Archive for surface piercing

One of the greatest innovations of the modern modified age is and has always been internally threaded body jewelry.


That’s why we’re going to rehash a few popular blog posts on the subject to  see if anything’s changed!

Read More→ is familiar with the recent debate about piercings as a tool in the management of chronic pain. After receiving several follow up questions to Ann’s March 8 blog post: “Can the Daith Piercing Cure Migraine Headaches?” (which you can check out by clicking here) we wanted to delve deeper into the discussion of piercing in relation to acupuncture. Yay, research!


“I’m an English major, guys. I love this nerd stuff”–Me

In this first segment of “On Pins and Needles,” I’m going to summarize my basic findings. In part two, available next week, we’ll discuss the hard facts available on this complicated subject.


Head to and his “Confessions of a Piercing Nerd” blog for the perspective of a humorous skeptic who happens to be a piercer too!

Available information on acupuncture and pain management through piercing suggest one clear fact: There aren’t many facts. There is, however, lots of discussion. Three main voices emerge in the argument for and against the combined practice:

  • individuals getting pierced: testimonials!
  • piercing professionals
  • acupuncturists studying both

Common discourse today revolves around the daith piercing (shown to the right–>) but further research reveals a more in-depth discussion.

The following bullets contain an initial summary of the established facts and strongly held opinions of individuals and professionals involved with this topic: 

  • Most accredited acupuncture associations are hesitant to take a stance on permanent piercings and acupuncture, claiming insufficient study or that fields like auriculotherapy (a relatively modern evolution specialized at the ear) are too far removed from traditional practice to comment on.
  • Testimonials by piercers as well as people who have gotten their daith and other acupuncture points pierced come in all shapes and sizes. Claims of no effect, partial or completely reduced pain for two weeks to one month, and emotional accounts of total relief from pain are all common.
  • Very few piercers are trained in acupuncture or work closely with acupuncturists. Reputable professional piercers speak on this issue with caution because of laws that restrict offering opinions that could be misunderstood as medical. If your piercer is claiming direct knowledge in this area, follow up. Ask questions! Don’t be fooled by opinions or inexperience.
  • Very few acupuncturists are trained in the art of piercing or work closely with piercers, though they tend to be versed in the effects of interruption of the body’s natural energy flow–Qi–and the effects of scar tissue on frequently used acupuncture points. While this knowledge isn’t specifically based on piercing experience, some of it still applies.

Check back next week to hear more about what I learned about permanent piercings and acupuncture treatments. Click here to reach Ann’s original blog post discussing the Daith and Migraines.

Click here for Part Two of “On Pins and Needles,” (available Friday, July 15th) and here for Part Three (available July 29th) to learn about a few of the related facts and studies that I discovered! Have some experience with our topic? Let us know by leaving your comment!



Maggie’s Lower Back Dermal Piercing

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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.

 The Process

Our friend James begins by cleaning the area and then marking and measuring for the placement of the dermals.  He then pushes the dermal punch through the skin, then slides the anchor into place and secures the top. He finishes by cleaning up the area and the end result is two lovely gems and one happy customer.


Caring for dermals requires keeping them dry and clean. Full healing takes about 2-3 months.

Beautiful Bindi

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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.

vertical bridge piercing

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.

You asked for it, and we’re answering with even more facial piercings for your viewing pleasure.  So without further ado, let’s get on with facial piercings, part two.

We last left you with this fun little pic labeling the more common piercings that we get on our faces:

 common facial piercing names

So now let’s cover the less common facial piercings, shall we?  We’ll start with the help of our friendly neighborhood piercing model.  For our purposes here, the teardrop piercing, third eye piercing, and cheek piercing are all shown and labeled with dermals (microdermal anchors), which are single point piercings.  All three of these piercing also have the potential to be done as either a surface piercing (third eye and teardrop), or a standard piercing though (a stud pierced through the cheek).

less common facial piercings

The horizontal eyebrow, vertical labret, and high nostril piercing are all exactly what they sound like.  The septril and nasallang however, are both something extra special and fun.  A septril is a piercing that requires a stretched standard septum piercing, which is then pierced through so that the jewelry emerges at the bottom of the nose, and a nasallang is an industrial style piercing in which the nose is pierced from one side all the way through to the other, creating piercings of both nostrils and the nasal septum.  The rhino piercing is also a little fun, though a bit more traditional, being a vertical piercing through the nose tip that (especially when worn with a spike) gives the general look of (you guessed it) a rhino’s nose.

 vertical nose tip piercing

Lastly, we have the jestrum, lowbret, and eyelid piercings.  As you may be able to tell from the picture, a jestrum is simply a vertical medusa, and a lowbret is a labret piercing done lower on the chin.  An eyelid piercing is just what it sounds like, but isn’t it amazing that some of us actually have the guts to pierce our eyelids!?  I think so.

