Dermal Piercing: Pictures, Procedure, After-Care, and Risks

What is Dermal Piercing?

Dermal piercings, also known as microdermal piercings or single-point piercings, are piercings installed on flat surfaces of the body.

Dermal piercings are different from ordinary body piercings in that the latter have entry and exit points for the jewelry. In dermal piercing, only one end of the ornament emerges from the surface of the skin; the other end is embedded in the dermal layer of the skin. This gives the appearance of having small beads on the surface of the skin.

This type of piercing is becoming popular nowadays because it can be placed on almost any flat surface in the body, allowing decoration of areas that are difficult to pierce with regular piercings.

In addition, patterns can be made with multiple dermal piercings. A dermal piercing can also attach an ornament to the finger as a “dermal ring.”

Examples of Dermal Piercing

On the fingers
On the fingers
Around the eye
Around the eye

How Dermal Piercing Works

In dermal piercing, the anchor that holds the jewelry is inserted under the top layer of the skin, into the dermis. This can be done with a needle or with a punch.

Inserting a dermal piercing
Inserting a dermal piercing

Dermal Piercing with Needles

Installing a dermal piercing using a needle is basically similar to other conventional piercing procedures. However, the needle is used to make an L-shaped pouch in the skin, instead of just a hole. The area is sterilized before the piercing, using a surgical scrub. The pouch is then made on the surface of the skin.

This pouch accommodates the base plate and the anchors of the dermal piercing, which are placed carefully using a forceps. The jewelry is then screwed into the plate.

Dermal piercing is more difficult than conventional piercing, because expertise is needed in making the pouch on the skin. Only a professional piercer should do the procedure.

In addition, the needles used must be specially made for piercing or medical procedures. Choosing the appropriate needle size depends on the location of the piercing and the anatomy of the client's skin.

Dermal Piercing With a Dermal Punch

When dermal piercing is done with a punch, the pouch is made in a different way. When using a needle, the pouch is made by separating the skin, but when using a dermal punch, the pouch is made by removing a bit of tissue. The base plate, the anchors and the jewellery are then placed.

Piercing is more commonly done using the dermal punch because the punch is less painful and safer than a needle. The punch has a protective mechanism that prevents the piercing from going too deep into the skin.

However, the use of dermal punches by non-medical personnel is not legal in some places.

More Examples of Dermal Piercing

On the lower back
On the lower back
On back of neck
On back of neck
On the ear
On the ear
On wrists
On wrists

Dermal Piercing Aftercare

  • After the piercing procedure is finished, the piercing area is covered with a dressing or band-aid, for up to a few days.
  • The piercing can heal within one to three months. During this time, it is important to protect the piercing from being pulled, moved around, or accidentally removed. The tissues around the piercing can be easily irritated. The piercing may get caught in clothes or towels, so care must be taken when drying the body. Clothes that can easily catch the piercing, for example fabrics with small holes, should be avoided.
  • The piercing can be cleansed using a salt solution, which can be prepared at home by dissolving ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized salt in one cup of warm water. It can be applied or sprayed on the piercing two to three times a day. Dry the piercing using a tissue or a paper towel. A new tissue or paper towel must be used every time the piercing is cleansed, because used towels and tissues may accumulate dirt and bacteria, which in turn, may cause infection in the piercing.
  • A person wanting to remove a dermal piercing should get help from a professional piercer; removing it on one's own is not recommended. The area of the piercing is gently massaged to dislodge the piercing from its location. If the piercing is an old one, it may be more difficult to remove, because tissues might have grown on the plate area.

316L Internally Threaded Surgical Steel Gem Set Flat Bottom Dome for Anchors 14g 4mm dermal top HO1552
316L Internally Threaded Surgical Steel Gem Set Flat Bottom Dome for Anchors 14g 4mm dermal top HO1552

After a piercing is fully healed, the beadlike top can be unscrewed from its anchor and replaced with a different ornament for variety.


Dermal Piercing Risks

The primary risk of dermal piercing is tissue damage, especially when the piercing is done by a person other than a professional piercer. The dermal layer contains nerves and blood vessels, which may be damaged when the piercing is not installed properly. If the piercing is installed too deeply in the skin, it may pull the skin layers together, which is called embedding. If the piercing is too shallow, it can migrate. During the several months it may take for the piercing to heal, it is important to avoid twisting or pulling the implant, or snagging it on clothing or towels.

