Friday, July 29, 2016

Body Jewelry Beware

I have now had two experiences with not so great body jewelry.

I have a navel piercing (belly button) and I personally prefer captive bead rings (CBR) but sometimes I put a bar in.  As body jewelry has become more normal it's also become cheaper and more cheaply made.

I know when it comes to my navel peircing that the piercing itself can be fickle.  I still remember at 18 years old changing the jewelry too soon and nearly passing out from pain.  I was excited to wear cute bars and swap out the original steel CBR.  I recall being in the bathroom and suddenly sweating from pain. I wandered to the couch with the jewelry partially in and laid down. While laying down I fought through the pain to get that sucker in.  Another time, because at 18 why would I learn the first time, I wound up having to have my mother put it in because I just couldn't do it.  I was so smart back then.

I learned over time that my navel piercing became irritated while wearing bars because they tug a bit depending on the type.  I now wear CBRs almost exclusively.  Even during trapeze, but not all the time and it's not suggested. 

So body jewelry has become more accessible these days.  Long gone are the expensive kiosk carts in the mall but now stores sell them in their racks (i.e.: Hot Topic, Spencer's, Walmart, etc).  Sadly this tends to mean lower quality jewelry.

I have now learned that lesson twice. 

Long ago a single CBR would cost $20 easily. Now you can get 3 or 4 for $14. I have picked up a few packs of CBR's from Hot Topic.  Up until those purchases I had only TWO CBRs since my initial piercing.  I had the one I was given with the piercing and a 3/8" purple titanium that's very difficult to take on and off.  It was time to invest. I bought black, metallic green, and rainbow.  Each pack I bought at a different time. 

I quickly found that the coating on the metallic green wore away while I was wearing it.  In fact, the coating pretty much just peeled itself off over time.  Not totally okay.  

The black ones wear made differently and no coating wears off. In fact, they might be a black metal. 

I have recently had irritation issues with my navel piercing. During this week I choose to wear a steel bar (one without decoration) and clean it with rubbing alcohol twice a day.  I found my navel healed because it appears I had a cut inside the piercing. Ouch. 

Since I was feeling better, I decided to try the rainbow CBR today.  I noticed it felt tight in the piercing as I can normally turn the circle around a bit (and have a habit of doing so).  Now I traveled to Cortland NY on a bus today.  I was not training. I was not working out. I was not doing anything more then sitting on my butt. While eating dinner at my aunt and uncles I randomly checked the CBR.  Sure enough, the coating was coming off.  Sure enough, pieces of the coating are now in my piercing. This is not cool. Particularly since it just healed. Sigh. I should have put the black one in. 

That's sooooo bad.

Here is my advice on body jewelry, specifically navel. 

  • Make sure the jewelry is stainless steel above all.

  • If it's a colorful metal, make sure it's not coated or painted on.  I have now learned about acrylic CBR but I have not tried one. 

  • Colored metals should be titanium.  My 3/8" purple titanium CBR is only now starting to show any wear to the color after 17 years.  The color should not peel off. 

  • Be careful shopping on eBay or other second hand websites. Make sure you are getting steel. If it's not noted, ask.

  • Know your gauge. Gauges get bigger as the number gets smaller. Standard navel gauge is 14g.  A non stretched ear piercing is 20g or 18g depending.

  • When it comes to CBR. Know your size. I love a smaller CBR but standard is 7/16". My favorite is a 3/8" but I would go down to a 1/4" if I could find one from a reputable site in 14g. 

Because of this coating peeling off, I went online to seek out titanium CBRs for myself.  It took me some wandering around online but I finally found an older jewelry site that I remember from the early 2000's.  I am certain I purchased my purple CBR from them. 

Any body jewelry on Body Candy will list gauge, size, metal, and other information.  Plus the prices have come down quite a bit.  I wound up buying 3 CBRs and bar (it was on sale).  I can't wait to get them. In the meantime I will be cleaning my non peeling CBRs and waiting for the new ones. 

After getting home, cleaning the area, and putting a bar in, I learned my piercing was yet again cut inside the piercing.  It healed quickly this time but I am not thrilled that it got cut and irritated.

I know this looks very weird and not like a belly button. 
That's the top and it was bleeding on the inside.  It's normally pink not red.

My CBRs.

After I looked at all the captives I had, I realized it was the rainbow that peeled completely off both times.  Sigh.