Archive for Surface Piercings
With the growing acceptance of all things cannabis lately, the 20th of April will carry more of a reason for celebration than ever before. No matter your choice on whether or not to participate in the holiday’s hazy traditions, we’ve got you covered in today’s post with some fun 420 history and a plethora of awesome weed-related jewelry and accessories.
But why this date? What makes April 20th and the time of 4:20 so special to the cannabis community? There are a lot of myths surrounding the origins of this holiday, which isn’t too surprising since some weed enthusiasts are known to have difficulties remembering the time to get the pizza out of the oven. Likewise, the story itself is nothing short of what you would expect from the celebration considered the Oktoberfest for potheads.
4/20: A Brief History
Let’s take a little trip back to the year 1971 – the year when five high school students from California first uttered the term “4:20” whilst meeting daily at that specific time under their school’s statue to partake in a smoke session before wandering around the wilderness searching for a legendary lost cannabis crop allegedly left behind by “some dude from the Coast Guard.”
Despite never stumbling upon their pot field treasure, the term “420” lived on in infamy as a code to conceal drug use from parents and teachers that eventually found its way into pop culture (thanks to one of the high schooler’s older brothers being a friend of the bassist for the Grateful Dead) to become the number that is now synonymous with the plant and the culture that surrounds its consumption.
A 2014 article from Vice News has a bunch of interesting facts and research about this day and its origins if you feel like incorporating a little knowledge into your holiday this year.
One of my favorite tidbits from the article is the fact that the Denver, Colorado Interstate mile marker 420 has been stolen so many times that it was replaced with mile marker 419.99 to deter further theft.
If you’re looking for some 4/20 friendly body jewelry to show off your love for the holiday, we’ve got a TON of awesome options for you to check out, including:
- belly button rings – so many dope dangles!
- nipple rings
- industrial barbells
- captive rings
- cartilage earrings
- eyebrow rings
- nose rings
- labrets for lip piercings
- tongue rings
- plugs and tapers
Want something even more resourceful? Check out our 0 gauge pipe talon taper (it’s the blue Sherlock-like piece in the above image) made from unobtanium borosilicate glass for the perfect piece to add to your stash.
Another cool option for 4/20 body jewelry is our glow-in-the-dark items! A selection of our logo inlay jewelry features the ability to glow, which only adds to the righteous style you’ll gain from wearing it. This colorful rasta pot leaf belly ring is an especially popular choice on our site.
We also carry a selection of weed-themed jewelry for those who haven’t delved into the vast world of body modification just yet, featuring fashion jewelry and accessories including the products featured in the image below. Additionally, a lot of our jewelry with rasta colors and marijuana leaf designs are currently a part of our clearance section for an easily affordable celebration.
We’ve all been there – you’re putting in your new body jewelry and the ball drops to the floor, never to be seen again. For those accidents that occur with a bead captive ring, you’re going to need a different type of replacement ball than what you would get for threaded barbell body jewelry. The ball for securing BCRs is held in place with the help of tiny divots or dimples on each side, which securely fit in the opening of the circular ring.
If that just isn’t an option for you or you would like to have a go at it yourself, we have some tools, tips, and tricks to assist you in showing off your BCR like it was meant to be:
Tips Before Getting Started
- Change your jewelry in a place with a lot of light like your bathroom because the beads are usually tiny and difficult to handle.
- Cover the drain of the sink if there is one in the vicinity with a paper towel or tissues so that you won’t lose the ball down the drain.
- Get a clean small cup or dish to put the jewelry in when you’re exchanging the pieces so nothing escapes while you’re in the process.
- Practice popping the bead in and out of the captive ring several times prior to actually trying to insert into your piercing (if you’re not sure how to do this, read through the step by step directions below before trying).
- If you’re having trouble removing the bead from the captive ring, try to wedge your thumbnail under the edge of the bead, but be careful not to drop the bead when it pops out!
- Keep your hands and your jewelry clean throughout the process to prevent infection (ESPECIALLY if you drop any part of the jewelry!)
- If you feel the ring getting caught on any part of your skin when changing it, slide the ring back into its original place and try again.
- Try not to look in the mirror while changing your jewelry because this is often more confusing than helpful when compared to changing it assisted by your sense of touch.
Step by Step
- Remove the bead from your current captive ring and slowly rotate the ring through your piercing until the ring opening is lined up with either end of your piercing.
