Monday, July 7, 2014

Gosh Tarnish! Metal, irritations and how to cope

 Hi, I'm Maureen, from Cosmo's Moon Jewelry- a line of earthy funky silver and mixed metals jewelry that I sell here in Tucson Arizona and online in my etsy shop "Cosmo's Moon"
I've had a couple people approach me lately about some issues they are having with their piercings and with their silver in general. 

I should say first of all that I have NO medical training- I am a jeweler- so this advice is based on my years as a nose ring wearer and my training in jewelry. 
 I thought I'd share with you all a few things I have learned over the years as a jeweler and wearer about your silver jewelry and piercings....

 The dilemma---> Are you having issues with silver earrings or nose rings lately? getting red and irritated?

First, check the metal-
If you are certain that the metal is valid and not a cheap/plated/nickle silver or some sort of imitation silver colored metal.  Sterling silver is legally defined as being 92.5% fine silver. Note: I ONLY use sterling silver with my silver Cosmo's Moon nose rings. I never use plated silver, or silver filled, ONLY sterling silver through and through- My Gold nose rings are also solid gold- not plated- and are marked in the same area as the silver hoops.  I mark each of my nose ring hoops on the inside of the little ball with a tiny stamp "925"  or "14K" though most of the time the stamp is too large for the area, and it doesn't show the entire number, I assure you that it is solid sterling silver or karat gold

If you haven't had problems with silver before you most likely are dealing with factors other than the metal as the culprit, like...(drum roll please....)

Possible Irritants: (these all depend on the individual person)

  • sweat
  • sunscreen
  • insect repellents
  • some types of first aid antiseptics
  • pool chemicals
  • tarnished or otherwise dirty metal
  • salt water  
  • sand from the beach
  • organic (and inorganic)substances from pond/lake/ocean/pool water. 

Why does the nose piercing have more issues than earring holes?
The Nostril piercing is exceptionally susceptible to irritation, due to it's position and the flow of gravity. Sweat, makeup, bug repellant and sunscreen often run down our noses when it gets hot. The ear piercings get far less assaulted by irritants simply because of their location. One hardly ever has to wipe sweat from earlobes, but noses? oh boy, do they get bombarded. 

I took a couple pics to illustrate- (no, I don't have blue sweat, I used tinted water to highlight flow on a nose with nose ring. I have had my nose pierced for about 30 years and have had a few inflammation experiences- Here are some tips to keep your nose piercing happy.....

Nose Hoops-
with a hoop, there is almost no protection from the irritants- in fact, the flow of irritants tends to pool on top of the hoop, seeping into the hole and thus beginning the start of possible irritation and tarnish.

A hoop actually will encourage the sweat to enter the hole, by "wicking" the substance through the hole through the outer curve of the hoop. 
The only real way to prevent irritation is to avoid getting those irritants near the piercing, which is pretty close to impossible...
so in order to keep your nose piercing happy you have to give it a little extra love and attention

 nose ring hoop care:
  • I recommend taking the hoop out every 2-3 days to give it a rub with a clean piece of cotton t-shirt fabric or a "scotch-brite" scrubbie (you can get the scrubbie at most Hardware stores in the USA)
  • then give the nose ring a dip in a cap full of alcohol. (to be cautious do not dip items that have gemstones, you could possibly damage the stone) rinse in water after dipping
  • clean your pierced hole regularly (at least once a week)-use a very mild soapy water or just water if your hole is "angry" (I used to use hydrogen peroxide for this but have recently been told by a professional piercer that HP is too irritating for pierced holes- it can dry out your skin.)
  • add a dab of antibiotic ointment or tea tree oil on your pierced hole after washing (whatever one you know works best for your skin type- general rule of thumb- if it doesn't seem to help -or seems to irritate- don't use it-try a different ointment) ***
  • a little bit of ointment goes a long way- it really does help keep the skin from drying out too much, and will be a barrier coating to keep irritants out.
  • re-insert your nose ring through the ointment, so it gets pulled through the hole by the wire

 if you usually wear a nose stud you won't have irritants enter the hole as easily, because the stud covers the pierced hole, essentially acting as a plug which helps keep the sweat from entering the hole. But that doesn't mean it won't trap irritants....
posts have a different issue that they can trap dirt/irritants under itself which means you need to clean it just as much as you would clean a hoop.

Another possible reason for nose ring hoop irritation could be:

the curve of the hoop is stretching the piercing hole- If you are used to only wearing a stud, your hole will be accustomed to a straight piece of metal going through it, Once you change to a hoop your nose piercing has to conform to a rounded arc of wire going through it. This will cause some stretching within the piercing- MINOR stretching, yes, but since the nose piercing involves cartilage any change can tend to be irritating. There isn't really a remedy for this, other than giving your pierced hole some time for it to adjust to the stretch. I would recommend cleaning the piercing the same way, remember to dab some antibiotic ointment on it daily while it is getting used to the change.

My point? Remember, a happy piercing is a clean piercing! keep your piercing and jewelry squeaky clean and you will be happily stylish with mellow piercings and fabulous jewelry (assuming you are buying your jewelry from Cosmo's Moon, that is) :-)

I know that this is a lot of information, I hope it isn't overwhelming! Please feel free to print this page so you have these tips available whenever you want to read them...or better yet, Bookmark this page, to easily return to this blog.          

Thank you for your interest in Cosmo's Moon Jewelry!

      New West meets Old World__
new designs added weekly!

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