When it comes to body piercing, there are thousands of different jewelry options to choose from. But that doesn’t mean every option is a good option for your piercing. Especially with facial piercings, such as a lip piercing, it’s important to choose jewelry that is biocompatible—or not harmful to living tissue.
Just this requirement alone narrows down your jewelry options by a lot. Namely, it leaves you with a few metal choices, like 316LVM stainless steel, 18-karat gold, and most importantly, ASTM f136 titanium. And though every body is different, there are still universal truths about the biocompatibility of these metals.
In this blog, we’ll review why titanium is biocompatible, what to search for when shopping, and why it might be the right choice for your lip piercing.
The Problem With Other Metals
Our modern-day society favors fast fashion, and that includes jewelry. This leads to a lot of jewelry that’s not very high quality, and in some cases, can cause adverse reactions in your piercings.
For example, has your skin ever turned green from your piercing jewelry? This is because the jewelry was made from brass or copper, and as it oxidized, it turned green (just like The Statue of Liberty). While not harmful to you, it is a sign of low-quality jewelry.
There are some metals that can be harmful to you, though. In fact, a majority of the jewelry you find in everyday shops probably contains nickel—the kryptonite of piercings.
According to the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF), nickel is the most common contact allergen in the world. A contact allergen shows up 24-72 hours after contact with a substance and causes an inflammatory reaction that can itch, burn, and swell.
And even though you’re not likely to find a lip ring that’s 100% nickel, just a small percentage—like the percentage found in both surgical and implant-grade stainless steel—can be enough to cause a reaction if you’re sensitive to metals.
This is precisely the reason professional piercers avoid metals with nickel, especially for your initial jewelry.
What About Gold?
“Pure” gold—or 24 karat gold—is a biocompatible metal. However, pure gold is a soft metal and therefore not durable enough for piercing jewelry. In order to make it piercing-ready, pure gold is mixed with other alloys to strengthen it. That makes most piercing jewelry 14 to 18 karats. However, this “mixing” decreases the purity, making it a problem for some individuals with metal sensitivities. Because of this, it’s not a great option for your initial lip piercing. Later on in your piercing journey, however, gold could be a viable option as long as it’s not mixed with nickel or copper.
The Prime Choice: Titanium
Choosing a titanium lip ring is a safe choice to make sure your new piercing heals properly and stays intact for as long as you want it. But why titanium? According to an article published by Alfred T. Sidambe in Materials:
“Titanium is considered to be biocompatible because it has a low electrical conductivity which contributes to the electrochemical oxidation of titanium leading to the formation of a thin passive oxide layer. The oxide layer in turn leads to a high resistance to corrosion.”
Essentially, titanium excretes an oxide layer that has a high resistance to corrosion, making it safe for surgical implantation, or in our case, a lip piercing.
According to Sidambe, both titanium and titanium alloys have been used for this purpose since the 1970s, making it a reputable metal for this purpose.
Not All Titanium is Created Equal
Finding titanium jewelry is a great way to start, but know that the word “titanium” isn’t always synonymous with “safe.” To make sure your titanium jewelry will serve your lip piercing well, there are standards to follow.
ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, is the organization that develops and publishes guidance and standards for a wide range of materials, including titanium.
When shopping for your titanium lip ring, ensure that the jewelry is ASTM F136 compliant. This standard is endorsed by the Association of Professional Piercers (APP) as safe for piercings. When in doubt, ask your local professional piercer what they recommend.
We Have What You Need
We know that both style and safety is important, especially for lip piercings. That’s why Urban Body Jewelry has curated a wide selection of titanium body jewelry, so you can find exactly what you need when you’re ready to switch up your initial piercing. So if you’re ready to find your next titanium lip ring, look no further than UBJ. We have what you need We know that both style and safety is important, especially for lip piercings. That’s why Urban Body Jewelry has curated a wide selection of titanium body jewelry, so you can find exactly what you need when you’re ready to switch up your initial piercing. So if you’re ready to find your next titanium lip ring, look no further than UBJ.
IMG CRED: Moises Alex