Rising Stars of Modern Piercing: the Bridge Piercing

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.

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.

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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.

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Prevalence: Bridge piercing has grown substantially in popularity over the past five years alone, becoming a staple of facial piercing in youth culture, particularly among 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”).