We talk a lot about piercing aftercare, but your aftercare routine is no good anyway if you are not initially pierced with the correct jewelry!
We had someone ask us on Instagram what metal they were supposed to be initially pierced with, because they were pierced with a mystery metal by their piercer and experienced complications. We decided to address this on a large scale as it is more of a widespread problem than most people know. It is always important for you to be educated about the correct standards when you go somewhere for a piercing because unfortunately not all piercers do their own research or care about what happens to your piercing after you pay them and leave the shop! If you are pierced with incorrect jewelry, it could cause some serious health problems and at the very least will prolong your healing time and cause complications.
So what are the requirements for initial piercing jewelry?
First of all, initial jewelry should always always always be internally threaded!
Lets go over the difference between external and internal threading:
I N T E R N A L T H R E A D I N G :
- Threading is on the inside of the post
- Slides into the piercing smoothly causing no damage to the tissue
E X T E R N A L T H R E A D I N G :
- Threading is on the outside of the post
- Can cause damage when inserting into the piercing
Let me stop here to say that external threading is NOT evil, and it is not a sin to wear externally threaded jewelry in healed piercings, it is just definitely not suitable for initial or unhealed piercings as the threadings going through the raw flesh will cause rips that will increase the healing time of the piercing.
Second, your initial piercing jewelry needs to be of a suitable material that will not cause healing complications. Surgical steel and titanium are the most commonly used, with surgical steel being the most economic of the two. Niobium, solid gold, platinum, glass, and some plastics are other great options. Let's take a closer look at all of these metals and the specifications of each to be safe for initial piercing.
S U R G I C A L S T E E L :
Surgical steel is commonly used in piercings and for good reason! The APP (Association of Professional Piercers) website states that F-138 compliant steel is suitable for initial piercing, with 316L and 316LVM surgical steel found to be the most suitable in the industry. 316 is simply a classification, and the 'L' is used to signify low carbon content. It is important to note that all surgical steel does contain *some* nickel, but the metal is hypoallergenic to the majority of people (except for those with very extreme nickel allergies). Surgical steel is often plated to be different colors, but only non-plated jewelry should be used in initial piercings.
Colored surgical steel jewelry is plated using Ion Plating- commonly indicated as IP or PVD plating. This is a vacuum coating process that produces a finish that is longer lasting and more durable than solid gold plating. PVD plated jewelry should be used in healed piercings only, and it is important to note that there is no such thing as solid surgical steel jewelry that is any color other than silver!
T I T A N I U M :
Titanium is the best option for people with extreme nickel allergies! The APP website states that implant certified titanium (Ti6Al4V ELI) that is ASTM F-136 compliant or ISO 5832-3 compliant, or commercially pure titanium that is ASTM F-67 compliant, are all suitable for initial piercings. These are the same grades of titanium used in major replacement surgeries, so you can rest assured that your body will be comfortable with this metal in your piercings.
Note: All of our titanium jewelry is Ti6Al4V ELI ASTM F-136 compliant! Click here to view our titanium selection.
Titanium jewelry can be anodized to a wide variety of colors. This anodization does not change the composition of the metal, and is not a coating that can flake off so anodized titanium jewelry is a perfect option for initial piercings if you do not want plain silver jewelry in throughout the healing process!
N I O B I U M :
Niobium is very similar to titanium, it just does not have the implant grade specification. It can also be safely anodized to many different colors, including black! (Titanium cannot be anodized back!)
G O L D :
Yellow, White, or Rose Gold that is 14kt or higher and nickel-free is suitable for initial piercings. 18kt gold is too soft, as it will get little indentions in the metal that can harbor bacteria.
Gold plated jewelry is NOT suitable for initial piercings, as the gold plating can chip off and expose the metal underneath. It is however a viable and affordable option for healed piercings if you want the look of genuine gold without the high cost!
P L A T I N U M :
Platinium is a suitable material, but due to it's heavy weight and high cost, this metal is not often seen in the piercing industry.
P L A S T I C S :
Suitable plastics include Tygon, Teflon, or Bioplast, with Bioplast being the most suitable as it was made specifically for body piercings and can be made in many different colors. Clear Bioplast retainers are great for people wanting a new piercing but needing to hide it!
Need a bioplast retainer? Contact us to make it happen!
G L A S S :
Lead free soda-lime glass, lead-free borosilicate, and fused quartz glass are safe for initial piercing.
Third, sizing is extremely important when it comes to initial piercing jewelry! Whether you're getting a septum piercing, a cartilage piercing, or a belly piercing, you need jewelry that is long enough or big enough in diameter to allow ample room for swelling! Your piercer should downsize the jewelry as you heal 😊 When it is healed, you can wear snug-fitting jewelry. If your piercer tries to use snug fitting jewelry initially, with no extra room, ask for longer jewelry or find a new piercer. If your piercing does not have room to breathe and swell, infection and healing complications are very likely! The exact length of jewelry needed depends on the piercing and your specific anatomy, but your piercer should know exactly what you need.
In conclusion, please do your research before walking into a shop and letting someone pierce you! Find out what type of jewelry they use, make sure it is safe for initial piercings, and make sure it is properly sterilized. If they bring out externally threaded jewelry to pierce you with, kindly decline and find a new shop to visit for piercings!
The only non-silver colored jewelry that is safe for initial piercings are anodized titanium, anodized niobium, genuine gold or rose gold, or colored bioplast!
I hope this guides you guys in the correct direction and that your next planned (or spontaneous 😝) piercing heals with zero complication or pain!
Until next week,
To view our jewelry selection that is suitable for initial piercings, click here. We add new options every week!
P.S. If anyone has any questions or any other ideas for things we should cover in blog posts don't hesitate to shoot us a DM on our instagram account: @spiritadornments
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