Dermal piercings are my absolute favourite piercing to do. Unfortunately, they are more of a temporary piercing. Many people will get a dermal or surface piercing, thinking that they last forever and are later very sad when they start to reject. In this blog, we will go over the pros and cons of dermal piercings and surface piercings.
Dermal piercings, how do they look?
Dermal piercings, also known as Microdermal piercings or single-point piercings, are piercings that are placed underneath the surface skin layers. They are held there with a “dermal anchor” which looks more like a flat foot or flat peanut shape. Sometimes the anchor will have small or large holes in it for your skin and tissue to grow through and attach the anchor to your body. Dermals can be placed almost anywhere on your body. Some placements are going to last longer than others, but there are not many limits as to where they can be placed. Every piercer will have their own restrictions on where they will place them. Personally, I will not put them on hands, feet, or any high action areas because I know they will not heal correctly, or they will most likely reject quickly. I want my clients to have a good experience.
How long will a dermal piercing last?
Generally, dermals will last longer than surface piercings. The reason they last longer is there is no pressure from a bar on the skin. The anchor can move as your body/skin moves, so there is less pressure on the jewelry. As we learned from the rejection blog, once our body sees the jewelry as a threat for any reason, our body will push the jewelry out. Generally, this is caused by trauma to the piercing. A piercer or a doctor can remove Dermals. I recommend getting them removed at the first sign of rejection to minimize scarring. If the dermal anchor pushes itself out completely, you will be left with a more extensive scar about the same size as the anchor.
When a doctor removes it, you will typically have a small X scar where the anchor was attached. When you get them removed by a piercer, there is usually minimal scarring as we are trained to remove them. The scar left is about a 2mm-3mm circle. Doctors can numb you, and piercers can not, so it just depends on what you care about more.
Surface piercings vs. dermal piercings
Many different types of surface bars that can be used, and some work better than others. I have tried them all throughout the ten years I have been piercing. I will always recommend dermals over surface bars, but some clients do not like the fact that they will, at some point, need to be removed. With a surface bar, you can simply unscrew the top and slide it out of your skin, just like a standard piercing. If my client wants a surface bar after I have listed the pros and cons, I only use flat base staple bars. I have a video of this on my youtube channel if you would like to see the different types of surface bars available. Here is the link https://youtu.be/7lSYVjuFJiE .
Surface bars can be used in areas of the body that do not have a fold in the plane or if the tissue is not thin enough to pierce all the way through like on an ear or nose. A surface-piercing follows the plane of the skin. Surface bars are most commonly placed in the nape, sternum, lower navel, and anti eyebrow. Scarring on a surface bar rejection is going to be much larger than a dermal. The scar can potentially be the size of the length of the bar. Always remove the jewelry at the first sign of rejection.
Cleaning your dermal piercing
Tips on how to keep your dermal and surface piercings for as long as possible are; Keep them clean. You will want to clean them once a day even if it is just in the shower that is fine, but they need to be cleaned even after they are healed. Low action areas are best. Please choose a location that does not have a lot of movement and wear clothing that does not rub or catch on them. Do not wear things that could be tangled in them like lace, knitted clothing, or jewelry that may catch on it. Try not to sleep on it directly. Avoid using loofah and terry cloth towels. Basically, avoid trauma to the piercing.
Even though dermals and surface piercings do not last forever, I still love them. They are so cute while you do have them! Treat them kindly, and hopefully, you can keep them for a very long time. I have clients that will only last six months, and I have clients that have had them for 20 years. They are not forever, but it is definitely possible for them to have a long life.
Written by: Erica Bautista