The Low Down on Dermals

all about dermal piercings

So, like a lot of us, you may have been thinking recently about getting a dermal. With all that internet info out there though, things can get a little confusing when you’re doing research. To remedy the issue, we’re going to break it down into just the basics, to turn that “uh, huh?” feeling into an “ah-hah!” feeling. Here we go:

The Look

Dermals have an amazing and unique look that fits into a variety of aesthetic niches. As single point piercings, they can be as simple as a solitary gem resting on the cheek, or as extravagant as a large-scale, multi-element design, and everything in between. Some common locations for microdermals include the cheek/eye area, the wrists, the chest/clavicle, the hips, and the nape of the neck.

microdermal versatility

The Jewelry

There are two main types of dermal jewelry: single piece items, and two piece items. Single piece choices are called “skin divers,” and are most often simple items in a barbell-like shape. The side that’s designed to rest above the skin will sometimes contain a metal shape or colored gem, while the opposite unembellished side sits below.

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single piece dermal jewelry

More common two piece dermal jewelry will be composed of a separate top and a foot-shaped base, which may contain one or more small holes. Over time, the tissue will grow through these holes, anchoring the dermal pretty strongly into place. This type of dermal anchor set-up will often require surgical excision if removal is desired.

dermal anchors and tops

The Process

Dermal piercings can be created in a variety of ways, but the two most common methods you’ll run into are needle piercing, and dermal punching.

Needle pierced dermals are similar in process to a standard piercing, but instead of passing through a portion of the skin and out the other side, a hollow piercing needle is pushed into the skin at an angle, creating a single pocket-like point of entry. The dermal base is then inserted and usually twisted into place underneath the skin to secure it.

dermal needle piercings being performed

Punched dermals utilize a small device called a dermal punch that looks like a glorified pen, but really holds an extremely sharp cylindrical razor that actually “punches” out a whole in the skin. This leaves a nice, clean, circular opening for the dermal base to be inserted through. Some artists prefer this method, because it ensures that the hole penetrates deep enough to lessen the risk of migration or rejection, but the use of surgical instruments isn’t an option in a lot of locations.

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In the United States a person must be 18 years of age or older to receive a dermal piercing, and both modification artists and clients should exercise care where dermals are concerned, as they are considered in some areas to be a surgical modification, and fall under a stricter set of laws than standard piercings. As always, your friendly neighborhood piercer is the best resource for microdermal piercing information.