What is dermal piercing? How is it done? How much do they cost? Get in-depth coverage on including procedure (process, pain, and healing), prices, scars, jewelry, removal procedure and more.
Dermal piercings also known as dermal anchors, micro-dermal piercings, single-point piercings or micro-dermal implants can be defined or refer to the kinds of piercings that are made up of two components; “a flat plate called the ‘anchor’, which sits beneath the skin, and a changeable piece of jewelry that sits on the surface ” [WebMD.boots.com]. These two components are connected by a post, which is permanently fixed to the plate, and it protrudes just above the skin for jewelry attachment.
Normally, the anchor can be solid or have holes – “the portion of the jewelry, which sits beneath the skin, has a number of holes to allow the tissue to grow through, anchoring the jewelry in place” [Wiki.bme.com]. The anchor does not move and has lesser chances of infection and if you opted for the ones with holes, they will be more stable and last longer but they are harder to remove.
In most cases, the two components are made of stainless steel or titanium. However, the top jewelry can be made from other materials such as diamond, gold, etc.
This piercing type is commonly used in places where it is not possible to have the surface piercings such as the neck, back, hip, cheek, on fingers as a dermal ring, etc.
Finally, both male and female can get this service since it is not gender-based. The time to feel stigmatized because of your gender due to you having piercings is long gone.
From the definition above, it is clear that the procedure needs an expert who will use a dermal punch, piercing needle (where a small incision is required) or a scalpel to put the anchor deep enough into your skin to reduce chances of migration or rejection. However, it should not be very deep such that the anchor will soon be embedded in your skin.
Before the piercing, clean the site, sterilize it and ensure the piercing equipment is sterilized too, to reduce chances of infection. Common methods used are:
- Using a dermal punch – Dermal punching creates a pouch by removing a little tissue to create the space for anchor placement and it is has a means of ensuring the piercing is not too deep.
- Using a needle – When using a needle, an L-shaped pouch is created using a needle; a forceps is used to insert the anchor before jewelry is screwed. The piercer should have a good knowledge of skin anatomy and choose the right size of a needle.
We understand the fact that there are many videos online trying to teach how it is done and encourage you to try it at home with procedures such as dermal punch piercing or using a needle. Do not try any of those methods by yourself. It must only be done by a qualified piercer to minimize chances of rejection, scarring, pain and other risks associated with this process.
In cases where local anesthetic injections are used to reduce pain, the pierces must be medically qualified licensed administer such injections.
Video for under eye
To visually see the procedure, the below video will illustrate the process using a needle before inserting the anchor and jewelry. This is not something you can do by yourself.
Pain Level or do dermal piercings hurt?
If you have watched the above video, you can already guess the fact that the procedure hurt. If you still want to know how bad it hurts, we can place it at between 5 to 7 on a pain scale or chart of 1 to 10, 1 being not painful and 10 very painful. However, this should not scare you since people have different pain tolerance.
If you did a pain compared with other types of piercings or tattooing, this piercing does hurt a little more i.e. it is more painful.
Furthermore, where the piercing will be located can influence the pain since different parts of the human body respond differently to pain. Hip, chest, face, stomach, neck, under the eye, back, and wrist might respond differently to pain due to variation in the sensory nerve distribution.
Going for the punch dermal process is much advised for those who have low pain tolerance. According to Wikipedia, “microdermal punch is less painful and therefore commonly used.” This is if compared to the use of a needle or surgical insertion with a scalpel.
A sharp pain that lasts for a short while is expected. There is little or no pain after the procedure complete. To share a little experience microdermal piercing pain, here is what people have reported
“I have to admit… the pain was far worse than I expected. It started out with an extremely sharp, pronounced pain (when he was twisting the dermal punch into my flesh) followed by an excruciating pressure that took my breath away (when he was pushing the anchor under my skin). The whole process took about 90 seconds. As soon as it was over, there was no pain at all. The area was a bit red and felt hot, but otherwise looked pretty good. I sat up, looked in the mirror, and it was love at first sight” –NikkiGemGirl
“About the pain, it wasn’t so bad. I thought “oooooooow”, and then we were done, and I forgot all about that, and was completely happy I did it,” as Zabrina share in Female Dermal Piercing Experiences after having a dermal anchor in the cleavage.
