Archive for dermals
So you’ve probably heard a ton of different phrases thrown around about body piercing, but how do you know what people are actually talking about? Depending on the region, level of expertise, and a number of other factors, different people will call different piercings and procedures by different names. Here’s a few suggestions that might help to sort it out:
Most of us will call regular piercing, well, “piercing.” For dermals and surface piercings though, the terminology is a little more varied. Depending on where you live and who’s talking, you could hear any of these phrases:
Surface bar, staple, surface barbell, surface wire, U-bar: these are all references to the type of jewelry used in a surface piercing.
Punch, piercing punch, circle razor, dermal punch, hand punch, dermal razor: they’re all names for the device used to create a hole for dermal anchors to be inserted underneath the skin.
Dermal, dermal piercing, dermal anchor, microdermal, dermal implant, surface anchor: all phrases used to describe single point piercings.
Punch and taper: a surface piercing technique that used a dermal punch to make the entrance and exit holes for a surface piercing, along with a taper or dermal elevator to separate the skin in between from the subcutaneous tissue, creating a perfect staple shaped channel for the jewelry.
Double needle, two needle, over under: terms that refer to the use of two standard hollow piercing needles to create a surface piercing.
As with surface piercings, microdermal implants also have several methods still in use, including the use of a dermal punch, a single needle, or a needle and an elevator to create a dermal pocket for jewelry insertion.
When we say “dermal,” we’re making a reference to a class of piercings that appear to have a single entry point in the skin, rather than both an entry and an exit point like a traditional piercing. For organizational purposes, there are four main types of dermal piercing: the sub-dermal, the trans-dermal, the microdermal, and what’s called a skin diver.
Sub-dermal piercings can be considered less of a piercing, and more like an implant, and thus are often referred to as sub-dermal implants instead. This is when a piece of jewelry is implanted underneath the skin so as to leave the impression of its shape. Some common sub-dermal implants include those in the shape of horns, stars, hearts, and loops or “doughnut” shapes.
When a sub-dermal is completed, there will be no visible entry or exit points as with a piercing, just the shape given to the skin by the underlying jewelry. These are generally implanted surgically through a single incision which is then healed shut.
Trans-dermal piercings are also considered a type of implant, and are implanted through a two-prong process. These require both an incision and a punched or pierced hole. The hole will be made using a hollow needle or dermal punch, and then a few inches away an incision will be made too. The jewelry is then inserted under the skin via the incision, and moved so that its free end protrudes through the piercing. This allows for less noticeable scarring around the piercing itself, as the healed incision is not in the same area as the visible portion of the jewelry.
Trans-dermal and microdermal jewelry both consist of two parts: a base (which remains underneath the skin), and a topper (the part that can be seen above the skin.) The big difference is that microdermal bases, also called “anchors,” are implanted solely through a single hole pierced or punched in the skin, and don’t require a separate incision of any kind.
For this reason, microdermal bases will often be smaller than those used to anchor a trans-dermal implant, and will heal a little quicker and leave no significant scarring. The single entry point of a microdermal is usually made using a device called a dermal punch that utilizes a very sharp circular razor to pierce a hole through the skin, but it has also been made with relative success using standard hollow piercing needles.
Finally, the skin diver is much like a microdermal, except that instead having a separate base and top to the jewelry, the skin diver item is a single piece in the shape of a hand weight. One large end sits underneath the skin, and the other sits atop. For this reason skin divers are far easier to pull or yank out of their piercing than items with a wider base and separate top, but this ease of removal is the very reason many choose them.
Because the jewelry is a single piece however, and is meant to remain until the piercing itself is no longer desired, the ability to change out for a different color or shape doesn’t exist. With two piece jewelry like that used for trans-dermal or microdermal piercings, changing style is as easy as twisting off the topper, and twisting on a new one.
Location: On any one of the fingers, most notably the ring finger. Usually on the back of the hand near the base of the finger, on the largest phalanx (where a ring would normally sit).
Alternate Names: Finger surface piercing, ring piercing.
