ASTM F136 Titanium and 316L Surgical Steel are common materials for making body piercing jewellery. Both of them are implant-grade metals and silver-coloured. What’s the difference between them?

What is 316L Surgical Steel?

316L Surgical Steel is widely used in body piercing, biomedical implants, and food manufacturing. It is a solid and long-lasting material and made from stainless steel alloyed with chromium, molybdenum, nickel, or other metals. Therefore, it can be resistant to corrosion and rusting.

What is ASTM F136 Titanium?

ASTM F136 Titanium is a lightweight and high-strength metal that is a durable material and resistant to corrosion in seawater. Titanium is widely used for dental implants and medical prostheses because of its great biocompatibility, and it can be safely worn against the skin without causing irritation or allergies. It’s also a hypoallergenic material, so titanium is a great choice for people with sensitive skin to avoid causing any sort of irritations. Unlike other metals, titanium jewellery can be very durable and won’t be easily scratched or tarnished.

The difference between Titanium and Surgical Steel

  • Titanium is Less likely to cause an allergic reaction on the skin than Surgical Steel. Surgical steel contains a small amount of Nickel that reacts to the immune system, such as Nickel Allergy that can be a potential complication of healing up a fresh piercing wound. The good thing about Titanium, it is a Nickel-free material.
  • Titanium is Lighter in weight than Surgical Steel. Even though they’re all silver-coloured, you can always differentiate them by their weight. It makes a huge difference when it comes down to body piercing. Light-weight jewellery helps the healing process of a new piercing, as it won’t add extra weight on the wound.
  • Titanium is a firmer and more durable material than Surgical Steel. If you have Titanium jewellery, you’ll have peace of mind, as it DOESN'T rust or tarnish. Titanium is more resistant to corrosion than surgical steel and it’s a very strong metal compared with other metals.
  • Titanium is more expensive than surgical steel. Titanium is more expensive because it has a complicated production process to go through. It’s pretty expensive to produce, having a very high melting point is one of the reasons behind this, which needs special applications for this feature. Titanium is a chemical element that can be found in nature, like rocks, soil, and bodies of water, so supply is often lower than the demand as a natural resource.
  • Titanium is non-magnetic while Surgical Steel is. This is a trick to tell them. Both of them look silvery, but titanium looks darker. They are quite hard to tell apart just by looking.

At Pheenix, most of our jewellery range is Titanium, while we also provide surgical steel jewellery options for different needs. However, we strongly recommend our clients to choose Titanium initially for a fresh piercing to have a smoother healing process. It will cost you a bit more, but you will find it worth it with its great value.

Surgical steel jewellery can be worn in a healed piercing, but it’s not recommended to people with sensitive skin. People who don't have sensitive skin or nickel allergy, if they like to change their jewellery frequently, surgical steel jewellery can be cost-efficient.

For people who are after durable jewellery that they can wear for a long time, titanium is more suitable.

We hope every piercing lover has a wonderful piercing experience.