Over the course of lockdown I have received quite a few messages from clients who purchased jewellery online from various sources and have had reactions, infections, and other issues with their piercings after changing to the new jewellery. Additionally I have had people who were pierced elsewhere contacting me with issues about their piercings as the piercer who originally performed the piercing was unable or unwilling to help. In these cases, most of the problems could be attributed to poor quality jewellery and improper placement, though the most worrying thread throughout them has been the fact that the piercer did not tell them the metal that was being used or when asked would not disclose the source of the jewellery.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to purchase body jewellery from a reputable piercer who will willingly disclose the company who produces their jewellery or reputable online retailer. A reputable online retailer will have their XRF test results certificate available upon request. XRF stands for X-ray fluorescence which is a technique used to determine the elemental composition of materials so you know exactly what the jewellery is made of and any impurities it might contain.
Badly polished titanium has a nearly undetectable rough surface texture and is severely problematic. It can cause irritation, micro-tearing in the piercing itself, and allergic reactions as it is generally not implant grade. Cheap jewellery from the Far East is now flooding the UK and is very low-cost so it can be incredibly tempting to pick up a few new shinies from Amazon resellers or Wish. Please be careful and shop with caution!