- Hold the ring firmly between your thumb and forefinger before grasping the bead tightly between the thumb and forefinger of your opposite hand. Twist the ring slightly while applying pressure on the bead – it should pop right out.
- Gently slide the ring out of the hole.
- Clean the captive ring you just removed before putting it into the cup or dish you have ready.
- Remove the bead from your new captive ring, place that new bead into the cup or dish with your old jewelry, and slowly put the end of the new captive ring’s opening into the hole of your piercing.
- Gently rotate the jewelry through your piercing until the end of the ring comes through the opposite hole.
- Once it’s inserted through your piercing, hold the new captive ring’s bead and line it up between your fingers so that you can see the dimpled indents on both ends of the ball. Rest the bottom indent on one end of the captive ring’s opening and steadily hold the ring while carefully pushing the top indent to fill the opening – you should hear it snap into place.
- Ta-da! Look and feel fabulous 😉
So, the most important part of all that? Keep everything as clean as you can! If you follow those rules, then wearing your new BCR will be easy, fun, and fashionable without the stress and frustration of going at it alone.
Ready to look for a captive ring of your own? Check out our previous style guide post on everything captive rings have to offer!
Not sure about the size you need? Check out this posting on proper sizing of captive rings to ensure you get a perfect fit.
Watch and Learn
If you’re someone who prefers to see something done before they do it themselves, then this video is perfect for you! Inserting and removing the circular barbell is the easy part, but many proudly pierced individuals find putting that dang ball back in place the most frustrating part of all.
Here at BodyCandy.com, we carry a variety of useful tools that can help you get to your perfectly pierced style more smoothly and with minimal stress on the jewelry. You should avoid using household tools to open and close your captive ring because this method can scratch the metal ring leaving a rough surface that can damage your piercing (not to mention it’s not exactly sanitary!).
If you’ve been having trouble handling your captive ball or if your BCR is of a larger gauge size, one of these tools should provide you with exactly the assistance you need:
Ball Removal Tool
This can and will literally save your balls! Many don’t know that this type of tool exists, but it is an essential accessory for any pierced style. It’s small and portable, so you can change styles on the go without worrying about fiddling with tiny ball ends. The ball removal tool has a rubber end that grips the ball to give you a little friction to twist it off from your jewelry without the risk of dropping it. This is a great tool for those with butter fingers or hands too big to handle little pieces.
Ring Opening and Closure Pliers
For stubborn captive rings that need some adjustment, there are a variety of tools that can be implemented to make your life a little easier. Ring opening pliers create enough wiggle room to allow the ball to more easily be placed back in its spot on the ring.
How to Use Ring Opening Pliers:
1. Place nose of pliers into the center of the captive ring.
2. Squeeze the handles together until the captive ring is held fast by the pliers and rests within the appropriate grooves.
3. Squeeze the handles gently until the captive opens just slightly and the captive bead becomes loose. Be careful not to squeeze too much or else the jewelry may be damaged.
Start by using the tool in small increments and then remove the jewelry from the pliers to check the progress (measured by how easy or difficult the ball is to move) so that you don’t bend the ring too far, but just in case you do, we have a tool for that too. Ring closure tools look a lot like the pliers used to open up the jewelry but are used to adjust a ring to make it smaller, just in case you don’t know your own strength and made it too big trying to open it up.
Ball End Grabbers
Since we are well aware that holding onto those tiny balls can be quite damaging to our mental state, lower the risk of a dropped ball with tools specifically designed to keep a tight grip. These types of tools come in different shapes and sizes, so make sure you’re getting one designed for what you need. One option is a tool that has a claw-like grabbing mechanism to grasp ball ends that are rolling around in your jewelry box; another option is a tool that looks a lot like tweezers with rounded tips that are used to hold the ball end while you are maneuvering it into the grooves to fit back into the captive ring.
Next time you have a stylish captive ring in your sights, don’t pass it by. You’ll be able to buy and use this type of body jewelry with confidence knowing you won’t have to fight it to wear it.
Money Shots: 0:31 and 0:59, 1:37 and 1:56
Gabby decided to start a dermal anchor project, and chose to let us record her experience with professional piercer James at American Skin Art in Buffalo, NY! James starts by cleaning the area where Gabby’s piercings will go. He then marks the locations for each dermal and measures to make sure they’re lined up on either side. A hollow piercing needle is used to remove the small section of skin where the anchor will be placed. James then inserts the dermal anchor. During healing, the skin grows around the anchor, holding the piercing in place. James then repeats the process on the other side.