I have lots of piercings and tattoos and the two micro dermal anchors I got hurt more than any other…” according to Kathy [Answers.yahoo.com].
How long do they piercings last?
If done properly, taken good care of during healing and after healing, the “devices are designed to have more permanence and to allow greater scope for body decoration” [webmd.boots.com]. They can last for many years and you will need an expert to remove them.
However, trauma, rejection, and infection are some of the factors that can have a direct influence on how long microdermals will last once you have them.
Aftercare, cleaning, and healing
The success and general aesthetic appeal of your piercing lie not only on how accurately and well a piercing being done but also the good care is taken especially during the healing process.
Immediately after the piercing, the area might be covered with a breathable bandage for a few days to reduce chances of infections or physical injuries. A bandage will also be required whenever you are involved in an activity that might cause trauma to it. If you have to touch it, do not just wash your hands with antibacterial soap but also wear gloves
Afterwards, during the first 3-6 months, the piercings should not be disturbed and covered whenever possible to minimize chances of pulling, being caught or tagging (with towels, clothing with small holes, etc.) that often cause anchor movements closer to the skin. This is to ensure the tissue around the piercing is not irritated as it can begin to scar.
You should not turn, twist, play with or pull it, and follow all the care instructions and tips you will be given to avoid infections. Also, ensure it does not get wet while healing i.e. cover it when taking a shower.
Unless the affected area is directly under the piercing, it is not necessary to remove them during MRI, CT scans or X-rays.
Finally, in case of swelling, take ibuprofen. Supplements with zinc or arnica can aid in quick recovery with arnica further reducing bruising.
1. How to clean it
Important aftercare is regularly cleaning the pierced site. Cleaning is done using a piercing solution provided by your piercer or with sea salt solution (a quarter a teaspoon of sea salt added to a cup of warm water) at least two to three times a day. Once cleaning is done, dry with a new paper towel or tissue paper to avoid infections.
Cleaning is by applying a warm compress using this solution and a piece of clean cloth. No “anti-bacterial, antiseptic or other solution is required. These will have a detrimental effect on the piercing” [Urbanpiercings.co.uk]. Some sources recommended a few drops of dilute tea tree oil while others claim it will encourage drying.
If crusting occurs, be gentle, hold a cotton ball soaked in the saline solution until it softens, and slowly wipe them off.
2. Infected case
Poor hygiene and aftercare may result in infections, especially by bacteria. In case of infection, redness, pain, rash, swelling, and pus might be the obvious symptoms you will have.
Treatment will involve the use of sea salt solution (saline solution), other treatments use on infected piercings or seeing your piercer for advice on further treatment and care.
3. Can they have bumps?
Sometimes it might develop a red bump especially if the jewelry is tight and/or moisture accumulates around the piercing i.e. “it’s more likely a sign of a moisture and/or pressure issue” [Info.painfulpleasures.com]. Furthermore, dirt and debris have accumulated around the fistula created during piercing leading to the red bump.
Places like waistbands are prone to the problem since your pants will be applying constant pressure. Ensure there is some space between your dermal anchor and dermal top
Healing or and how long does a dermal take to heal,
On how long does it take for microdermals to heal, the duration varies between 1-3 months to heal well depending on where the dermal implant was placed. It can also take longer than 3 months. Those in areas with more activities or movement, healing can be difficult and it might take much longer.
To enhance healing, “you have to practice good hygiene in general, eat well, get lots of sleep, and avoid nicotine, which slows down the body’s ability to help” [Info.painfulpleasures.com].
Rejection is the process where the human body naturally rejects some foreign objects. When it happens, removal or modifications might be required.
When compared to other piercings especially surface piercings, the rejection rate is low but exists. “The risk of complications both during and after the procedure is also lower with microdermal piercing, although they do still remain a possibility.” [Bluebanana.com]
When rejection happens, you will notice the anchor migrating towards your skin surface and if is ignored, it will be completely pushed out and falls off. This will cause a considerable scar.