Piercing: The finger piercing is normally performed as a surface piercing, but can also be done as a single point dermal piercing. Because the finger is lacking in excess flesh, some consider it slightly more painful than a standard surface piercing, and it generally takes just a tad longer to perform due to the necessity of proper placement and depth. When using a microdermal anchor, a dermal punch may be used rather than a needle.
Aftercare: Because the hands see so much movement and traffic, a finger piercing will take a little longer than average to heal, with initial healing at closer to twelve weeks and substantial total healing at around six months to a year. During the first few weeks it’s recommended to avoid hand lotion and make use of sea salt soaks as with other surface piercings. Due to the constant opportunity to be knocked or yanked, rejection and migration rates are slightly higher than with other piercings, but healing without incident is entirely possible.
Jewelry: Surface bars are generally used, but due to the curvature of the finger, flexible bioplast barbells and even small curved barbells have been successfully worn. For those who pierce the underside of the finger, a large diameter horseshoe may be worn to give the illusion of a ring. When performed as a dermal piercing, microdermal anchors and interchangeable tops are most successful. Skin divers may pull out too easily, and transdermal placement is more difficult to accomplish.
Prevalence: Surface piercing is estimated to account for approximately two percent of piercings in those ages 16 to 29 living in the United States. This number plummets below one percent in persons above that age range. The finger piercing has grown substantially in popularity amongst young women in particular, as it often gives the appearance of a piece of jewelry generally worn almost exclusively by females: the cocktail ring.
Kelsey from BodyCandy.com interviews the vivacious and fashionable Bridget McNally about her body modification journey that began when she was only 13. Bridget talks about her extensive array of piercings: including having ears currently stretched to ¾, a dermal implant on her wrist, pierced nostrils, conch, septum, belly ring, and various facial and ear piercings. She talks about her unnecessary piercing anxiety and how she actually has to be blindfolded by her piercer before getting poked.
BC- What piercings do you currently have?
Bridget- I have a dermal on my wrist, my ears are stretched to ¾ , and I have my nose pierced on either side.
BC- What was your first piercing?
Bridget- My first piercing (besides my regular ear lobes) was my conch when I was 15.
BC- What was your most recent piercing?
Bridget- I had my nose done last March, so I have had them for about a year now.
BC- Can you tell us about the ear stretching process? How long it took you to get there?
Bridget- It has been a very long journey, I started stretching my ears when I was 13. Its been about 9 years now.
BC-Slow and steady
Bridget-They have been really big, they were almost 2 inches, 1 ¾ at biggest and have been really small at ¾
BC- So do you find it easy to go bigger and smaller?
Bridget- Everybody is different. My ears shrink up a lot when I take out my plugs (but they will never shrink back to “normal sized lobes”).
BC- So what about your dermal? Did it hurt? How was that experience?
Bridget- It was actually my least painful piercing. I thought it was going to be terrible. But it was not hard at all.
BC- How did your piercer do the dermal implant?
Bridget- Every piercing shop is different, some places punch out your skin, my piercer took a scalpel and made a tiny incision and then took the dermal jewelry and shoved it in, it sounds painful but it was not bad at all.
BC- Why did you get both sides of your nose pierced?
Bridget- I like things to be symmetrical.
BC- Do you have any advice for people who want to get nose piercings, dermals, or stretch their lobes?
Bridget- My advice is that you can’t over anticipate. I have made myself cry before. You have to remember that it is not going to be that bad.
BC- Which piercing hurt the most?
Bridget - My septum.
BC- So you have had other piercings that you do not currently have in now. What other piercings have you had?
Bridget -Basically everything. One of my best friends from back home went through a phase where thought she was a piercer and used us as guinea pigs and would pierce us(my friends and I) all the time. I have had everything from things in my stomach and my belly button to like everything on my face imaginable and my ears.
BC- It is cool that you just do it for the experience and then decide to take them out shortly after. Like a trial period.
Bridget- (She laughs) Yea, I usually take them out after about one month.
BC- Do you have any other interesting piercing stories?
Bridget- The professional piercer who does my work now, back home in Syracuse NY, just puts a blindfold over my face while I am being pierced so I don’t get scared!
BC- Like you mentioned earlier, the anticipation is worse than the actual piercing.
