Metal Barbells VS Plastic Barbells

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Steph Simpson

Piercing is a long practiced tradition that continues to grow in popularity on a day to day basis, and for very good reason as well. Piercings are a fantastic way of expressing yourself and really making a statement. They’re fashionable, they’re traditional, they’re a rich part of many customs and cultures, and above all else, they actually look fantastic in the process. If you’re thinking of getting a piercing for the first time, or are maybe thinking of being a little more adventurous and trying a new one, you may wish to consider a piercing barbell as opposed to a ring. Barbells are attractive, they’re versatile and hard wearing, and they’re very easy to maintain and look after as well. When it comes to piercing barbells however, one area in which many people find themselves struggling, is actually knowing which material to go with. You may have originally thought that you could either go with silver or gold barbells, like with most other forms of body jewelry, but that is not the case at all. Nowadays there are many different types of material to choose from, with each one providing their own unique benefits and drawbacks. Two of the most popular materials are: Metal and Plastic so for that reason we’ll now take a more direct look at the two, plus a few other popular materials for good measure.

Industrial barbells – Industrial piercings are made up of two separate piercings which are located on the ear rim and are connected up together by one separate barbell. It will usually be placed in a diagonal location across a person’s ear at the top, although in reality it can be placed in any direction the person requires, within reason, of course. Basically the industrial barbell is best described as being a barbell that is unusually large and that can be stretched between two piercings very easily. When selecting industrial barbells, it is vital that the piercing is indeed long enough, otherwise it may cause the two separate piercings to pinch together, which will obviously cause pain and discomfort. It also puts the piercing at risk of migration, which, if you’ve paid money and gone through pain to have the piercing carried out, migration or rejection will be the last thing that you want. To work out which size industrial barbell you require, it is best to measure from one piercing to the next, and then make use of a handy chart, many of which can be found online.

Metal Industrial barbells – In terms of popularity, metal industrial barbells are most certainly the most popular choice amongst keen piercing and body art enthusiasts all over the world, and for good reason too. These barbells aren’t just your standard barbell designs, they are available in a wide range of different styles and designs. You can have spiral designs, designs of arrows, barbells with coloured gems and jewels, barbells with skulls, barbells with hearts, various other motifs in the centre, and much more besides. Some of the most common metal materials used on metal industrial barbells includes: Titanium, blackline, and surgical steel. These barbells can even be customized by the wearer of the jewelry, and can be ordained with various accessories which can be threaded on.

The main benefits of metal barbells include:

  • Hygienic
  • Easy to maintain
  • Attractive designs
  • Easy to customize
  • Easy to obtain

Potential drawbacks include:

  • Possible allergic reactions to some metals
  • Heightened risk of migration or rejection is the wrong material is chosen

Plastic barbells – Some people find that they don’t get on with metal industrial barbells all that well, and may find themselves experiencing mild irritation, infection, or difficulty in healing, in which case plastic barbells are a great alternative. Sometimes known as flexible barbells, these pieces of body jewelry are made from a selection of hygienic materials, all of which are proven to be skin-friendly, and, also with fantastic biocompatibility, which has certainly helped their cause over the last few years. The main materials used are often PTFE (also known as Teflon), or BioFlex. One of the main benefits of plastic barbells is the fact that they have been found to greatly reduce the amount of time required for the piercing wound to heal, which in turn helps to speed up and enhance the overall recovery process. The main reason for this is that some people can experience reactions and allergies to metal jewelry, and in this case, the plastic takes away this risk.

The main benefits include:

  • Cheaper than metal
  • Skin-friendly
  • Can speed up healing times and rates
  • Can reduce irritability

Potential drawbacks include:

  • Cheaper looking
  • Cheaper feeling
  • Less durable
  • Not considered as attractive as metal jewelry by some people