The first microdermal rejection signs include unending sensitivity, soreness, and redness. Later you will notice that the dermal tops are hanging loosely, and at times, the anchor might become visible through your skin.
In case of rejection, there is nothing else to do except having the anchor removed. This might reduce scar size you will end up with. Avoid re-piercing as rejection might occur again.
However, sometimes, dermals can be displaced during healing especially when it gets tugged or pulled slightly. See your piercer to adjust it to position even if you have healed for over a month.
A common question I often get is whether or not it leaves scars. The answer is yes, you might end up with a small scar where the piercing is. “the size of the scar depends on how well you take care of the piercing and how your own body heals” [Piercology.com].
Scars are also common when you wrongly or forcefully remove the anchors i.e. they will be more visible after anchor removal. In extreme cases, some people might even end up with a microdermal scar tissue or even hypertrophic scars and small keloids after removing them.
To deal with scars, try applying silicone gel scar therapy treatment or jojoba oil. Furthermore, you can try other scar treatments including laser or creams if the scar is visible.
Costs or prices
A concern of many people is how much is microdermal piercing. Well, the prices will vary from one place to another and they depend on the status of the studio. On average it costs between $70 and $100 while in the UK, you will have to part with between 25 to 70 pounds for the process and jewelry.
Of course, you do not expect the cost in Melbourne Australia, Toronto Canada, and London in the UK, NYC, Texas, San Diego or Las Vegas to be the same. Just search for ‘dermal piercing services near me’ or in ‘ in your city ‘and you will get the various studios most of which will list their prices.
In some studios, the cost is not inclusive of the cost of jewelry and you have to buy each of them separately. To quickly get where and prices, just search for studios near you and you will get many studios and their prices if you have allowed search engines to track your location.
Are you are tired of having your dermal anchor piercing and you want it removed? Can removal be done at home or do you need to see an expert? Will it cause some pain or scars? Is there some aftercare you need immediately after removing your dermal piercing? All there are valid concerns.
Get it straight and right. If you want to get rid of your dermal anchors, ignore the many videos and tutorials that how to remove a dermal anchor yourself. Go to a professional studio for removal to reduce scarring and tissue damages. Sometimes, a certified medical practitioner is required especially if you used the perforated type of anchor (one with a hole).
Experts will massage the area gently to help dislodge the anchor if they were without holes. Dermal implants that have been in place for a longer time might be harder to remove especially if due to skin tissues that might have grown on top of the anchor. In such a case, an incision might be required.
You should note, “removal requires cutting the new tissue from each part of the plate before it can be removed. This can be a painful and lengthy process, sometimes leaving raised scar tissue” [urbanpiercings.co.uk]. I hope you now know that it hurt to get dermals removed!
How much is it to remove it
To have your dermal anchor taken out, on average, most studios charge $10-$15 per piercing. If you will need a doctor to remove it, your costs might go slightly higher. Some aftercare is required where you have to clean the site with saline solution until it heals to minimize scarring.
There are many good types of jewelry available that come in different shapes, sizes, and from different materials for the various body parts where they will not get tugged easily.
On material, titanium is the most recommended for the anchor although stainless steel is at times used.
However, unlike the anchor, the microdermal tops or dermal anchor tops can be from other materials including gold, diamond (, real diamond microdermal jewelry), white gold, etc in different colors, sizes (1.5mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 3.5mm, 4mm, 5mm, etc.) coming in decorations and designs. You will get skull charms, dangling, cross-shaped, heart-shaped or even order custom ones.
Where to buy micro dermal jewelry (anchors and dermal tops)
Microdermal jewelry for sale is available in your leading local stores and online stores such as amazon.com, bodycandy.com, starseedmicrodermals.com, eBay, etc.
To make a saving, buy them in wholesale. However, avoid cheap low-quality jewelry as they might cause allergies. Furthermore, ensure you know where each is used since dermal jewelry for chest might not be same as those for the face or fingers.
How to change your jewelry tops?
