Melissa Moncada had been craving a change for a while, something more permanent than an updated hairstyle or Facebook identity. She drove up to a local tattoo parlor with a friend and decided to get something new. While she didn’t get a tattoo or a typical piercing, she did get something very new and very different: a microdermal piercing.
Microdermal piercings, also commonly referred to as microdermal implants or dermal anchorings, are semi-permanent piercings. They are considered semi-permanent because if the body jewelry is removed, the body will heal completely, leaving no hole.
The piercing involves a titanium anchor with a post and a jewelry end that screws on to the post. The flat anchor, which has multiple holes it its base, is inserted below the skin into a pocket made by either a dermal punch or a gauged needle. This allows for tissue to grow through the holes, securing the piercing as it heals.
The piercer cleans the area and marks the spot with ink. Once the position of the microdermal is confirmed with the customer, the piercer uses a dermal punch or a large needle to create a pocket or slit. Lastly, the anchor, set with the jewelry typically already screwed onto it, is inserted into the pocket using a curved motion until the piercing is parallel to the skin’s surface.
As with any piercing, it is important to keep microdermals clean to allow for proper healing. Due to their small size and level of simplicity for piercers, they can be done just about anywhere there is enough skin for a pocket. Like most piercings, they are convenient and quick.
“I was only in [the parlor] for about 15-20 minutes,” said Moncada, a 20-year-old Huntsville resident who got two microdermals inserted into her lower back.
Depending on the customer, it usually takes one to three months for a microdermal to entirely heal. Once healed, the gem portion can be changed out for a different look.
The biggest difference between microdermals and your average body piercings is that once healed they become part of your tissue. Since the anchor becomes embedded under the skin, it can only be removed by breaking the tissue around the anchor. To get rid of the piercing entirely, the customer should return to the piercer to get it removed.
“I want them to be permanent, I really like them,” said Moncada. “It’s like other piercings where the initial piercing hurts, but inserting the anchor hurt more. Once it was done though it wasn’t bad.”
Titanium is most commonly used instead of surgical steel to avoid the body’s possible rejection of the metal.
“If I had to I’d do it again. I always wanted them, but I kind of held back. It’s a new semester, a new [school] year, and I just wanted something new.”