Microdermal Piercing

Facts About Microdermal Piercing


Microdermal piercing, also called a microdermal implant or a dermal anchor, is a type of body piercing through the surface of the skin. A tiny hole is made in the skin and a very small piece of jewelry like a screw with a flat back is inserted. The skin heals over the flat part of the jewelry, or “anchors” the jewelry, leaving the screw above the skin. Jewels or titanium balls can then be screwed onto the outside of the jewelry, and after the piercing has healed, the outer jewelry can be changed around for different looks. Microdermal piercings are more complicated than normal piercings through the ear or nose, therefore they should only be performed by an experienced piercer.


Microdermal piercing evolved from piercing techniques called surface piercing and subdermal implants. In surface piercing, a curved or staple shaped barbell is inserted under the skin with the two ends of the barbell visible above the skin. Surface piercings, while easier to remove than microdermal implants, presented healing problems and could stretch the skin if not properly sized. Subdermal implants are similar to microdermal implants in that they consist of a screw-shaped piece of jewelry that fits under the skin with the screw head outside the skin. However, subdermal implants are larger than microdermal implants and are placed farther under the skin. The procedure for placing subdermal implants can be painful and invasive. These are commonly topped with spikes and usually implanted under the scalp or forehead.

Piercing Jewelry

Microdermal piercing requires a very specific kind of jewelry. Titanium is preferred over steel to minimize the risk of the body rejecting the implant. The jewelry usually contains a flat back that is oval shaped. Microdermal implants usually have holes in the plate so that skin tissue can grow through them and anchor the jewelry in the skin.


In microdermal piercing, first the skin is cleaned with antibacterial soap to prepare it for the dermal piercing. Next, the piercer will mark the skin for the placement of the piercing. A good piercer will show you the mark and consult with you about the placement of the piercing to make sure that it’s exactly where you want it. Remember, microdermal implants are permanent and will leave scars if removed, so be very sure of where you want your piercing. Next, the skin is pinched up and the hole made. Piercers can use a tapered piercing needle or a dermal punch to make the hole. There is some debate among piercers as to which is best, but many piercers prefer the dermal punch. Either way will create a hole to insert the jewelry though. This part of the piercing procedure is painful, but usually over quickly. After the hole in the skin is made, the piercer places the microdermal implant, sometimes called an anchor, under the skin. The flat part of the implant is slipped into the hole vertically and then turned so that it lays flat and parallel to the surface of the skin. Usually the piercer will use forceps to hold the anchor secure.  Many times, the outside part of the jewelry will already be screwed on to give the piercer something to hold onto. Also, if the top of jewelry is already screwed on, you won’t disturb the fresh piercing putting it on. Once the jewelry is placed in the skin, the procedure is done. Bleeding is common, but will usually stop in about half an hour.

Healing and Aftercare

Healing can take anywhere from one to three months. As with any piercing, aftercare is very important to keep your piercing free of infection and looking nice. Keep the area clean and dry. Avoid using sprays, lotions, or other irritants near the new piercing, and as with any fresh piercing or tattoo, don’t go swimming until it is healed. Ask your piercer for any specific aftercare products or procedures they recommend.