Best Metal for Nipple Piercings, Pros, Cons, and Prices

Best Metal for Nipple Piercings, Pros, Cons, and Prices

If you are preparing to get your nipples pierced, or already have, you might want to consider what traits make the best metal for nipple piercings. There is a wide range of jewelry metals, and some work well for nipple piercings while others do not. Let's see what is the best metal for nipple piercings that the market offers.

Best Metal for Nipple Piercings

What metal is best for nipple piercings? The best metal for nipple piercings is implant-grade titanium. Surgical stainless steel, 14k or 18k gold, platinum, and niobium are also great choices. But try to avoid nickel, brass, sterling silver, plated metals, and magnetic metals.

1. Titanium

Best Metal for Nipple Piercings, Pros, Cons, and Prices

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Titanium is a corrosion-resistant shiny metal prized for its low weight and strength. The silver-white material is non-porous and hard. 

Titanium has a reputation for being the best metal for nipple piercings for many reasons. It is lightweight, hypoallergenic, durable, lead-free, nickel-free, non-corrosive, and won’t tarnish.

Its non-porous nature reduces places bacteria can hide, promoting healing.

Titanium is also hypoallergenic, meaning it is less likely to cause allergic reactions. Titanium is nickel-free. Its high density-to-strength ratio means your jewelry is very durable. A lower density also makes Titanium lightweight, a big plus in many user's eyes. Finally, the metal comes in many colors because you can anodize it.

The only real downside to titanium jewelry is that you will pay more for all those positive traits. Shop for implant-grade titanium with designations like ASTM F-136, ASTM F-67, or ISO 5832-3.

Price Range: About $20-$40.

Pros:

  • Approved by the Association of Professional Piercers
  • Won't cause allergic reactions
  • Scratch-resistant and won't fade
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Comes in many colors

Cons:

  • Not as valuable as gold, silver, or platinum
  • Doesn't sparkle quite as much as other metals

2. Surgical-Grade Steel

Steel combines iron and carbon, improving its strength and ability to resist fracturing.

However, this silver alloy can contain other elements, including nickel. Make sure to buy surgical-grade steel jewelry. These will have ratings: ASTM F-138, ISO 5832-1, ISO 10993-6, ISO 10993-10, or ISO 10993-11.

One of the pros most people cite for steel jewelry pieces is the lower price point. Steel is also a durable option. These pieces are low maintenance because the steel does not corrode, rust, or tarnish.

Weight is the top complaint for those using steel jewelry pieces. Steel can be less comfortable if worn in nipple piercings for long periods. 

Price Range: About $5-$30.

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Common enough that you'll have plenty of jewelry choices
  • Extremely durable and resistant to damage and corrosion

Cons:

  • May cause reactions in those with nickel allergies
  • Not considered as valuable as some other materials
  • Can be heavy and uncomfortable if worn in nipple piercings for long periods

3. 14k or 18k Gold

Gold is a dense yellow metal known for its malleability. Its use in creating jewelry extends far back in history. Karats measure the amount of pure gold in the alloy. You want to shop for 18k (75% gold) or 14k (58.3% gold).

This metal will not rust or tarnish. It is also easy to decorate and shape. The added alloys in 18k, and especially 14k, make them more durable than 24k gold pieces.

One downside to gold jewelry is the price tag, which is expensive. Another concern will be that the metal is soft, making it susceptible to bends, breaks, and gouges. Gold can also be heavy, especially with more pure karat ratings.

Price Range: About $40-$200.

Pros:

  • One of the most valuable materials
  • Will not easily tarnish
  • Offers plenty of sparkle
  • Is easy to engrave or use to set stones

Cons:

  • May contain non-hypoallergenic metals
  • 18K gold in particular is not very scratch-resistant

4. Platinum

Platinum is a silver-white metal known for its corrosion resistance. Many consider platinum as a status symbol when worn as jewelry.

This metal has a density that makes it more durable than other precious metals like gold or silver. It will not tarnish or discolor over time. Unlike gold, platinum pieces are pure; most selections use 90-95% platinum.

High sticker prices are the con that prohibits people from wearing jewelry made from Platinum. It is several times more rare than gold, which justifies the price point. You will also find nipple piercing jewelry made from platinum weighs more than its gold counterparts.

Price Range: About $50-$300.

