It seems almost daily we are contacted by individuals who have had a hard time healing piercings in the past. Many of them are convinced they have allergies to certain materials, so it’s not unheard of for them to say “I can only wear real gold” or something along those lines. In some instances other studios may have capitalized off their beliefs and tried to upsell them the most expensive gold options in house. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love gold body jewelry. I love wearing it, I love piercing with it and I love seeing it in our clients. This is one of the reasons Adohi has flexible payment options on big ticket items. We want to help you obtain those dream jewelry pieces you have been drooling over. But we aren’t going to pretend that you don’t have more affordable options at your disposal just because you have experienced piercing trauma in the past. The fact is the vast majority of people in the world can and do wear implant grade titanium jewelry with no issues whatsoever when it is properly manufactured, properly installed and properly cared for. Read on to dispel some of the myths surrounding piercing jewelry.
If you have had problems healing piercings in the past it is important to rule out as many potential issues as possible so your next attempt has a better chance for success. We often like to start with how your procedure was performed. Were you pierced with a gun or mechanical device? It is not that uncommon for people receiving ear piercings to have sensitivities with certain materials and styles of jewelry after being traumatized by gun piercings. Mechanical guns are far more aggressive than the extremely sharp piercing needles we use, this can damage the tissue in the area and lead to more scarring and adverse reactions. Many gun piercing establishments do not use jewelry that conforms to body safety criteria. Gold plated jewelry and steel jewelry can contain many impurities that irritate piercings. In fact even low quality titanium can have this effect. This is why it is important that titanium jewelry conforms to a universal standard for body safety. At Adohi we require our manufacturers to submit specification certificates that prove their jewelry conforms to standards such as the ASTM F136 implantation standard for alloyed titanium or the ASTM F67 non-alloyed titanium implantation standard. These standards ensure that every batch of jewelry from said manufacturer meets the same requirements as medical implants. In contrast, jewelry that claims to be “surgical stainless steel” still does not mean it meets safety criteria to be in the human body. Surgical grade steels are a variety of steel recipes that the steel industry uses to create tools like scissors and forceps. These items are not designed to stay inside a human body. In fact surgical steels have more than a negligible amount of nickel in them, and nickel is widely known to be something many bodies have adverse reactions to.
But what about gold? Surely gold is fine, that’s why it costs so much, right? Unfortunately not all gold jewelry is body safe. In fact much of the lower cost gold jewelry that is imported from overseas is made in facilities without the same oversight that we have here in the US. Beyond that, gold isn’t typically used for implant devices, so finding implantation standards that can be applied to the jewelry we use is almost impossible. Most gold jewelers use a proprietary blend of metals (called an alloy) to come up with their signature gold. It is often determined by what properties they are looking for, what raw materials are easily available to them and cost. A piece of jewelry that is 14k is approximately 58% gold and 42% other stuff. Other less expensive stuff. Some of which may not sit right in your body. Sure it could be fine as a finger ring or a necklace, but once under the skin sensitivities come to light much more readily. 18k Gold is only 75% gold, leaving a quarter of it to be filled in with “other” metals. In the case of white gold that metal is often nickel. That does not mean all gold is bad news. For most people gold is an amazing material, provided it is manufactured correctly and installed correctly (you should see a pattern developing here). At Adohi we procure our gold jewelry from a handful of the best manufacturers in the world, all based in the USA. This is important for that oversight we mentioned before. But in addition to that our jewelry manufacturers all have a background in body piercing, many employ former piercers to help make sure all products are designed with proper healing and long term body safety in mind. Gold is a wonderful material, but it is important to make sure you are buying safe gold and not throwing your money away or putting your body at risk. For this reason we never suggest buying gold online or from more traditional jewelers.
One thing we keep alluding to besides the material composition of jewelry is the design and manufacturing. Cheaper made jewelry and novelty pieces are often improperly finished and have design flaws. Did your last piece of jewelry have butterfly clasps or exposed threading on the wearing surface? Uneven rough textured areas can leave places for germs to hide from proper cleansing and they can also irritate or disrupt the healing. We have always been advocates for internally threaded or threadless jewelry, making sure no attachment areas have exposed serrated edges or visible thread patterns. We also only purchase jewelry that has been polished to a mirror finish. Rougher finishings leave hills and valleys under magnification that are hard to keep free from microorganisms that may cause harm or illness. Besides that, the excess post on butterfly clasp earrings can often poke the head or neck area during healing making wearing them extremely uncomfortable. For ear piercings we often opt for flat disks or round balls on the back of the jewelry to keep this irritation from arising. Proper sizing is determined by your piercer at Adohi and takes all of the guess work out of the equation for you. After all, our piercers have years of education, training and experience. Many other piercing establishments require very little training from their staff, the law even has much more relaxed legal requirements for anyone using a mechanical piercing device like a piercing gun. Is it any wonder why we see so many issues stemming from those types of establishments?
Another key component of proper healing is proper care. Many businesses suggest using harsh astringents and antiseptics on fresh piercings, however these chemicals can often kill developing skin cells in the area making healing take much longer and leaving you at risk to scarring and infection. Some products like the ear care solution found in many malls across the country can actually grow harmful germs in it after being exposed to the air around us for several days. Other suggested products like loose fibers on cotton swabs can get inside the healing wound and create irritations, as well as absorbing and retaining an environment where bacteria can thrive. At Adohi we take a wound care stance that is much more aligned with many medical practitioners. We believe in debridement and irrigation, but we avoid contact with any harsh chemicals or products known to cause irritation. We go over aftercare in exhaustive detail with every client and we provide them with written aftercare sheets to help them understand (seen here). We also make ourselves available by text and email after hours in case questions are not easily answered by perusing the literature.
No two people are exactly same, and healing times are really just averages. Your mileage will surely vary every time you receive a new piercing. But just because you had a horrible experience before, it does not mean something is wrong with you. In fact, unless you’ve had an allergist run a panel on you it doesn’t even mean you are allergic to a single thing. There are so many variables, but this one common factor seems to hold true: Quality piercings done with quality jewelry and by highly trained quality piercers tend to have significantly fewer issues with healing and long term comfort. There’s a reason we may cost a little bit more than some other places, the truth is we probably can’t even acquire proper jewelry for the price the other place is charging the end user. And on top of all that we need to make enough profit to keep the lights on, pay the rent, pay our employees and of course give the government their share. If someone else is offering a similar experience for significantly cheaper it behooves you to ask where they are making up the savings. What corners are they cutting? In many instances even the staff at some piercing facilities don’t understand the differences in the novelty pieces they are offering and true quality body safe pieces. Some people will heal regardless of how unsafe it may be, so prior good experiences are not always a great indicator of a facility’s safety. Especially if there are equally as many bad healing experiences. Some issues may take months to exhibit any signs or symptoms. Word of mouth is only one part of due diligence when searching for a safe piercing. This is why Adohi has members of the Association of Professional Piercers, to further our commitment to our clients’ safety. If you would like to schedule a no obligation free consultation with one of our piercers, send a text message to 614-767-5003 (or click this link).