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Titanium vs Surgical Steel: Which is the Best Choice for Piercing?

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titanium rings

Titanium is a better choice for piercing than surgical steel for people with sensitive skin or metal allergies. It takes the upper hand because it offers the dream combination: It is lightweight, strong, durable and hypoallergenic. It is also nickel-free in contrast to surgical steel alloys.

Surgical steel is not an element like titanium: it is an iron alloy with superior qualities.
Iron is made into steel by adding carbon and chromium.

It is used to produce medical equipment, bone strengthening and replacement parts.

Obviously, if it is even safe for surgery and implants, it is safe for body jewelry!

Yet, not all steel is biomedical level safe for jewelry.

For those who want more on which is better titanium or surgical steel, this post has your answers and more.


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Pros and Cons of Titanium for Piercing

Titanium is one of the best choices, as it has a very low tendency to react with the human body.

It is an hypoallergenic metal which means it is unlikely to cause irritation for sensitive skin.

However, this does not completely nullify the possibility of allergy.

A tiny percentage of the world population is allergic to this element, specifically.

In this case, you should avoid it.

Apart these low minority cases, it is a very safe choice.

It is even used for teeth implants and bone replacement thanks to its biocompitibility and distinct mechanical properties.

Besides its bio compliance, this gives an idea of its strength but let’s go further.

It is one of the most durable and toughest metals known.

This is exactly the opposite of sterling silver which demand care and attention because of its softness and tarnish.

It has the highest tensile strength to density ratio of any metal.

In other words, it can endure very high tensions and keep its form despite its low volume.

You may think that such a strong metal should be very heavy, well that’s not the case!

It is very light: its density of 4.5 g/cm3 is half of silver’s and just a quarter of gold’s densities.

When you consider its low density with respect to its durability, clearly it will outplay nearly all jewelry metals.

This combination of lightweight, durability and bio compliant properties makes it an ideal implant and piercing material.

It has a 6 rating on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, which enables to craft fancy designs.

Titanium does not include nickel

Nickel is the first culprit for allergic reactions.

Preventing any allergies starts by avoiding any alloy that contains it!

It is a safe choice as it is hypoallergenic and does not have nickel content.

However, we can’t say the same thing for steel, more on this below.

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Pros and Cons of Surgical Steel for Piercing

Steel is a popular choice for piercing thanks to its price, besides other qualities.

Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, there are many different types of steel.

Nevertheless, its advantages are much more than just an affordable price tag.

It is an alloy of iron, which has many different use cases depending on its composition.

Today, it is used in many areas: from construction to producing home appliance, from shipping to biomedical sciences.

And, obviously, not all of these alloys are safe for jewelry!

So, you have to know what version is used in your piercing before you have it!

Its production journey starts by adding carbon to iron.

This alloy is the basis of all steels, and they differ by other ingredients, percentages and production methods.

We’ll leave details in the deep subject to those want to have a PhD in material sciences and focus on our subject!

316L and 316LVM stainless steel classes are safe for jewelry.

316L type is a variant of 316 steel with a smaller percentage of carbon.

It is a good choice for biomedical implants and bone parts.

While nickel is used to produce 316L , it is entrapped in the core of the material.

This makes 316L a good choice for jewelry, due to its durability, superior mechanical properties, bio compliant nature and low allergic reaction risk.

Surgical steel is harder than titanium.

It has a higher position the Mohs hardness scale: It has a 8 rating to titanium’s 6.

These factors give more creative freedom for titanium jewelry makers as it is easier to shape it.

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The Verdict: Which is better titanium or surgical steel?

It is essential to use high-quality metals to stay safe.

Titanium is a top metal in this regard.

It is highly inert, which means it does interact with the human tissues.

It is a hypoallergenic metal safe for jewelry.

Another big plus is its lightweight.

It is about double the weight of a similar steel piece.

For anyone who has questions about its strength and durability, it should suffice to say it has one of the highest tensile strength in the metals league.

It is used in implant surgeries, with great satisfaction.

One would ask if there is any downside, the answer is no minus its price, which goes well above surgical steel.

On the other side, the latter offers strength and durability in a heavier package.

Unlike gold or silver, steel offers high durability.

Medical grade stainless steels of 316L/316LVM are long lasting materials with high scratch resistance.

They do not corrode or rust.

These two alloys are safe bets for jewelry.

At the end of the day, for people with metal hypersensitivity, titanium is the better choice.

This preference comes with a lighter weight and higher price than surgical grade steel.

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Related questions

1. Does Titanium get rusty?

It does not rust or corrode.

2. Is Titanium good for sensitive skin?

It is an excellent choice for sensitive skin. It is highly inert. It is hypoallergenic.

3. Is rose gold real gold?

Rose gold is made of real gold which has a natural color.

As gold is too soft jewelry in its purest form, it is alloyed with other metals to increase strength.

Rose gold is a popular gold alloy which has a reddish color.

Yellow gold gains this rose color thanks to copper in the alloy.

Copper hardens and significantly adds to its durability and gifts a distinct rose color to gold.