What Is the Best Metal for Nose Rings?

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Getting a nose piercing always comes with potential complications. This is common for any jewelry that is intended to be worn through or inside you, so it is essential to take precautions in order to minimize health risks and discomfort.

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Two common issues that people face after a nose piercing are allergies and infections. While there are a range of factors that can contribute to this, one major aspect to consider is the type of metal you choose for your nose ring.

True, there are many nose ring metals out there to choose from. But all nose ring metals aren’t created equal.

Here’s the rundown on the best nose ring metals for your jewelry and the types to avoid.

The following metals are commonly used for nose piercings and are known for generally reducing irritation, infections and discomfort.

Surgical Stainless Steel (SSS)

This is the most commonly used type of metal for nose piercings and is perfect for a fresh or healing piercing. As surgical steel is hypoallergenic, it typically does not irritate the skin. It is also quite affordable.

Surgical stainless steel nose ring. Check it out here.

While there are many types of stainless steel, not all are used in a fresh piercing. 316L and 316LVM are the recommended types of SSS for piercings as they are body implant grade.

Stainless steel contains some nickel so if you are sensitive to nickel this may cause some irritation and discomfort.


nose barbell
Titanium barbell/horseshoe

Titanium is extremely durable and is also bio-compatible, meaning that it is not harmful for the body. However, ensure that you have chosen implant certified titanium.

Titanium is more durable and lightweight than stainless steel, and contains very little nickel. Another advantage of titanium, is that it is very scratch resistant. All these make titanium a comfortable option and also a worthwhile investment as your jewelry will last a very long time. However, on the flip side, titanium can be quite expensive compared to the other metals listed here.

Nose bone stud made of titanium. See it here.


Niobium is not exactly a metal but an element. It is little-known but is a very good option for a body piercing.

Niobium nose ring. See it here.

This alternative metal is hypoallergenic and is ideal for someone with metal sensitivities. Niobium sits in between titanium and SSS in terms of price and is a durable, bio-compatible metal for a nose piercing.


Gold captive beaded ring

Gold is one of the best metal options for a nose piercing because of its hypoallergenic and pure nature.

However, it is imperative to choose real gold such as 14k or 18k. These are varieties of gold that contain gold mixed with some other metals (typically copper) to give the gold strength and make it more suited for jewelry. Gold in its purest form is too soft for jewelry and easily loses shape and wears off.

Gold nose bone. See it here.

Take care not to choose gold-filled, gold-plate, rolled-gold or gold vermeil nose rings for a fresh or healing piercing. We’ll discuss why in the plated metals section below.

Types of metals to avoid

The following metals are not recommended for fresh or healing piercings. It’s best to wait until the skin has completely healed before wearing these metals.

Sterling Silver

While sterling silver is known for being a hypoallergenic metal, it is not a good choice for a new piercing. Silver oxidizes and tarnishes when in contact with bodily fluids. This turns the metal black and when this comes into contact with skin, the silver can actually give your skin a permanent black stain. It is impossible to make this stain go away so it is best to avoid silver until your piercing has completely healed.

Plastic and Nylon

Although both plastic and nylon are also hypoallergenic, they tend to be somewhat porous. What this means for you is that they can absorb bodily fluids which can result in infections due to bacteria growth. Also, these types of nose jewelry can tend to stick to the skin.


These types of metals include plated, rolled, vermeil or filled metals. Basically, this is where a base metal, such as copper, zinc or nickel is simply coated with a thin layer of gold (or silver) to make it appear like the real thing.

The trouble with plated metals is that over time, as the plating inevitably wears off, the base metal will come into contact with your skin and can irritate the skin and cause reactions.

Plated metals generally tend to wear off faster when in contact with body fluids, meaning that they discolor and are not very durable. It is best to avoid these in general for nose piercings.

Choosing a metal for your nose piercing will be a factor in making the whole experience a comfortable one. Think of this not as jewelry but as a surgical implant. You wouldn’t choose a cheap, incompatible metal for that so why do that here?

Always go for a bio-compatible and durable metal. It’s best not to skimp but to invest in a high-quality metal as it will save you lots of headaches down the line.

Browse Amazon’s collection of nose rings that range in price and designs to suit all budgets and tastes.

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