Another risk is the development of bacterial infection. Infection can happen when equipment used for piercing is not sterilized, or when the piercing is not cleaned regularly. An infection of the deeper layers of the skin and fat, called cellulitis, may be caused by airborne bacteria infecting the piercing location while the procedure is done. An infection is manifested by inflammation of the surrounding area: redness, rash, pus, and/or pain.

Another risk is that the piercing may be rejected by the body, causing an immune response in the area of the piercing. It is recommended that the piercings be made with titanium rather than stainless steel. Titanium is often used in surgeries and medical procedures, because its potential for rejection by the body is low.

NOTE: Please consult a dermatologist if you see any infection, rash, or any other side effect after a dermal piercing.


Anderson, Ashley, "Types of Body Piercings: Dermal and Microdermal Anchors."

Coffee, Maude, "Types of Piercing Needles."

Dickerson, Jamie. "Single Point Piercing."

Haven Body Arts, "Single Point Tips."

Hudson, Karen L., "Piercing Guide - Surface Implants - Anchors, Dermals, and Micro-Dermals."

Kumari, Kalpana, "Microdermal Piercing."

NPNG ("No Pain No Gain"), "Dermal Anchors."

Prime Health Channel, "Dermal Piercing – Pictures, Procedure, Infection, Healing and Aftercare." "What Are Dermal Anchors?"

Comments 12 comments

Eva 23 months ago

I got a dermal piercing on my face over a year ago. It used to lay right on the skin, but now it is slowing coming up. I thought that when your body rejects the piercing, it would happen immediately. Didn't realize that it could happen so slowly. If that's what's happening with me, I might as well get it taken out. It's very disappointing! :( But I guess you have to consider that your body might reject the dermal piercing if you decide to get one. Is it worth it? I don't know... I love my piercing; however, it's coming out.

Leanne 23 months ago

Iv had my dermal for well over a year iv got it on my wrist and iv had afew infections, this one has to be the most painful infection iv had it’s hot to the touch swollen and a red ring around it that’s getting bigger :-(

Keisha Hunter profile image

Keisha Hunter 23 months ago from Paradise and then some

Ouch! I love piercings, but some of these just seem like a bit much! I'd love to have the lower back ones, but i'm much too care-free to remember to be careful when dressing, sitting, etc. Kudos to you guys...

Sheyanne 2 years ago

I have dermals in my forward helix. I just depends on where you go to get it done. I have 2 dermals and the 3rd (top one) is a regular piercing that comes out the back.

I honestly feel like getting dermals in your ear is the worst place you can get them. It's been trying to heal for a couple of months now and no luck.

But to the other people, yes. Those are dermals

jennelle 2 years ago

I have four dermals on my hips and two are sinking in...Īm scared..n doesn't know what to do ..Īm even scared of getting them removed what should i do?

Amanda 2 years ago

Triple anti helix DERMALS if the piercing doesn't have an exit point than it's a dermal piercing..

Ezza 2 years ago

The first pics are actually triple ANTI helix piercings, not helix and not dermals.

Breanna 2 years ago

I have 6 dermals 2 on my back 2 on my collar 1 on my side and 1 in my hip. The one on my hip is starting to sink in and it’s tender to the touch. I’ve had this specific dermal for about 3 months now. I can’t tell if it’s red cuz it’s on a black and gray tattoo. None of the other 5 dermals are doing this. I just recently started tanning in a tanning bed again, I use tanning lotion, and I also lay on my stomach while I tan. Could this be the reason my the dermal on my hip is sinking in because of the lotion and then laying on my stomach putting pressure on my hips/dermal?

james 2 years ago

Sara, I was thinking the same thing. Clearly those are piercings, not dermals!!!

Sara 2 years ago

Those are a triple helix, not dermals. Not even gonna read it now because they're obviously stupid

Amy 2 years ago

I have a dermal under my collar bone didn't hurt half as much as I thought it might of. Looks really good and am just cleaning it well as I only had it done yesterday. It's not hurting only when I touch to clean.

mee 2 years ago

It is scary to get them, because the way they get pushed in, i got one on my belly and it hurt really bad. But its never gotten infected and looks really cute. Only hurt for about an hour.

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