To change jewelry, you need to unscrew the one you previously had and replace a new one in the post which is normally threaded to make screwing easy. The process should be done with a lot of care to avoid much strain on your anchor.
If you have the problem of your microdermal tops falling off, you might be using the wrong size or your post might be damaged.
It is a fact that you can have them on any part of your body. However, do not forget that you will need to be more careful if you choose a delicate body part i.e. “should not be implanted in hands, feet, wrists, collarbones or any area where it is not flat or that is near a joint” [Wikipedia.org]. Here are common places where people place them
Microdermal hip piercing is becoming trendy where you could have the piercings on both sides of your hips, laterally placed to your navel to create some sense of balance. However, you can decide which microdermal hip piercing design or pattern you need including bead-like pattern along your waistline.
Once you have microdermal hip piercing, be careful while you sleep, dress, or sit to ensure there is no trauma as this can encourage rejection. A rejected microdermal piercings often required to be removed and this can lead to scars.
Another location you should consider a dermal anchor piercing is your back. You can have the piercing anywhere on your back. However, the lower back is relatively more popular.
Once you have this piercing, much care should be taken during healing to reduce the chances of rejection or injury. Sleep on a soft mattress, ensure it is well covered, and avoid sleeping on wooden boards and tough mattresses as they can increase friction and pressure on the piercing site. Also, going for breathable and loose clothing is a good idea.
On jewelry, a careful dermal back piercing jewelry choice is paramount. Avoid types that can get tugged easily or protrude much on the skin surface.
Still, you can try microdermal neck piercing where you can have it on your collarbone, on back of the neck just below your hairline or anywhere on your neck including creating a necklace like a pattern. If you go for the collarbone, mild swelling, redness is expected since the area has a lot of blood vessels.
Follow dermal neck piercing aftercare routine, in case of infection ensure you begin treatment early to avoid chances of scar development. To minimize injury, cover it and get it removed early if you notice any signs of rejection.
Your chest is one area you could have them. The procedure is moderately painful but the rejection rate is slightly higher since your chest is an active area where clothing, bag straps, and almost everything touches.
If you decide to go for chest one, ensure you are ready to take good aftercare and choose jewelry that will not easily be tugged. Prices for those on your chest or removing it are more or less the same as any other body part.
Dermal face piercing could either be on the cheekbone, eyebrow, by the eye or on the teardrop, on lips, on cheeks, on your forehead or anywhere else on the face where you feel you need the piercing.
You do not want scars on your face due to dermal anchors, ensure you clean your dermal face piercing well, follow your aftercare instructions, cover it when sleeping, and in case of any signs of rejection, have the jewelry remove early to avoid scarring.
Having a microdermal wrist piercing is really attractive. However, due to a lot of movement around this area, care must be taken to avoid injuries, especially during the healing process.
In case it is irritated while healing, microdermal wrist piercing signs you might have include redness, sensitivity, and mild swelling. Be very careful during the healing process, adjust your clothing or cover it.
If you do not want to pierce through your lips, you can go for dermal lip piercing either on your upper or lower lip. It might be better than lip piercing since it does not reach your inner lip. Although is not very painful, it is slightly painful than normal lip piercing.
8. Eye and under-eye
If you are considering dermal eye-piercing, ensure it is carefully done. Generally, a dermal piercing by the eye will be a more painful procedure. Among the various piercings you could have around the eye, teardrop would look good. Costs, removal, and the procedure are more or less the same as any other microdermal piercing.
A very popular place where people put it is on the cheek including on the cheekbone, just below the eyes or on the cheek dimples (especially as a means of creating fake dimples). A few people have complained of a headache as a result of dermal anchor cheek piercing we but cannot confirm if the procedure might have been done wrong.
Other common places where dermal anchor piercings can be placed include on fingers, stomach, on the tongue, on eyebrows, behind ears, on the upper part of the breast, on cleavage, ears, etc.
To conclude, I hope you can define what dermal piercing is, discuss its procedure, cost, aftercare, various common places where you can put this piercing, what to do in case of an infection, removal and something on jewelry that can be used. With these facts, you can now be decided whether or not should you get dermal wrist piercing