And there you have it.  For those who may have missed our chart of the common double and quad lip piercings (otherwise known as “bites”) the first time around, here’s a quick refresher:

 double and quad lip piercing styles

Didn’t see what you were looking for?  Submit requests for profiles of your fave piercings below in the comments. 

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Location: The vampire bite piercing is traditionally found somewhere on the neck or near the clavicle, however, in recent years single surface piercings tipped in red gems have been found in a variety of areas (mostly over pulse points), and are generally accepted as also being vampire bite piercings.

piercing that looks like a vampire bite

Alternate Names: Vampire, vampire bite, vampire’s kiss, neck piercing, neck surface piercing, vampire victim piercing.

vampire bite piercings

Piercing: The vampire’s kiss piercing is done in much the same way as other surface piercings, and may be performed with a single needle, two needles, a needle and punch, or a punch and taper. Before the actual piercing takes place, the entrance and exit points will be marked to assure desired placement.

Aftercare: Surface piercings are cared for diligently, with some measures including sea salt soaks and gently cleansing. As with most other surface piercings, the vampire bite carries a slightly higher risk of migration or rejection, so extra care must be taken to avoid bumping, tugging, or catching the jewelry.

Jewelry: This type of piercing is normally worn with a surface bar, a staple or U-shaped barbell. Many choose to wear their jewelry with red ball tips, or those set with ruby colored gems to imitate the look of blood.

 blood red replacement ball body jewelry

Prevalence: Although surface piercing in general is one of the lowest prevalence piercings across the board, it continues to rise, and the vampire piercing is no exception. Like most piercings directly associated with modern fiction or folklore, this piercing is associated mostly with young women.  This may be because the piercing itself mimics a vampire bite and denotes being a vampire victim, a station generally acknowledged as belonging primarily to females.

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:

 microdermal implants and surface piercing


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.

 other names for microdermal implants


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.

 slang terms for 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.

Categories : Piercisms
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It comes as no surprise that many of the piercings which have grown in mass popularity recently are entirely contemporary in origin.  With the first piercing parlor in the United States not even opening it’s doors until the late 1970s, it’s natural that many of our advances in body mod have happened within the past twenty five years.  But did you know that many of the piercings we’ve grown to know and love are actually named after people instead of body parts?  That’s just one way that modernization has molded the piercing industry through media.  For example:

 piercism for nose bridge piercing

Many of us call it a “bridge piercing,” but it’s also known by the simple name “Erl.”  And as you may have guessed, Erl is more of a who than a what.  That who is character actor Erl Van Aken, first pierced at the bridge of the nose in 1989 by an artist from Gauntlet, the first body piercing parlor in the U.S.

 piercism for neck piercing

Then there’s the Madison.  Madison piercings, as you can tell, are named after a woman.  Not just any woman though: Madison Stone.  Ms. Stone was a film star in the late eighties and early nineties, and the first person ever publicly associated with piercing of the throat (just above the center of the clavicle).  Although the piercing that she leant her name to has evolved over the years with the advent of microdermal implants and surface bar jewelry, her name remains attached to any and all forms of it.

 piercism for inverted vertical labret

There’s also the enigmatic Ashley piercing.  The Ashley is an inverse vertical labret, meaning that it goes through the lip from the inside, so that the only visible portion is a bead or gem seen “floating” in the center of the bottom lip.  Though it’s difficult to determine exactly when the Ashley was incepted, regular vertical labrets began popping up around the mid 1990s, so the Ashley variation is certainly even younger.

There are also several piercings that have been named not after certain artists or celebrities, but by them, creating interesting monikers that have meaning to those who first coined them.  Some of these include the nasallang, the daith, and the septril.

