Polymer Plugs

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Wednesday May 16th, 2012 @ 1:08 AM

Filed under: Ear

I’m a metalsmith who has been asked to design a line of Teflon plugs to replace an entire case of acrylic jewelry. The intent is to provide higher quality affordable jewelry that doesn’t degrade, become porous, and off-gas like acrylic. According to the APP, PTFE is safe as long as it meets ASTM F754-00.

My question is more of an ideological one. I’ve noticed that folks (once they are serious about their bodies) often seem to align on one side of a the aisle: Organics vs. “Industrial” materials.

I design custom work in precious metals like niobium and titanium, but also understand that we all sometimes need a ‘throwaway’ pair just for a good stretch, especially on the smaller end of the scale (up to 20mm ish).

I’m curious what you think about implant grade “synthetic” (ie. PTFE) materials, or if you have any comments about the “nobility” of certain materials versus others. I’d also just like to hear whether PTFE in the real world is sufficiently hypoallergenic, or if people continue to report reactions similar to acrylic.


Ryan Holandes

PTFE (aka Teflon, aka Polytetrafluoroethylene) is a fantastic material for body jewellery. It is bio-compatiable, hypoallergenic and its soft texture makes it also great for large gauge oral piercings.

The only thing that I would say while making it is be VERY careful, teflon fumes are carcinogenic and can really mess you up.

Make sure you are using virgin-grade PTFE and try to stay away from ALL other polymers (such as Delrin) as people can have reactions to them. I personally wear Delrin in nearly all my large gauge piercings, however just as acrylic it can work with some and not with others.

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