Stainless steel vs. Surgical Steel Earrings(Pros and Cons 2024 Explained)

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You’re about to get a piercing, and you’re not sure what type of metal earrings to go for.

Alternatively, you have pierced ears, and you want to diversify your collection of earrings.

You’ve heard of both stainless steel and surgical steel metals getting used to making earrings. Which one do you go for?

In this article, we’re going to look at the differences between stainless steel and surgical steel.

With an understanding of what they both are, the choice of which kind of earrings to go for becomes automatic.

Read on to find out which is best.


Stainless steel vs. surgical steel earrings

We first have to begin with a definition of what stainless steel and surgical steel are before we can get into the differences when it comes to earing. Let’s start.

Stainless steel: This is a type of steel whose composition of stainless steel is primarily iron and about 10 percent chromium, making it an alloy. Other metal elements that you’re likely to find in stainless steel are molybdenum, copper, titanium, and nickel.

You will also find other non-metal elements such as carbon. The purpose of the additional chromium prevents the iron from oxidizing.

It does so by forming an oxidized layer that is known as a “passive layer” that prevents the iron itself from oxidizing. However, this layer does not last in high concentrate saltwater.

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There are quite many applications for stainless steel, but the most common is in making kitchen items and appliances. Overall, stainless steel is superior to other steel because rusting doesn’t occur even when used in moist environments.

They are varying types of stainless steel that get used, including austenitic, martensitic, ferritic (contains trace amounts of carbon, nickel, and chromium), and duplex (for piping applications).

If you guys want to read more about this metal info: this post might help you: is stainless steel is good for sensitive ears.

Surgical steel: This is also a type of stainless steel that gets used to make items for biomedical application, that is, materials used in surgery and other medical implants.

There are two types of stainless tell that get used in making surgical steel, and that is austenitic and martensitic stainless steel.

These two types of still have incredibly high corrosion resistance, with austenitic being more superior and the most common in the market. Martensitic has 20 percent chromium.

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You will also find that most types of surgical stainless steel are made of two to three percent molybdenum. It is also extremely resistant to corrosion, and it is a pure element that has one of the highest melting points.

Though the name surgical steel implies that it is for medical purposes only, it does have other industrial uses.

Read more detail here: Is surgical steel good for the sensitive ears? I bet you will learn a lot.


Pros and cons of stainless steel earrings

Here we are going to look at the advantages and disadvantages of stainless steel earrings.


  • Stainless steel has a silvery finish that makes it look like a precious metal. That makes it ideal in jewelry making as it can stand out among the best metals but for a fraction of the prices.
  • Stainless steel is quite affordable as compared to other metals used in making jewelry
  • This metal is highly durable. It can withstand daily wear and tear and thus making it a great companion for everyday use.
  • It is resistant to corrosion and scratches in general thanks to the layer of chromium that prevents the iron from oxidizing.
  • Cleaning stainless steel is super simple; all you need is warm water and liquid soap. Use a cloth to clean it gently. After you’re done, wipe it dry, and you’re good to go.
  • Stainless steel does not lose the natural shine, and thus no polishing is necessary
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  • If you apply pressure on your stainless steel earring, then it is going to dent.
  • The hard nature of stainless steel makes it hard for jewelers to set in gemstones
  • This metal alloy can sometimes contain nickel, which is an allergen for those with nickel allergies.
  • Pros and cons of surgical steel earrings


Pros and cons of surgical steel earrings

Here we are going to look at the advantages and disadvantages of surgical steel earrings.


  • Surgical stainless steel is hypoallergenic, making it ideal for people with sensitive ears or skin in general
  • The metal alloy is corrosion, scratch, and tarnish-resistant, making it suitable for body jewelry
  • It is suitable for biomedical applications due to its corrosion resistance and also high melting point thanks to the molybdenum.
  • Surgical stainless steel also doesn’t lose the natural shine, so you don’t need to polish it


  • It is more expensive than stainless steel
  • There are some grades of surgical stainless steel that contain nickel and thus if you’re super sensitive to nickel you’d have to settle for earrings made from a different metal or metal alloy


Stainless steel vs. surgical steel earrings; which one is better for sensitive ears?

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From breaking down the two types of steel, we can establish that surgical steel is best for sensitive ears.

That said there are only two kinds of surgical stainless steel that are hypoallergenic because they contain no nickel and are thus best for people with sensitive skin. That is grade 316L and 316LVM surgical steel. They are low carbon metals too.

Overall, all surgical stainless steel also has the layer of chromium or molybdenum on top that keeps the other alloys trapped underneath, nickel included. That dramatically reduces the chances of anyone sensitive to nickel from having a reaction.



In this stainless steel vs. surgical steel earrings article, we can say that surgical steel emerges as the winner.

If you’re looking for earrings for getting a new piercing or merely adding to your collection, ask for surgical stainless steel earrings.

They are best for sensitive skin, and you’re not likely to react to sorts.

However, if you know that you have severe allergies to nickel, then you should avoid stainless steel and all their alloys all together.

If you don’t have an issue with nickel jewelry, you can also opt to purchase stainless steel earrings for less.

Thanks for reading our post! For more jewelry metal posts, read here or here.

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