Surface Piercing Aftercare Myths and Misinformation
Continuing our aftercare series, today is all about microdermals and surface piercings. These piercings are a super unique, super fun way to add some sparkle and shine to an area that otherwise wouldn’t be piercable. That said, these piercings are also all considered long term temporary. Meaning they should not be expected to last a lifetime, but long term (3-7 years). Some folks get lucky and have these longer, and that’s always the hope! But it shouldn’t be the expectation. That said, these unique piercings have their own set of unique care and needs, and misinformation about them abounds online. So today, let’s look at 7 myths surrounding healing surface piercings.
They need to be surgically removed/cut out of you!
This is probably what I hear the most often, and it’s also the most untrue! There is no need to surgically remove or cut these out. They were designed to be removed easily with some tissue manipulation, and popped right out! A task for your piercer, not a doctor or nurse. Have you ever taken a shoe off with the laces still tied tight? You stretch your heel out and then you can slide your toes out. Microdermals work much the same way! They have a long and short side (a toe and heal side) and the heal can be massaged out and then the toe slipped out. This still required a specific technique so should be done by a reputable piercer, but is a very easy process!
Microdermals can heal anywhere
Wouldn’t that be the life?! Unfortunately, no. Microdermals heal in areas of low movement, with a stable amount of fatty tissue. That means on hands, feet, arms and legs they tend to do poorly. A popular placement, the clavicle, also often does poorly due to the movement of the neck and shoulders. Within the cleavage isn’t ideal either, as your breast tissue moves and shifts which causes issues. It’s for this reason that it’s so crucial to see a piercer with a lot of experience in surface work who can map out your anatomy and ensure things are placed where they will heal for you. This idea gets spread around by folks who think Microdermals are somehow magic alternatives to surface piercings, but alas, they are not.
I need to keep it covered with a bandage for a while so it stays in
So, this one is a bit trickier. You may need a bandage for bleeding initially with a microdermal, and some ends and some anatomies do well to have the piercing covered for the first day or two. But past the first week or so there is no reason to be using any bandaging. I’ve seen clients told to leave bandages on for the entire first month due to the internet or bad advice! Using bandages too long or too often can cause a reaction to the adhesive on your skin and other irritations. Listen to your piercers advice about bandaging, and be mindful of the health of the skin under or around the adhesive.
Once it’s healed, I don’t need to clean it anymore
Untrue! Microdermals and surface barbells, being that they can’t be removed to be cleaned, often require a little extra cleaning and care beyond regular piercings. Soap, skin products, dead skin cells, and makeup can all collect under the tops. If that buildup is left, it can cause skin issues and even rejection. It’s important to clean around your mircodermals regularly, particularly if they are in an area where they get in contact with makeup or skin products.
It’s normal for the base to stick up during healing
There is no reason a newly done microdermal should be anything but flat. The base starting to stick up when a microdermals is fresh is a sign that it was not done correctly, and you should go back to your piercer. Once healed, the base starting to rise is often an early sign of rejection, and you should keep a close eye on the piercing. Unfortunately, I often hear this given as an excuse by piercers who don’t understand doing surface work correctly. As always doing your research and finding an experienced piercer is key.
You can downsize your surface barbell once it’s healed
This one is again a bit tricky. While surface barbells can be ordered with different rises or heights, and some clients can get a slightly shorter rise put in if needed, I more often hear this said about surface barbells where the entire rise and bend is sticking out of the skin. At this point there really isn’t anything that can be done to salvage the piercing, and it needs to be removed. If you notice any lifting with surface piercings you should see your piercer asap!
You can’t get sweat on them while they heal
Totally false! While we as a society view sweat as “dirty” its’ really not. It’s your body natural way of cooling you off! Your own sweat is totally safe on and around any healing piercings, and Microdermals are no exception. If you are getting sweaty however, it’s a good idea to clean any piercings after, and if you are working out be mindful not to do activities that could catch or snag your piercings. But sweat in general is not dangerous to your surface piercings!
If you have any questions about healing your piercing, or are unsure if you are taking proper care, safepiercing.org has some wonderful industry standard guidelines listed on their website. Generally you should follow what your piercer has told you. If you are unsure that you are getting good advice from your piercer, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. There is a forum on Facebook called Ask A Professional Piercer where many respected, vetted industry professionals assist clients with getting accurate advice and help with their piercings.