Archive for surface piercing

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. 

Comments (0)

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
Comments (0)

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
Comments (1)

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”).

Comments (0)

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.

Comments (1)

Location: The nape of the neck (the back of the neck in the area between the hairline and the base of the neck.)

 piercing at the nape of the neck

Alternate Names: Nape surface piercing, neck piercing

Piercing: The nape piercing is a surface piercing which will generally be performed with a hollow piercing needle.  Punch and taper technique may also be used by more experienced piercers to create a perfectly shaped channel for the surface jewelry.  This piercing normally takes slightly longer than a run of the mill cartilage piercing to perform as placement must be exact, and a surgical pen may be used to mark the entry and exit points.

 surface piercing of the back of the neck

Aftercare: As with most surface piercings, a nape piercing will likely take at least twelve weeks to heal.  Sea salt soaks, hot compresses, and gentle cleanings with surgical grade soap or saline are often recommended.  Due to location, extra care must be taken when changing clothing and grooming the hair so as not to swat or yank the piercing jewelry which may cause irritation.

Jewelry: Most piercers will use surface bars for this type of piercing, which are shaped like a staple to alleviate pressure on the skin.  In many cases flexible barbells made out of tygon, bioplast, or PTFE have been successfully used as well.  In the case of a surface barbell, the best option provided is a bar with longer arms to accommodate the initial swelling followed by a change out for jewelry with shorter arms after healing.

 bioplast barbells

Prevalence: Amongst those under age 29, surface piercing is estimated to account for approximately two percent of overall piercings.  Nape piercing itself has become particularly popular amongst young women, including famous Italian actress Asia Argento.

Location: Any piercing performed along the outer edge of the orbital cavity may be referred to as an anti-eyebrow piercing.  This includes the upper cheekbone area, underneath the eyebrow, or more rarely in the area next to the outer corner of the eye itself.

Butterfly Kiss Piercing

Alternate Names: Upper cheek piercing, high cheek piercing, tear(s) piercing, teardrop(s) piercing, butterfly kiss (under the eye, above the cheekbone), crows feet (next to the outer corner of the eye)

alternate names for anti-eyebrow piercing

Piercing: This piercing is a surface piercing, and is generally performed with a hollow piercing needle and clamp.  A dermal punch may also be used along with the less prevalent “punch and taper” technique that some seasoned piercers have begun to practice. The punch and taper technique involves using the punch to create the actual openings through which the free ends of the jewelry will protrude and then separating the skin from the underlying tissue with a taper.  This allows for the completed piercing to be the exact shape of the surface bar that will be inserted, but is considerably more difficult to master than standard needle and clamp technique.

Aftercare: Like many surface piercings, the anti-eyebrow will normally take months to heal rather than weeks.  Due to the sensitivity of the skin around the eye socket, bruising is common, though generally not threatening.  Many piercers recommend sea salt soaks, along with gentle cleanings and/or compresses.

Piercing Aftercare Products

Jewelry: Surface bars are recommended for the anti-eyebrow surface piercing, though success has also been found with curved barbells and flexible bioplast bars.

Prevalence: The butterfly kiss style piercing has become increasingly popular with pin-up models, burlesque artists, and other retro styled female performers and artists.  The teardrop style piercing (vertical or at an angle on the cheek, rather than horizontal) is beginning to grow in popularity amongst young men. Studies show that over 45% of those age 18 to 29 in the United States have at least one piercing other than their earlobe, and up to 2% of those are estimated to be surface piercings.

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.

Third eye area of the face

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.

skin diver style dermal jewelry

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.

Comments (0)

If you’ve been mulling it over, now is definitely the time to start fresh by changing your look with that piercing that you’ve been pining over, and to drive this 2012 fashion decision home, we’re here to help with a brief overview of some popular piercings and the data that you’ll need to make an informed decision.  Let’s continue.


If you’ve been thinking about a bridge piercing: The bridge piercing is great for those who are looking for a fresher alternative to eyebrow or standard nose piercings.

Piercings of the Upper Nose Bridge

Tid Bit: This piercing will naturally draw attention to your eyes, so if you’re looking to show off beautiful baby blues, browns, or greens, this one’s just the ticket.

What you should know: The bridge is technically a surface piercing, although much of the time it’s done using a flexible bioplast barbell rather than a surface bar.  As a surface piercing, there’s slightly higher risk of rejection, but if properly cared for, initial healing should take about 12 weeks.  Using makeup around a new bridge piercing is not recommended as it may cause infection.

Pros: If you’re worried about pain, the bridge piercing is nice, because due to its placement, there’s minimal risk of swiping, jostling, catching, or otherwise bumping the jewelry during healing.

Hold off if: You prefer glasses to contacts.  For those who need vision correction and prefer a pair of glasses, the placement of this piercing creates a less than comfortable situation.  It’s best to trade in your specs for a set of softies for at least the first month.

Flexible Straight Bioplast Barbells

If you’re thinking about a tongue web piercing: Tongue web piercing, also called a Marley, is like a neat little secret that no one will know, and when you do show it off it’s definitely a conversation starter.

Piercings of the Tongue Frenulum

Tid Bit: The “tongue web”, or frenulum linguae, is the part of our oral anatomy that allows humans to speak.  For this reason, some spiritualists believe that piercing it will cause the wearer to think more about what they say and aid them in self expression.

What you should know: Tongue web piercings carry a higher risk of rejection than standard tongue piercings, but aftercare includes the same components (rinses with salt water or special mouthwash), and healing time is relatively quick at about four to six weeks.  Horseshoes, captive rings, and curved barbells can all be worn in a tongue web piercing.

Pros: The Marley is literally completely hidden, so if you like piercings but aren’t allowed to have them visible at work, it’s the perfect option.

Hold off if: You’re a smoker.  Smoking significantly raises the risk of infection for this type of piercing, so it’s recommended to use electronic cigarettes for the first few weeks after getting one because they deliver nicotine through harmless vapor instead.

Curved Barbell Body Jewelry

Stay tuned for more informational overviews of popular piercings that you might just take the plunge for in 2012.  Bye for now!

Comments (1)