Bridget- Pretty much
BC- Well you keep that blindfold on.
By now most of us have heard of a bridge piercing, the horizontal surface piercing performed at the upper part of the nose bridge right between the eyebrows. A vertical bridge piercing occurs in the same area, but because of the nose’s shaping, is generally slightly farther up, with the top ball resting on the actual forehead. This type of bridge piercing is sometimes referred to as a “third eye piercing,” but the more commonly referenced third eye piercing is a single point piercing (called a dermal) that rests in that same area.
The concept of a third eye is connected to many forms of Eastern mysticism, with the placement of a third eye marking or piercing being associated with one of the primary chakras, or centers of energy in the body. This type of marking is symbolic of enlightenment, deep rooted spiritual knowledge, and sometimes even clairvoyance. In many Eastern religions, the enlightened beings, meditative leaders, or deities are depicted with third eye markings. And those who participate in religious observance will often wear markings in the same place such as bindis or tilak (red dots or marks). In popular Western culture as well, the “third eye” denotes psychic abilities and spiritual peace.
Because it is a dermal piercing, most often performed as a microdermal or skin diver style piercing, the third eye piercing is visible at a single point on the skin and mimics the look of a jeweled bindi. This type of piercing is most often performed with a dermal punch, although a large gauge piercing needle may sometimes be employed instead to create a pocket in the skin. When pierced as a microdermal, a base will be inserted underneath the skin with decoration then screwed onto the base to become the visible portion of the jewelry. With this type of dermal, the ball or charm that shows can be interchanged. In skin diver style third eye piercings, the jewelry is a single piece that cannot be changed out without being completely removed.
If you’re thinking of getting a third eye piercing, it’s a good idea to find a reputable piercer in your area that has performed dermal piercings before and supports a clean and healthy piercing environment. And when in doubt, you might want to meditate on it.
Any piercing that’s referred to as a “dermal” is basically a non-traditional piercing. What does this mean? Well, the easy difference is that a traditional piercing has both an entry point and an exit point, and a dermal piercing has only a single point (which as I’ll explain in a minute, is often thought of as just an exit point or just an entry point.) Dermal jewelry, like most other piercing jewelry, consists of at least two pieces or main components, which are the dermal anchor (the base), and the dermal top (the piece that will be seen once the jewelry is in.) There are three basic types of dermal piercings: microdermal, transdermal, and subdermal. As you might imagine from the names of these piercings, the three styles are done in different ways in relation to the skin.
A microdermal is a piercing done with a single whole, and as such is often considered to have only an exit point, because the decoration that rests above the skin is the only visible side of the piercing. Microdermals can be done with a hollow piercing needle, but are most often performed with a dermal punch. This device is exactly what it sounds like, essentially a whole punch for the skin. It slices out a circular hole in the skin’s surface through which the dermal anchor will be inserted. The anchor itself once in place will never been seen again, as it will remain underneath the skin, and only the top which is screwed onto the base will be visible resting above the skin’s surface.
Transdermal piercing, as its name infers, involves movement across the skin. This style of dermal is done with a punched whole and an incision. The hole is punched where the wearer wants the jewelry to be, and an inch or two off to the side a surgical incision is made. By this method, the dermal anchor will be inserted underneath the skin through the incision and then moved to the placement of the hole so as to cause as little irritation or stretching as possible to the whole making healing easier and rejection less likely. Transdermals are again often thought of as having only an exit point, because the technical entry point (the incision) is afterwards healed up and is no longer part of the piercing.
The last dermal type, subdermal piercing, has only an entry point. In subdermal body art, a piece of medical grade material jewelry in a particular shape is inserted under the skin through an incision and has no visible or emerging area. The shape of the jewelry in this case becomes the modification and will present itself in healing the overlying skin into the shape of the object.
Microdermal and transdermal piercing are generally the more popular and widespread forms of dermal piercing, although subdermals have begun to rise in popularity since the early 2000s and may reach a similar level of prevalence in the near future. Modifications of microdermal piercing have already arisen in the form of the skin diver, a tiny barbell shaped piece of jewelry that can be inserted into the skin in lieu of the traditional two piece microdermal. Only time will tell what’s up next for “dermal” modification.
