One of the biggest debates in the world of body piercing is over the use of acrylic. This article talks specifically about whether or not acrylic tapers are safe to use for stretching.
Acrylic tapers are cheap and widely available, and a lot of people use them for stretching with no issues. However, many professional piercers and body jewelry sellers warn of the possible dangers of acrylic, and recommend staying away from jewelry made of acrylic.
It’s generally accepted by many professionals and modded people that it’s ok to wear acrylic jewelry short-term in well-healed piercings (but not oral or genital piercings), and that using acrylic tapers to stretch should be fine, since the tapers aren’t in long contact with the body.
But the issue of wearing acrylic body jewelry is still hotly debated by many. Here are a few issues with acrylic you should be aware of:
- There’s no way to sterilize acrylic. Autoclaving is the only way to guarantee jewelry is sterilized, but it’s impossible to autoclave acrylic: Autoclaves work by subjecting the jewelry to very high temperatures (about 120° celsius, or 250° fahrenheit), which would cause acrylic to melt. Also, the use of alcohol or harsh chemicals causes acrylic to degrade, so the only way to clean acrylic is with soap, which doesn’t kill all bacteria.
- Acrylic can begin to emit toxins in small amounts when in prolonged contact with your body. Acrylic manufacturers do not recommended acrylic for use in implantation, and piercing professionals warn against wearing acrylic in tongue or genital piercings.
- Acrylic may crack with age, which can lead to skin irritation, cuts, or abrasions when it comes in contact with your skin. It’s also very brittle and can easily shatter.
Some people report having reactions to acrylic jewelry, including soreness, irritation, and swelling. Others use it with no issues at all.
If you do decide to use acrylic, keep your piercings and jewelry clean and pay close attention to your body. If you notice any reaction, remove the jewelry immediately and let your ears heal.
- Hedrick, D., Karnes, J. Ear Lobe Stretching FAQ. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.onetribe.nu/faq/ear-lobe-stretching-faq
- Jewelry for Healed Piercings Brochure [Brochure]. (n.d.). The Association of Professional Piercers. Retrieved from https://www.safepiercing.org/wp-content/uploads/APP_Brochures_2011.pdf
- Jewelry Standards. (n.d.). Piercing Experience. Retrieved from http://www.piercingexp.com/info/info-jewelry.html
- Skellie, B. Why not acrylic body jewelry?. (2012). Retrieved from http://brnskll.com/shares/why-not-acrylic-body-jewelry/
- Whats so bad about acrylic tapers, and why shouldnt you use tapers after a certain size?. (2012). Piercing Advice. Retrieved from http://body-modders-unite.tumblr.com/post/24972133061/whats-so-bad-about-acrylic-tapers-and-why-shouldnt