Titanium is a lightweight metal that is ideal for people with concerns about nickel sensitivity. This material can be anodized to create jewelry of different colors without affecting the safety. Look for implant certified titanium (6Al4V ELI) that is ASTM F-136 compliant or ISO 5832-3 compliant, or commercially pure titanium that is ASTM F-67 compliant.
There are many, many different titanium alloys, but for the sake of body piercing you will primarily hear about three of them.
The two that are acceptable for initial piercings due to them having an implant grade designation are F-136, and F-67, as mentioned above.
Titanium that is 6AL 4V ELI means it is made from 90% titanium, 6% aluminum and 4% vanadium. ELI means “extra low interstitial”.
ASTM F-67 is commercially pure titanium, meaning it is unalloyed.
Both of these materials have been tested and approved for medical implantation if manufactured according to the specifications set forth by the ASTM (American Society for Testing & Materials) or ISO.
The third type of titanium the piercing industry has heard about, especially in the past few years is G23 titanium.
Contrary to what some companies are leading consumers to believe, G23 is not an implant grade of titanium.
Brian Skellie wrote an article about G23 titanium and how it pertains (or rather, doesn’t) to body piercing.
“Grade 23 and the ASTM B series standards are not specific descriptions of materials for contact with the human body, rather they are wide designations for commercial, industrial and engineering purposes.”
Cody Vaughn - Outreach Committee