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Acrylic Jewelry: Horror Stories
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June 5, 2012
1:11 pm
SasQuatch9585
USA
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As some of you are already aware, I'm trying to get started making custom wooden jewelry.  One of the finishes I'm using is a clear spray-on acrylic.  I love this finish because it completely seals the wood from moisture, it collects no sebum, it's high gloss, and it requires no maintenance.

Now, I've heard about the fact that acrylic releases cytotoxins as it decays, so for this reason, and because it can't be sterilized, it's absolutely no good for a fresh mod, but I've worn acrylic jewelry for years at a time in the past with no negative results, and I've been wearing my own wooden jewelry with the clear acrylic finish for many months now, and still no negative effects.

This leads me to question whether acrylics are truly unsafe, provided the piercing is properly healed.

Again, acrylics are no good for fresh piercings/stretchings.  That much I understand.  But if the piercing is properly healed, can it still create problems?

I'm looking for direct experiences here.  I don't want to hear about something you heard second hand.  I want to hear from those who have either lived it themselves, or have actually seen someone going through it themselves.  I will also accept links to such stories.

What I don't want to hear is vague, third-person stories, or stuff like, "My artist said it's no good."  My artist told me about it too, but no one has ever been very specific about the risks.  Frankly, I think the most detail I've ever heard about the risks is, "It can create problems."

What kind of problems?  Under what circumstances?  And specifically, has anyone ever had problems with acrylics when their piercing was already properly healed?

Sometimes I wonder if I can say anything in less than a hundred words.
June 5, 2012
1:28 pm
Kevin_cook
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I have never had trouble with Acrylic .. but I dont wear it long term

 

Have you considered using Cyanoacrylate Glue finish? .. it is internal grade safe

- Kevin Cook Proudly modified since 1983
June 5, 2012
4:51 pm
strommer
Portland,OR
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i tend to wear em short term to avoid any of these issues so i haven't had anything bad happen yet

June 6, 2012
11:10 am
Oakbear
UK
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I know 2 people who have had a irritation when wearing acrylic in healed piercings, which stopped when they replaced it another material. One had a new piece of jewellery they reacted to, the other gradually had problems after some time. May not be related, but corrolates.

 

I know lots of people who have worn it for some time without noticeable issue.

 

We absorb a whole host of cytotoxins from our environment. New carpet is supposed to be terrible!

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
June 7, 2012
8:19 am
Ascetic Athlete
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Ive had some irritation and delayed healing with some fresher piercings/stretches. Ive heard the qualities of acrylic make it a really poor jewelry material choice, such as it being very porous. I dont know if this is true or not but Ive heard that the melting point for acrylic is very close to the human body temp so in some environments, depending on temp outside, that the jewelry can "melt" some in the piercing. Like I said that is just something Ive heard, I cant verify yes or no. 

"Body modifications say a lot about ourselves, it says even more about those who surround us"
June 7, 2012
1:26 pm
SasQuatch9585
USA
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Corey Clark said
Ive had some irritation and delayed healing with some fresher piercings/stretches. Ive heard the qualities of acrylic make it a really poor jewelry material choice, such as it being very porous. I dont know if this is true or not but Ive heard that the melting point for acrylic is very close to the human body temp so in some environments, depending on temp outside, that the jewelry can "melt" some in the piercing. Like I said that is just something Ive heard, I cant verify yes or no. 

From everything I've heard, you're right about it being no good for fresh piercings/stretches. It cannot be autoclaved since it would melt or seriously deform, so it cannot be properly sterilized.  It is, in fact, porous which allows bacteria to set up camp and reproduce, leading to infections and/or delayed healing.

Living in Phoenix, I think I (and the entire modified community in the southwest) would have noticed a melting problem.  During the summers it's regularly 110 degrees or more for months at a time.  This Wikipedia page says the melting point of Poly(methyl methacrylate) is 320 degrees F.

I'm not sure if this material is chemically identical to that used in solid acrylic jewelry or in my clear acrylic finish, but the common name for this material is acrylic glass, and it is sold under the brand name Plexiglass (among others).  If this is a representative number for the typical melting point of different types of acrylic, then I think we're in the clear as far as that goes.

Sometimes I wonder if I can say anything in less than a hundred words.
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