We receive a lot of emails from customers who have nickel allergies and are wondering if our jewelry is nickel free, so I decided to address this question and share some knowledge for everyone!
*There will be images of nickel allergies below, so if you are sensitive be aware!
Nickel is a metal that is found in nearly everything we encounter on a daily basis, such as clothing zippers, jewelry, watches, keys, needles, machinery and SO much more. People with severe nickel allergies will even react to these everyday items! Nickel allergies show up as red, itchy patches and can be dry or have little blister like formations.
Here is an image of a blister like nickel allergy:
And here are some examples of what a nickel allergy looks like around a piercing:
As you can see it is quite clear to tell whether or not someone is having a reaction to nickel! Often times minor irritation is mistaken for a nickel allergy. When you change your jewelry, particularly when your piercing is not fully healed (over 1 year old, or longer depending on your aftercare, jewelry, etc.,) you may experience some irritation that may not necessarily be a nickel allergy.
Nickel allergies are distinctly red and very very itchy!!
We use hypoallergenic materials for all of our piercing jewelry. The bulk of our items are made of 316L surgical steel, which is a low nickel steel used in medical instruments. 316L surgical steel also will not tarnish or rust!
It's important to know that NO steel is actually 100% nickel free, so if someone tries to sell you "nickel free" steel be wary! All surgical steel contains trace amounts of nickel, though it is still considered hypoallergenic and will not provoke any reaction to those with nickel allergies unless they are extremely severe! (If your allergies are this severe you will definitely know because you will have reactions to the zippers on your clothes, keys, and all of the other common items discussed earlier.)
If you allergies are this severe, you will need to stick with our Implant Grade Titanium body jewelry! Our Titanium is Ti-6AL-4V-ELI ASTM F136 which is the best titanium grade recommended by the Association of Professional Piercers.
All of our platings and finishes are hypoallergenic as well as long lasting! You can see specifically what materials are used in a certain item in the description on the item's page.
Nickel free brass is also a material that we use for some of the jewelry parts. Brass does contain zinc and copper, so our jewelry items containing brass are best worn in healed piercings! You can also check the description of the item to find out if it contains brass or not. Since brass contains copper, you must be wondering if your jewelry will turn green, and the short answer is NO, with proper care your jewelry will not turn green.
This greenish color is oxidation that happens when copper is exposed to elements like heat or chemicals such as some soaps/lotions/perfumes, NOT your bodies reaction to the jewelry! That's why we use durable plating on our brass body jewelry that prevents the copper from being exposed, therefore preventing this green coloration. In rare cases, if the finish is chipped off of your jewelry you may experience a slight green coloration.
If you properly clean and care for your jewelry that contains brass, you will have no coloration issues! The easiest way to do this is a little bit of antibacterial hand soap and warm water every few weeks and to avoid applying any harsh chemicals straight onto your jewelry. It is super refreshing to clean all of your body jewelry, clean your piercings, and then reapply everything- your piercings and your jewelry will definitely thank you for it!
The last main material we use is 925 sterling silver. This is primarily found in our push back studs and hoop earrings! This metal is also hypoallergenic and the majority of people will have no averse reaction to it! Sterling silver is recommended for healed piercings only.
If your piercing is not healed, solid 316L surgical steel with no plating/coating, 14kt gold, or implant grade titanium jewelry should be your choice.
In conclusion, all of our jewelry is hypoallergenic! You will be 100% safe wearing it everyday as long as you do not have a severe nickel allergy (you would also react to everyday items!). Proper cleaning of your jewelry will always help it live its best life no matter the material, and you will rest easy knowing that you can now spot a real nickel allergy from a mile away!
I hope this post clears up some of the confusion about reactions to body jewelry and the materials we use in our piercing jewelry.
Until next week,