I’m going to start off by making it clear exactly what I’m talking about today. When I say dermal, I’m referring to a piercing that utilizes some sort of anchor to be embedded under your skin and is worn in a singular location. There are a few different ways of doing this: Punch Dermals, Micro Dermals and Trans-Dermals. Punch Dermals , also called “Skin Divers”, use jewelry that is designed similarly to the way that plugs are flared so that it’s “punched” in, and once inside is held in by a lip. Micro Dermals are designed with a separate anchor piece that is placed under the top layer of skin through a small incision or dermal punch-out; once the anchor is placed it has internal threading and allows the wearer to interchange different heads. Finally, Trans-Dermals are done with a more traditional surgical method, with a hole and an incision being made in the skin, so that the larger anchor runs under the skin; the ball on the end resting above the skin.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way we can get onto the good stuff. One of the best things about dermals is that they give a solution to the problem of “how do I fit more metal on me”. If there’s skin, there can be a dermal. Popular styles and locations you’ll see involve anchoring them in cheeks, by eyes, and commonly on people’s necks but let’s be honest here, you want something a bit more…..intense. Well there’s a few ways to really let a dermal bring out the demon in you or add an accent that doesn’t bring to mind the thought “ooo your face is so sparkly and pretty!”
One of my personal favorites is mid knuckle dermals done for a brass knuckle. This involves planting an anchor or a punch dermal in between each of the knuckles, usually capped with a stainless steel spike so that when closed into a fist they give the look of the fist having spikes along the knuckles, like a pair of knuckledusters. Going to a very different area of the body, there are also common styles found on the back of the neck. Here you’ll commonly see surface piercings or micro-dermal piercings, usually around the base of the neck but it also can be a great place for a skin diver, or better yet a series of them!
By placing anchors in between vertebrae or on either side matching each other, the string of dermals can give the look of a spiked spine. This pattern can be done essentially anywhere on the body with the versatility of dermal anchors, allowing for the look of being truly “covered” in spikes or metal.
One of the things that I can’t stress enough with dermals is how unique and really up to you the piercing and style is! The trend as a whole is still coming into a common light and really has just started to explode over the last few years, so it’s your call and your game to decide what’s going to work for you. Whether it’s a single anchor at the base of your neck, a pair of skin divers buried as demon horns in your forehead or a line of trans-dermals down your wrist (called a bracer btw) it’s up to you what’s going to suite you. Just be sure that you’re safe, as always; especially with dermals and rejection you have to make sure you go to a well versed, reputable piercer and take extremely good care of your new modification.
There are a lot of fun, new, and interesting piercings popping up all over the world these days, and some of them really caught our eye. So here’s a list of some of the coolest, sweetest, most controversial new body piercing trends that left us in awe or just wishing we had the guts.
1. Bridge Piercing
Just when everyone thought that nose piercing had reached the peak of its modification credit, piercings (sometimes multiple ones on the same nose) started popping up on the upper bridge of noses. This trend is extremely fun. It’s cute, edgy, and full of possibilities; everything you could want from a new type of piercing.
2. Third Eye Piercing
Called the third eye because of its placement, this piercing can be done with a surface bar (which would also be called a vertical bridge piercing), or a dermal anchor. While piercing the skin right over your third eye chakra might not realign your chi, it’s definitely a bold modification statement, especially when accompanied by tattooing or wild colored hairstyles.
3. Anti Eyebrow
We’re not sure how it got its name, but the anti eyebrow piercing is an interesting surface piercing that is running away with itself. Usually pierced on the upper cheek where the cheekbone meets the outer corner of the eye, this piercing is a sweet alternative nod to Japanese style facial piercing; piercings in unique and often untouched places that accent the largeness of the eyes or petiteness of the mouth.
4. Collar Bone Piercing
Admittedly a piercing of the collar bone area sounds a little hard core and maybe a tad painful, but as surface piercings go, they’re said to heal surprisingly well and offer a very interesting accent to any look that involves a bare clavicle.
