Tungsten is a popular choice for men’s wedding bands, promise rings, and anniversary gifts.
Similar to gold, titanium, and platinum rings — tungsten rings have safety concerns that you should know about before purchasing.
The primary safety concerns to consider with ring jewelry are the risk of ring avulsion injury, metal toxicity, and electrical conductivity.
Did you know?
Athletes like Joe Rogan, LeBron James, Tony Hawk and Dale Earnhardt Jr. sport silicone wedding bands for safety.
Ring Avulsion Injury
Ring avulsion happens when a ring on one of your fingers is caught on an object and gets yanked off suddenly and rapidly. The force and pressure of the ring being pulled can strip off and damage finger tissues, including muscles, tendons, and bones. This is called “degloving.”
Jimmy Fallon, host of “The Tonight Show,” brought this type of injury to national attention in 2015 when his wedding ring got caught on the edge of a table when he fell.
He reported that surgeons worked on his finger for over six hours, and even though his finger wasn’t amputated, he wore a cast on his ring finger for weeks.
Who’s At Risk For Ring Avulsion Injuries?
Anyone wearing a ring is at risk for a ring avulsion injury, especially if you wear a ring while operating industrial machinery.
Large, heavy objects, such as fences, thick ropes, or nets, can also catch your ring while you’re moving or falling at a high speed.
Your ring can also get caught on heavy objects, such as kitchen appliances or furniture, that can easily pull your ring off with a sharp edge or corner.
Loose or large rings are more likely to get caught on a piece of metal or equipment because of the open space between the ring and your finger. To reduce your risk, ensure that any rings you wear are properly fitted to your finger.
How Ring Avulsion Injuries Are Treated
Depending on how severe your injury is, recovery can take up to several months before the bones reset and any cuts heal. Depending on the injury, you should be able to resume normal activities with your finger in 5 to 10 weeks.
If your nerves were damaged, you may not be able to feel or sense pressures or temperatures as well as before the injury. If bones or tendons were injured, you may not be able to move your finger to the full range of motion.
Your doctor may recommend occupational therapy to help you regain full movement of your finger.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
If you experience an avulsion injury, seek immediate medical attention.
If your finger is still intact, you should stop any bleeding by applying pressure and using bandages to wrap the finger. You should also keep your hand elevated to reduce any swelling.
If your finger has significant bleeding or has been amputated because of the injury, you should call an ambulance or have someone take you to the emergency room.
Before you leave for the ER, you should wash the unattached finger with clean water. Then, wrap the finger in moist gauze and put it in a tightly sealed bag. You should keep the bag iced until you reach medical care. Don’t put the amputated finger itself on ice.
Tungsten rings are made out of jewelry grade tungsten which is safe to wear.
These rings are not harmful and cause no issues to the wearer.
Similar to precious metals like gold, titanium, and platinum — pure tungsten is considered toxic and can cause issues such as lung problems.
Unfortunately, all metals have some level of conductivity, with certain metals being more conductive than others.
Metals like copper, silver, gold, nickel and zinc have high conductivity.
Tungsten, titanium and stainless steel have low conductivity. Finding a metal that isn’t conductive is impossible.
Conductive jewelry is dangerous to wear while working with electrical currents.
Sometimes ring rash is caused by contact dermatitis. This occurs when your skin comes into contact with an irritant that causes a reaction.
It’s important to keep in mind that, nickel in jewelry (i.e. gold, tungsten) can trigger an allergic reaction.
After you wear a ring for an extended period of time, soaps and lotions, as well as dead skin, can build up on the settings, in the crevasses of your ring or band, and on the surface of the metal.
This can attract bacteria and cause irritation on your skin, causing the rash.
How is a ring rash treated?
Ring rash can be treated in a variety of ways. Sometimes, using one or more of these treatments can help clear up the rash, depending on what’s causing the irritation.
Apply clear nail polish
If you’re allergic to something in the ring, like nickel traces, one easy fix is to paint the inside of your ring band with clear nail polish. This prevents the nickel from leaching into your skin or affecting the surface of your finger.
Have your rings cleaned professionally. Take your rings to a local jeweler. This will help remove the buildup of dead skin, soap, and dirt that might be the cause of your rash or skin irritation.
Allergic contact dermatitis can be related to eczema, another skin condition. Try to keep your hands and fingers moisturized, especially if you’re washing your hands a lot.
Take off your rings to wash, dry, and moisturize so that no water or soap is trapped under the ring, further irritating your skin.
Keeping your skin moisturized can help prevent flare-ups of dermatitis.
Use gentle soaps
Use soaps, cleansers, and moisturizers marked for gentle skin. Deodorizing soaps and antibacterial soaps can be harsh and drying on the skin, further irritating the skin and making any existing dermatitis worse.
Call your doctor if:
- none of these treatments help the rash
- you develop blisters
- the rash is getting worse
You might need stronger treatments, such as prescription topical steroids, oral medication for inflammation, allergy medication, or if an infection is present, antibiotics or antibiotic cream to help treat the infection.
Tungsten Rings FAQs
What are tungsten rings?
Tungsten carbide rings are a popular metal used in wedding bands and rings. Tungsten rings have became a metal of choice because of their wear-resistance. Tungsten is about 10 times harder than 18K Gold, 5 times harder than tool steel, and 4 times harder than titanium.
How are tungsten rings removed in an emergency?
Most hospitals and emergency rooms use specific equipment to remove metal rings in an emergency. Typically a pair of vice grip pliers, or similar tool, is used to gently squeeze on the ring until it breaks.
Rings made of gold, silver, titanium, palladium, cobalt and tantalum are removed using traditional ring cutting devices, like a jewelers saw.
If you’re tungsten ring has an inlay of a bendable metal, then both removal methods will have to be used – first the tungsten is shattered and then the metal inlay is cut.
How can you prevent ring avulsion injury?
This injury isn’t possible if you don’t wear any rings.
Avoid wearing metal rings in situations where the ring can get caught on something, such as heavy machinery. You should take your rings off before you play sports or use any exercise equipment, as well.
Keep your ring stored in a safe place when it’s not on your finger. If you’re worried about a ring getting stolen or lost, leave it at home. You may also want to consider wearing a silicone ring instead.
What are the pros and cons of tungsten rings?
- Scratch resistance
- Risk of ring avulsion injuries
- Gold, titanium, platinum, and pure tungsten are toxic metals. However, jewelry grade tungsten is safe to wear.
What are the benefits of a silicone wedding bands and rings?
Silicone rings are safer and better suited for those with metal allergies. Different brands also have specific lines for certain consumers, such as those who work in the service industry and those who live an adventurous or active lifestyle.
In addition, silicone rings are affordable, lightweight, breathable and heat-resistant.
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