What is dermal piercing?
Dermal piercing is a special kind of body modification that is pretty different from ordinary piercing. They are sometimes called ‘single point piercings’, because, unlike conventional piercings, they only pierce the skin once. Instead of a bar or ring going in and out of the skin, a dermal piercing has a special ‘anchor’ placed under the skin to hold a piece of jewellery in. Different decorative heads can then be attached to this anchor for all sorts of jewelry options.
Why get a dermal piercing?
Unlike conventional piercings, a dermal piercing can be done pretty much anywhere on the body. Most piercings are limited to a place where the piercing can enter and exit the body, but a dermal piercing only needs one hole, so can be done on any flat surface on the body. A lot of the most popular dermal piercing areas, like fingers, or the nape of the neck, would be very difficult to add conventional piercings to. Because they can be placed all over, multiple dermal piercings are also great for making patterns or designs, rather than just having one or two piercings in standard places. Also, once the piercing has healed, it’s really easy to screw different heads on and off, so that changing the appearance of your dermal piercing is really easy!
How is dermal piercing done?
A dermal piercing can be done in one of two ways – with a piercing needle, or with a dermal punch. The punch is faster and easier, but is not legally allowed in all parts of the world, so a needle is the most common method. It is very important that dermal piercings be done by a professional, because a mistake could seriously damage the skin.
Basically, the piercer will make a small slit in the skin, and then create an L-shaped pouch in the dermal layer of the skin. The larger section of the anchor is carefully inserted into this, with the skin stretching a little as the second section of the anchor slides underneath and is embedded. All that is left showing above the skin is the top part of the anchor.
How are dermal piercings cared for?
As with any type of piercing, it is very important to take good care of your dermal piercing to avoid infection. Immediately after piercing, the area is likely to be red and swollen- don’t worry, this is normal, as is a certain amount of bruising. It can take 8-12 weeks for complete healing, so you need to be prepared to be very careful with your new piercing for quite some time.
The safest piercing option is to go for titanium, which has a very low rejection rate, so is unlikely to cause your body any problems. Stainless steel can also be used. Other metals should be avoided, as there is the risk of infection once they are embedded under your skin. It is very important that you do not try to change the dermal piercing jewelry while it is still healing, as this could damage your skin beyond repair. In fact, it is best that you visit a professional for your first change, and avoid touching the piercing at all for the first three months.
A bandage should be worn for the first 4-6 hours after piercing. It is best to bandage the dermal piercing at night for 7-10 days, just to avoid accidentally snagging it in your sleep. Avoid chemicals, swimming or tanning – you have to keep your new dermal piercing spotlessly clean!
The easiest way to keep your dermal piercing clean and infection-free is daily sea salt soaks. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon sea salt in a cup of warm water, place it over the piercing so that it forms a vacuum and traps the water, and let the piercing soak for a few minutes. You can also use cotton wool and gauze to apply a sea salt mixture to the area.
It is also important to give your dermal piercing a thorough cleaning once a day. You must make sure that your hands are entirely clean for this – use antibacterial gel, or even wear latex gloves. Rinse the piercing area thoroughly, and use a cotton swab and warm water to remove any crust that has formed.
You will also have to consider the specific area of your piercing. For example, if you get a dermal piercing on your back, you will have to sleep on your stomach for quite some time. Every piercing is different, so it’s best to think carefully about this healing process before you go to get a dermal piercing!
If, for whatever reason, your dermal piercing needs to be removed, it is very important that you see a professional for this, who will be able to gradually and gently massage the piercing out of the skin. Attempting to remove it yourself can result in scarring and a high risk of infection. It is possible for the body to reject a dermal piercing on its own, and you need to keep an eye out for this. If your piercing appears to be re-appearing through your skin, you should contact your piercer for assistance.
Popular dermal piercing locations
As mentioned, a dermal piercing can be inserted into the skin pretty much anywhere in the body, but certain areas are more popular than others. Some of these spots are also great for conventional piercings, but some are definitely for dermal piercing only!
Ear Dermal Piercing
While cartilage piercings are very popular, dermal piercing gives you a chance to extend your ear piercings to areas that would normally be left empty. The skin beside the ear, in particular, could obviously not be pierced in the normal way, but is still a great subtle spot to add dermal piercings.
Finger Dermal Piercing
Fingers and hands are a very popular area for dermal piercings. This is a great place for a subtle piece of body jewelry, and it’s definitely not a place that most people expect to see a piercing! As a bonus, a jeweled piercing on a finger looks like a fantastic diamond ring.
Facial Dermal Piercing
The delicate facial skin around the eyes would usually be completely off-limits for piercing, but with dermal piercing it’s possible to put studs anywhere on your face! This is a fantastic location to draw attention to your eyes, and create a look that’s completely out of the ordinary.
Neck and Nape Dermal Piercings
Another great place to put these delicate piercings is on the nape of the neck. Here, they can easily be covered by hair or clothing when necessary, and then easily shown off again! There is also plenty of space to experiment, and make patterns with multiple piercings. The nape of the neck is also a popular tattoo site, so it’s clearly a great body part to decorate!
Wrist Dermal Piercings
How about skipping bracelets and just getting a dermal piercing? This is an area where seeing silver and sparkles is nothing unusual, but a dermal piercing is still something special! Like many of these other spots, wrists are difficult to pierce conventionally, so seeing a wrist piercing is out of the ordinary.
Hips are a very popular location for dermal piercings. They are easily covered up during the day, but look fantastic with a bikini or sexy cropped tops. If you’re proud of your body and want to draw attention to it, then dermal piercings on the hips are a great way to do this!
Navel Dermal Piercings
Belly button piercings have been popular for centuries, especially in India, but you can also decorate your navel with dermal piercings! If you love your pre-existing navel piercing, this is a great way to add to it, by adding extra studs to the skin around the belly button.
Clavicle Dermal Piercings
A lot of people think that the clavicle is one of the sexiest parts of the body, so a dermal piercing here is a great way to show off your gorgeous bone structure! Like ring and wrist tattoos, clavicle dermal piercings reference conventional jewelry in a really interesting and unusual way – from a distance, they might look like a necklace, but up close they’re clearly something very different.
Another great place for a subtle/sexy dermal piercing is the sternum. A dermal piercing tucked away here makes a really bold statement in a cleavage-baring dress, but is easily covered over for everyday, unlike facial piercings. This is a great way to experiment with unusual and daring piercings!