It may not be a pleasant thing to discover that you are allergic to surgical steel. Why? Because, today, most piercers use surgical steel for new piercings, since it is inexpensive and available nearly anywhere. Besides, their customers also tend to enjoy the attractive shine that surgical steel has, as well as the nice durability of the material. Unfortunately, there are some people who are indeed allergic to steel- and if you’re one of them you probably aren’t thrilled to find out that you are. However, don’t hang your head. Surgical steel isn’t the only option when it comes to body jewelry.
So what makes steel an allergen? Why might some people have a reaction? Well, the reason behind it is that steel is an alloy, which means that it is a combination of several elements. Thus, the nickel that a lot of steel mixtures tend to have might be what you are allergic to- not the steel itself. Nickel, after all, is one of the main causes for skin irritations. If you somehow know for sure that nickel isn’t the problem for you, then it might also be the rough cleaning and polishing products that are used to make the steel look so shiny that cause your rashes. Another problem with steel is that it also tends to be rather heavy, which might strain the piercing, tearing or stretching it uncomfortably.
Sympotom of a Steel Allergy
Women are, unfortunately, the main victim of having allergic reactions to steel. Even if you’ve been wearing surgical steel jewelry your entire life, you might still get a sudden unpredictable allergic reaction to it. This is why it is vital to learn to recognize the symptoms of these allergic reactions, because while the irritation might be mild at first, it can easily get worse and cause a piercing infection. Some reactions can be just a little rash or an itching sensation, but the severe consequences of having this allergy would be crusty scabs and ugly fluid filled pockets. In any case, it is important to contact your doctor as soon as you notice any symptom- and remove the body jewelry immediately. Emollient creams and products such as topical steroids are usually able to clear up a nasty reaction.
Alternative to Steel Body Jewelry
The best way to avoid the problem altogether is to simply not wear steel. While a lot of people might prefer having piercings with this material, that doesn't mean that you need to go along with them and suffer or not get piercings altogether. There are lots of alternatives that piercers can use- just ask around. Some might use titanium, which generally doesn’t cause any irritations. Another safer alloy would be niobium, but this material is a bit more rare and expensive. Besides those, you can also opt for gold jewelry, or glass body jewelry. Blackline as well as acrylic are also possible options, but acrylic might also end up causing a reaction in those who have very sensitive skin. You can definitely find a way to be able to have stunning piercings if you are allergic to steel- just make sure you care for them well.