

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