5. Vampire’s Kiss
The Vampire’s Kiss piercing is becoming a new favorite amongst romantic gothic types and it’s easy to see why. This surface piercing, sometimes tipped with red gemstones to emulate blood droplets, is located near the base of the neck and unmistakably references a vampire bite (hence the interesting name). With movies and books like the Vampire Series from Anne Rice, the Underworld Trilogy, and most recently the Twilight Saga popularizing the dark beauty of vampires and the forbidden nature of their relationships with humans, the image of a blatant ‘bite” begins to have a whole different appeal.
6. Snake Eyes
This is a neat, if slightly impractical modification to the standard tongue piercing: a barbell that goes through the tongue horizontally instead of vertically. The resemblance to actual snake eyes is loose, but the piercing certainly needed a name that lives up to its rock and roll style edge, so who are we to argue? The only thing that makes this a little less appetizing; it’s harder to speak and eat with a horizontal barbell at the tip of your tongue.
7. Corset Piercings
A fairly recent exploding trend, and still in its development, corset piercings are fast becoming the most controversial piercing around. They started as a set of two rows of surface piercings in the back that would be wound through with ribbon to mimic corset lacing, but now you can find them on arms and legs, hands and feet, sides, bellies, necks, chests, and even fingers and cheeks. Extreme? Definitely. ….but if you’re like me you can’t help but look at it and want one of your own. Maybe in a few years.
In the past couple years, a new rage has developed in the arena of body modification and piercing: the dermal implant. Before this handy fresh mod existed, the only way to get the look of gems or spikes on areas of the skin not easily pierced was to glue them into place with a non-toxic adhesive. Currently, however, on the center stage of body art, the temporary fix of glue and craft store rhinestones has gone the way of the dodo, and our friend the dermal implant has effortlessly stolen the show.
There are three major types of dermal implants.
1. Subdermal Implants
Subdermal implantation is when an object is surgically implanted beneath the layers of the skin (or dermis), and no holes, marking, or exit points are left behind. Essentially, the object remains beneath the skin so that it's shape or design can be seen, but no part protrudes from the skin in any area. Because they are meant to remain underneath, these types of implants have no removable or interchangeable parts.
2. Transdermal Implants
Transdermals have a portion the lays underneath the skin, and also a fraction that exits the skin through a pierced hole. The anchor piece (the part below the skin) is generally implanted through a small surgical slit made close to the desired site on the body, and then a hole is punched through so that the piece that will come through the skin can easily protrude. Next a decorative topper is screwed onto the part of the anchor that passes through the skin. Toppers can be changed for these pieces, but the anchor that remains inside the body under the dermis cannot, and requires surgery for removal.
3. Microdermal Implants
Microdermals are the most common of the dermal implants, and involve a less invasive procedure and fewer risks. When completed, this type of implant gives a similar look to a transdermal, with small gems or decorations that are interchangeable resting above the skin's surface and a small anchor embedded below. These commonly heal much like a standard piercing and can be placed at almost any location desired.
Today we'll concentrate on the most prevalent of the three types mentioned here: Microdermal Implants.
As mentioned above, microdermal implants involve two pieces: the anchor (which is implanted below the skin), and the top (the piece you can see that rests atop the skin.) Dermal anchors have holes in them and an oblong shape, and when the modification has completely healed, the skin will grow around the holes and the topper can be changed out for different colors and styles. This type of dermal implant usually heals similar to a regular surface piercing, accept that extended redness and bleeding are very common in the days directly following the procedure. The use of a dermal punch for opening the pocket in which the anchor will be placed is the most common method of insertion, but a large gauge hollow piercing needle can also be used.
The jewelry worn on a dermal anchor varies greatly based on preference, but among the more conventional choices are the ball, spike, dome or disc, gem, bolt, and the star.
The even quicker healing and less painful alternative to the microdermal piercing is called a "skin diver." These have a shape very similar to a tiny dumbell, with a thin center and larger disc-like ends. They are easy to remove with minimal fuss, and can be placed much closer together than standard dermal implants. The biggest difference aside from shape is that the skin diver is a single piece, so the decorative end does not unscrew.
Want to be kept up to date on the latest and greatest forms of body modification? Stay tuned to the BodyCandy Blog for more Body Art and Extreme Modification.