Most piercings are of the surgical steel 316L made. But what exactly does that mean and is it also better for the ear? Find out all about surgical steel here.
What are surgical steel earrings?
Surgical steel earrings, necklaces, bracelets and piercings are slightly more expensive than basic jewelry but still inexpensive and widely available. Surgical steel 316L is the most commonly used and is more resistant to corrosion (rusting), but not 100%. It oxidizes and can still discolor over time. We also call it a stainless steel, stainless steel or inox.
Surgical steel 316L is a metal alloy that is carbon, chromium, nickel and molybdenum contains. Sometimes it also contains lead. The L in 316L stands for "Low" carbon content. That means it is better protected against rusting, even after contact with high temperatures. The material's letters refer to its chemical composition. Chrome has a protective layer that is not permeable to water or air, giving better corrosion resistance.
Surgical steel is easy to clean, inexpensive and widely available. But many people are allergic to nickel, so jewelry with surgical steel is only used for piercings that have already healed. Jewelry for new piercings should only be hypoallergenic materials contain. Hypoallergenic is a term widely used in the cosmetics world. It is a material that contains fewer substances to which you can react allergically.
Do I have a surgical steel earrings allergy?
You may have a nickel allergy. Those who have a nickel allergy are usually also allergic to chrome and cobalt. It is one of the most common allergies. 10% of women suffer from it.
Do I have a nickel allergy?
The symptoms for a nickel allergy are obvious and easy to recognize. You get an allergic reaction when your skin comes in contact with objects that contain nickel. This can be anywhere on the body. You can read about the symptoms below:
- Red itchy rash
- After a while, the skin around the piercing begins to flake
- Sometimes blisters can be seen and it may be moist
The symptoms go away after a while and you can live perfectly symptom-free if you avoid nickel. However, should the symptoms get worse (pain, swelling, inflammation) contact your family doctor or dermatologist immediately. Not sure if it's a nickel allergy? Have a skin plaque test/allergy test (adhesive test, patch test) to your family doctor. A nickel allergy is unfortunately not curable. The itching and rash can be treated with a hormone ointment, however.
Is piercing with gold better for your ear/piercing?
If you want to get a new piercing, piercing with gold is better for your ear. Few materials are approved for a fresh piercing. You can read about those materials below:
- Minimum 14K gold
- Implant grade titanium (with ASTM or ISO code)
- Glass (mostly used for stretching)
- Niobium (usually used for seamless rings) is much more flexible and easily pliable than titanium or gold
They are examples of nickel-free hypoallergenic raw materials where there is little chance of exhibiting an allergic reaction. It does not discolor and retains its luster for a long time.
Silver is not an approved metal and is not used with a fresh piercing. Many think they can only tolerate silver, but usually they mean titanium. Silver oxidizes on contact with moisture (wound fluid, blood,...) and can turn black as a result. With a fresh piercing, this can also turn the skin black. Often this discoloration is permanent... This is called an angoria or silver tattoo. Silver is also very flexible so it can deform easily. This makes silver almost impossible to get smooth and scratch-free. Bacteria crawl into scratches and that causes inflammation.
We offer a wide range on our webshop and advise you to purchase the jewelry from us. Want to get a new piercing with our professional approach and advice? Feel free to make an appointment using the button below. See you soon!