Pros:

  • Hypoallergenic and non-reactive
  • Has a brilliant shine
  • Is a very valuable material

Cons:

  • Is a lot heavier than other metals
  • It's uncommon, so your jewelry choices might be limited

5. Niobium

Niobium is a light grey metal known for its hardness that is like titanium. The metal resists corrosion and tarnishing like others on the list, creating minimal maintenance for you.

It might be the best metal for a nipple piercing if you want titanium-like durability with more malleability. That extra pliability makes it easier for jewelers to shape pieces. Niobium can come in various colors as it is something that you can anodize.

The only real downsides are that it weighs a bit more than titanium and you will likely pay a bit more due to the process involved in manufacturing this metal.

Price Range: About $20-$60.

Pros:

  • Won't react when exposed to bodily fluids
  • Completely hypoallergenic
  • Has a brilliant shine

Cons:

  • Rare enough that your jewelry choices might be limited
  • Heavier than titanium

Metals to Avoid for Nipple Piercings

Even if you are not yet sure which is the best metal for nipple piercings, remember not to buy the following metals that are bad for nipple piercings.

1. Nickel

Nickel is often used within alloy mixtures. Unfortunately, it is also something that many people develop an allergic reaction to after they are born. Nickel allergies may affect 10% or more of the US population, with most unaware they are allergic until a reaction occurs.

That makes nickel-free alloys like titanium the best metal for nipple piercings for those with allergies.

2. Brass

Brass is another material to avoid when possible. It can also cause allergic reactions that include skin irritation through piercing rejections. If you have sensitive skin, avoid this copper and zinc alloy and opt for one of the suggested materials listed above instead.

3. Sterling Silver

Sterling silver isn't an allergen as much as it is a potential carrier of unwanted bacteria. The metal is soft, making it easy to scratch. Those scratches, in turn, make a perfect hiding place for bacteria that could cause infections.

Most people only use this metal in fully healed nipple piercings at best.

4. Plated Metals

Plated metals are alluring as a cost-effective alternative, but avoid using them in your nipple piercings. The platted surface metal will flake off over time, exposing the cheap metals below the surface. That creates ridges for bacteria to nest, and the cheaper metals may cause allergic reactions.

5. Magnetic Metals

Lower-grade metals like iron, and even some steel jewelry pieces, are magnetic. Magnetic metals may not be as biocompatible as materials specifically designed for body jewelry. Nickel is commonly found in magnetic metals. 

While some wear ferrous metals for purported healing effects, there is limited scientific evidence to support these claims. In fact, non-ferrous metals (including certain surgical steels) tend to be more hypoallergenic.

You may also have to remove them when going through some scanning equipment. 

How to Choose the Best Metal for Nipple Piercings?

1. Hypoallergenic

The "hypo" in hypoallergenic indicates less than normal. That means metals with this quality are less likely to cause allergic reactions. Hypoallergenic metals for nipple piercings include titanium, surgical-grade steels, gold, platinum, and niobium.

2. Durability

More durable metals work better for nipple jewelry. Hard alloys like titanium, surgical-grade stainless steel, and platinum are less likely to become damaged. Soft metals like gold are easier to scratch, making spaces for bacteria to hide in.

3. Bio-Compatible

Bio-compatible metals are not harmful to living tissue. When looking at the types of metal you plan to use for your nipple piercings, titanium, stainless steel, and gold are examples of bio-compatible jewelry metals.

4. Lightweight

Lightweight metals will be more comfortable for longer periods when worn in your nipple piercing. Titanium, and niobium from the list above offer lighter jewelry options than the more dense gold jewelry.

5. Comfort

The most comfortable metal will be hypoallergenic ones like titanium. They are unlikely to agitate your piercing hole and surrounding skin during healing. Metals like titanium are also lighter, so they are not as noticeable when you wear them.

6. Options

You want to choose a metal that offers plenty of jewelry choices and colors that you can play with, like implant-grade titanium and surgical stainless steel. This is not the case with rare metals like niobium or expensive metals like gold or platinum.

Read More

Types of Nipple Piercings: A Complete List with Images, Pros and Cons

Nipple Piercing: Healing, Cost, Pain, Jewelry, Risks, Aftercare

When Can I Change My Nipple Piercing?

How Long Does It Take for Nipple Piercing to Heal?

Best Metals for Nose Rings: Pros, Cons, and Prices

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