Since the piercings are so close together, Gabby must return for a second visit to complete the project. 6 weeks later, James pierces her second set, and her dermal anchor project is complete.
Healing time: 2-3 months
Initial Jewelry: Dermal anchor, with interchangeable tops that can be switched out after fully healed.
Come see Maggie get her lower back dermals done!
What is a Dermal?
A dermal is a piece of jewelry that sits beneath the skin and has a decorative top that sits on the surface. Also knows under the term surface piercing, dermals are done using a dermal punch. The dermal punch is a hollow needle with an angled end that is used to remove a section of the skin to make way for the dermal anchor. The dermal anchor itself has flat base or ‘foot’ with holes in it which allow the flesh to grow through as it heals. This helps keep the jewelry in place and prevents it easily being ripped out. The exposed end has threading and the tops can be interchanged.
There are very few styles that can stand the test of time. Fashion trends are meant to have a shelf-life, to develop, bloom, and then fade into memory. However, there are certain forms of decoration that transcend this definition and become something more than beauty enhancement. This is what it means to be iconic.
The bindi is one of those kinds of icons.
Bindis are a traditional sign of faith and devotion to the Hindu religion and accounts of it’s significance can be found in texts dating back thousands of years and have become a staple in Indian fashion.
The bindi symbolizes so much more than a religious devotion: it is a symbol of Indian identity and a culturally specific fashion accessory. Online debates about who should, and should not, wear a bindi are becoming more prevalent as the appeal of incorporating more “global” accessories into an everyday look become more common.
With the ever evolving history of body modification and piercing, the vertical bridge piercing has been described by piercing experts as an effective way to “customize the way you face the world” (The Piercing Bible). This kind of piercing should not be done casually; typical gauges for a bindi piercing are 16 or 14 gauge curved barbells which can extend the healing time of the piercing. Also, with the thickness of the piercing, minor but visible scarring can occur if the time comes for the piercing to be abandoned.
Wherever you are in the world, whatever your fashion taste, remember that only the best accessories can be considered iconic. Pierce or place a bindi on your forehead because it belongs to all of us.
What is a Skin Diver?
A skin diver is a small piece of jewelry that is implanted partially under the skin. The base which is the part that lies under the skin’s surface has a pointed end. To insert them the piercer must use a biopsy punch to create a hole for the jewelry to sit inside. The ends which are exposed are non-interchangeable, so whichever color or style of jewelry you pick would not be able to be changed once the jewelry is placed. The jewelry can be removed by the piercer should you decide you no longer want this piercing.
What is a Dermal Anchor?
Also referred to as a Microdermal, a dermal anchor has flat base or ‘foot’ with holes in it which allow the flesh to grow through as it heals. This helps keep the jewelry in place and prevents it easily being ripped out. The exposed end has threading and the tops can be interchanged with many colors and styles available. The method of placing this piercing involves the piercer using a dermal punch, which is a hollow needle with a slanted end. The piece of jewelry is then inserted into the pocket created by the dermal punch. This jewelry can also be removed by your piercer when you no longer want it.
Only you and your piercer can decide what’s best for you, but as a general rule Dermal Anchors or Microdermals are made of better quality metals and are less likely to be accidentally ripped out or reject. Still unsure? Check out AJ get her Dermal Anchors:
Location: The cheeks, starting from just underneath the eyes, extending downward towards the chin, and outwards to the jaw.
Names: The anti-eyebrow piercing (high cheek piercing, Cleopatra piercing, teardrop piercing, butterfly kiss), the dimple piercing (cheek piercing, cheek bites, dimpler), and the cheek dermal (facial dermal, cheekbone piercing, teardrop dermal, Cleopatra dermal).
Piercing: Most anti-eyebrow piercings are performed as a surface piercing, which usually necessitates either the use of two needles, or punch and taper technique (employing a dermal punch). Dimple piercings however, may be performed with a single needle, much like dahlia or upper lip modifications. Microdermals can make use of either a hollow piercing needle inserted at an angle to create a pocket of skin, or a dermal punch to cleanly remove the skin leaving a small hole.
Aftercare: As with most piercings whose base rests inside the mouth, lower cheek or dimple piercings will require both external and oral aftercare. This often involves the use of both soaks/washes and oral rinses to prevent irritation from food particles. For higher set anti-eyebrow piercings, standard surface piercing aftercare will generally suffice, and the same will be true for dermal cheek mods. Microdermals will always require vigilance as well, as they are easier to pull free from the skin when bumped or snagged.
