Microdermals are awesome! Here at Icon we are big fans of microdermal and surface piercings, which can give clients choices on piercing placements they never had before. They work by inserting a small ‘foot’ or anchor that heals into a pocket under the skin, with a small post that protrudes for your jewelry to rest on. They open us up to piercing chests and hips and backs and foreheads and many places on the body we couldn’t before. They are generally good healers, although they do eventually need to be removed and reset, the scars they leave are usually minimal. That said, microdermals are not magical. We can’t just put them anywhere on the body. Well, we could, but most of them would come back in a few weeks looking pretty unhappy, or gone completely. Why is this? Because of how they sit under the skin, microdermals do best in fatty areas, which are flat, and have low movement. This limits us greatly as to where on the body meets all criteria for a safe, and realistic microdermal piercing.
This popular image of a ‘finger piercing’ is photoshop, and not real or possible
However, thanks to the internet there are many photos (and photoshops) of microdermals in fingers, toes, on legs, all sorts of areas that are not actually practical to wear them. And, sure, we could take your money and put a microdermal in your finger, but you wouldn’t be too happy with us in a few months, and we wouldn’t want to do that to you either! So we’ve written this blog to discuss acceptable and unacceptable placement of microdermals.
Finger Microdermals We get calls and questions about these not stop. There are a slew of photos online of women with a cute, glittering gem adorning a single finger and we get it- they look super cute! But they are highly impractical and unsafe. Lets review those criteria for a good microdermal placement again. First, a Fatty Area- the fingers have almost no fat under the skin. Microdermals sit in the fatty layer of tissue, so it’s essential that enough be present to support them. Second, a flat area. Well, the tops of the fingers may seem flat, but between the wrinkling and shifting of skin, and the bones of the fingers below, they are far from it. And third, low movement. I struggle to think of a body part with MORE movement then the fingers! The finger meets zero of the criteria for successful microdermal placement. Beyond that, the very nature of a piercing which is an extended open wound on a surface like your hand is very dangerous. Ear and body piercings heal well because they are often protected from exposure to most bacteria we come in contact with on the daily, and are also not as likely to be bumped or snagged. On your finger every time you reach into a pocket or purse, slide your hand through a sweatshirt, cut raw meat for dinner, wash dirty dishes, clean up after the dog or cat, shake someones hand, or do any other normal, daily tasks you are at a serious risk! For these reasons, we choose not to perform these here and we never suggest a client getting these done- the risk of infection is serious, as is the risk of a bad scar on your hands.
Take a look at this photo of a severely infected finger microdermal- this is worst case, but it is still a real risk.
Toe Microdermals We do get requests for these, although less often then fingers. These are bad for all the same reasons as the fingers and hands, with the added complication of always being near contact with the dirt and bacteria of the world. Plus- say goodbye to ever wearing socks, stockings, or close toed shoes. No thanks!
Tongue Microdermals These are not only a bad idea but quite dangerous! The tongue is the total opposite of what we look for with a microdermal- it’s not fatty, high movement, and far from flat! Beyond that, because they heal as a pocket there is a real risk of food becoming trapped and causing irritation or infection. The scarring these would leave could potentially impact speech or taste if severe enough. Surface piercings, be it a microdermal, curved barbell, surface bar, or anything of the like should never be done on a tongue. A good rule of thumb is that if you can pierce through something you should, and if you can’t, that’s where a microdermal comes in handy in the right situation.
Cheek Microdermals Much like the tongue, we do not suggest these either. The amount of irritation from talking, eating, and general life is great, and that can lead to bad scarring over time. We have also had great success with standard cheek piercings with barbells, enough that we don’t find it necessary to experiment with anchors in this placement.
Arm and Leg Microdermals We often have clients who want piercings on their arms and legs, often through or in a tattoo they have to add to the design. Unfortunately, while these areas have enough fat, the level of
movement and the curved and shifting nature of the surface make these a poor bet. While we have heard of some lasting as long as a few years, those are all rare cases, and most in the arms don’t make it longer then a month or so, and can leave very bad scars from the level of movement. This was also a popular placement for piercers to try to do large projects of microdermals, which often ended up in very very bad scarring and upset, hurt clients. These large projects often include an unhealthy amount of piercings in one session (we limit people at 3-4). Also, the cost to do these piercings with safe jewelry would be many, many thousands of dollars, for something that would ultimately fail.
Microdermals through a mole/birthmark We can not safely pierce you through a mole, ever. Regardless of what type of piercing it is, it is unsafe. If you dislike the look of the mole, we suggest seeing a dermatologist about removal. A birthmark, as long as it covers a safe area for stable microdermals and won’t effect the healing is no issue. Actually, we think that would be really cool!
So where can I get microdermals? The forehead, around the eyes, next to the ear, nape of the neck, chest, over the navel (anatomy depending) hips, and lower back are all great placements for microdermals! We can also discuss with your unique individual anatomy what and where will work the best for you!