Categories : Piercisms
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Location: Anywhere feasible along the nose bridge, though normally at the upper portion of the bridge of the nose, directly between the eyes or slightly above.

 Erl Piercing

Alternate Names: Nose bridge piercing, Erl piercing, Earl piercing, and when performed vertically as a surface piercing or single dermal piercing, “vertical bridge” or “third eye.”

Piercing: The piercing itself is done in a variety of ways including horizontally, vertically, in multiples, or as a single microdermal or skin diver style piercing.  When performed as a dermal, a device called a dermal punch may be used and then a dermal anchor or skin diver inserted.  For standard bridge piercings, a hollow piercing needle will be the implement, sometimes along with a needle receiving tube, cork, or cannula.  Surgical pen is often used to mark the entrance and exit points to ensure straightness and proper depth, and depending on preference the piercing may be performed while the recipient is either laying down or sitting up.

 standard vertical and third eye bridge piercings

Aftercare: There are many misconceptions regarding outrageously high rates of rejection and strange brain infections due to bridge piercing, and most of them are entirely false.  One risk agreed upon by most piercers is the possibility in many individuals of an Erl piercing healing slightly crooked (via migration or otherwise), which can be drastically reduced by choosing an experienced piercer.  For those who wear glasses, the bridge piercing is to be treated with extra care, as knocking by the glasses when being put on and off can prolong healing and germs left on the glasses may increase the likelihood of infection due to proximity.  Vigilant aftercare including cleanses and soaks will also reduce the risk of migration in a properly placed Erl.

Jewelry: A standard bridge piercing may be done with a curved barbell, standard or flexible straight barbell, or a surface bar, while vertical bridge piercings will almost exclusively use a surface bar only.  For dermal or “third eye” style bridge piercings, a titanium microdermal anchor with decorative ball or a single piece skin diver will normally be seen.  After fully healed, some who have shallower piercings may be able to use circular jewelry like captive rings and horseshoe barbells.

 standard straight barbell body jewelry

Prevalence: Bridge piercing has grown substantially in popularity over the past five years alone, becoming a staple of facial piercing in youth culture, particularly amongst scene and emo groups.  This type of piercing is entirely unisex, and will be called by the same names and pierced in the same places regardless of gender.  It’s also worth noting that like many contemporary piercings, the first recipient of a bridge piercing was famous: body mod proponent and character actor Erl Van Aken (hence the moniker “Erl piercing”).

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Location: Anywhere between the belly button and the hip bones, usually at the top of the pelvic region and situated in close proximity to the visible frontal portion of the hip bone itself.

 surface piercing of the hips

Alternate Names: Hip surface piercing, dermal hip piercing, anti-navel piercing

Piercing: Hip piercings are generally done in one of two ways: either as a surface piercing, or a dermal anchor piercing.  When performed as a microdermal piercing, they are most often completed with the use of a dermal punch, though occasionally a hollow piercing needle may be used to create the pocket instead.  If they’re done as a surface piercing, the multi-step process normally takes just a bit longer than a standard piercing, as shaping and placement of the channel are very important to ensure the best healing possible.

 microdermal jewelry parts

Aftercare: Because the hips move around a lot and are a high traffic area of the body, extra care should be taken during healing to minimize the risk of migration or rejection.  Initial healing will normally take approximately six to eight weeks, with full healing around the six to twelve month mark.  Aftercare is very similar to that of other surface piercings and navel piercings, with regular cleanings and seas salt soaks often recommended.

Jewelry: In surface piercing style hip piercings, a surface bar will generally be worn with tips that are easily interchangeable for a fast change in appearance.  Sometimes flexible barbells made of tygon, bioflex, or bioplast will be used as their mobility allows for minimal pressure on the surrounding skin during periods of movement.  For hip piercings performed as microdermal or transdermal type piercings, the appropriate dermal jewelry will be used including a permanent surgical grade anchor and changeable decorative tops.

 interchangeable microdermal tops

Prevalence: Although hip piercings are far more common amongst young females, particularly in the scene and emo culture many young men also have hip surface piercings.  These, like most surface piercings, are considered unisex, with approximately 75% of those under age 29 who have piercings in general being female.

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