Jewelry: Anti-eyebrow style piercings are normally worn with surface bars, but can also be seen with flexible barbells or occasionally curved barbells, depending on their exact location. High cheek dermals can be worn with standard dermal anchors, which feature a removable decorative top, or with single piece micros called “skin divers.” And for lower cheek or dimple piercings, a labret/monroe style stud (usually with a flat back) is often used.
Popularity: Although cheek piercings are of primarily contemporary origin, they continue to rise in popularity and prevalence amongst certain social sub-groups of the younger modified generations. It’s estimated that dermal and surface piercings in general still compose less than 3% of the overall piercings amongst these segments of the population.
Surface piercings are piercings that are made across a flat plane of skin, rather than through a fold or outcropping of tissue or cartilage. They’re composed of two separate punctures, connected by a channel below the skin’s surface. This means that two balls, spikes, or decorations will be visible above the skin rather than one. The methods that piercers use to create a surface piercing vary, and can include punch and taper technique (employing a dermal punch), or the use of two piercing needles to puncture and lift.
The jewelry used in a surface piercing is a surface barbell or “surface bar,” a staple shaped solid barbell with two interchangeable ends. To accurately measure surface jewelry, length and gauge (thickness) are required just like a regular barbell, but the rise or “depth” of the bar is also a factor. Rise is the distance from the base of the decorative tip, to the curve or angle of the staple.
Because a portion of the jewelry will rest beneath the skin, surface bars are most often made of hypoallergenic solid titanium or surgical grade stainless steel, and are generally tipped with small balls, spikes, or flat discs.
Many of the popular contemporary piercings are commonly worn as surface piercings including the nape piercing, clavicles, sternum, third eye, bracer (wrist piercing), anti-eyebrow piercing, and several others.
In the early days there were piercings of the upper ears, nose, eyebrows, and belly button, and very few outside challenges. Then as time went on and more modification artists started to expand and explore, new piercings like the daith, the madison, and the nasallang came about. But right in the here and now is where mod enthusiasts should feel the luckiest, especially since we live in the age of dermals and surface piercings.
Surface piercings are those piercings in which both the entry and exit points occur on the same plane of skin, with only the tips or decorative portions of the jewelry being visible. This type of piercing utilizes a staple shaped barbell called a surface bar, and the barbell portion itself remains below the skin, with both free ends resting above. This enables artists to pierce the human body almost anywhere.
There are several methods of creating a channel within the skin to house the surface barbell, including the use of forceps and a single needle (like a regular piercing), the use of two needles and no forceps, and the technique known as “punch and taper” which employs a taper or needle along with a dermal punch. The use of many of these approaches will depend on both the area of the piercing, and the preferences of the piercer.
Most surface piercings carry a slightly higher risk of migration or rejection comparative to standard piercings, but with proper aftercare and maintenance, they can be healed and worn comfortably for many years. The surface bar itself is not continually changed out or removed, but the tips can be changed repeatedly to augment the look of the piercing.
Some of the most popular surface piercing sites include the wrists, the nape of the neck, the eye/cheek area, the hips, the clavicles, the sternum, and the side of the head near the ear (in the tragus area).
The “valley piercing” is a surface piercing of the lower back that lies right above, or sometimes within, the cleft of the buttocks. This funny and interesting contemporary piercing has also been known by many other names, including “butt crack piercing,” “sacral piercing,” and “coccyx piercing.”
Like most surface piercings, the valley piercing can be performed with either a single hollow piercing needle, two hollow needles, or the punch and taper technique, depending upon the preference of the client and the piercer. Due to the area of the body in which it resides, this type of piercing can be difficult both to clean and to completely heal, and because of constant movement there’s a higher rate of rejection or migration than average.
Valley piercings are worn almost exclusively with surface bars, though flexible PTFE or tygon bars have been used from time to time. They can be pierced both vertically and horizontally, and sometimes will sit slightly higher up on the back. As an alternative to the traditional surface piercing, some choose to get dermal piercings in the area instead. Those who have tattoos across the lower back may also use valley piercings or valley dermals strategically to accent their body art.
Although valley piercings have been around since at least 2007, they remain rare to this day in both the US and UK. For a long time these piercings were called by interesting alternate names by both the persons who wore them and the artists who pierced them, causing them further anonymity. Many piercers throughout the western world have yet to even perform one, making them some of the coolest piercings you may have never heard of.