Micro Dermal Piercings: an alternative to Surface Piercings

In one of my earlier posts I talked about surface piercings. If these sounded interested to you but the idea that they have a high rejection rates, 80% I just found out, you could try a much safer alternative, micro dermal piercing aka surface anchor.


A surface anchor only has one hole and can be done with a regular piercing needle but is suggested to be done with a micro dermal punch. Like any out of the ordinary piercing make sure your piercer has experience with the piercing you want, and ask to see pictures of some they have done.

The procedure is said to be quite simple. The skin is pinched and the punch (type of needle used) is inserted then removed. Then the base of the jewelry is put in place. The jewelry resembles a foot almost. The base has small holes on it for tissue to grow into to anchor the jewelry in as the piercing heals, thus giving piercing its name, surface anchor. The heel of the jewelry is put in carefully. Then an attachment either being a bead, gem of some sort, cone or other attachment, (a wide variety are available) is screwed into the part that sticks up from the base. The jewelry used is 14 gauge, the same as most nipple and tongue piercings.


Here is the procedure of 3 hip surface anchors on You Tube

While Surface Anchors will bleed for longer and more than normal piercings after they are done, they only have a 2% rejection rate. The hole takes about 1-3 months to heal. Popular places are at the sides of eyes, but can be done almost anywhere. Β The attachments just screw in and out easily and do not need to be changed by a professional, but if you decide to remove the piercing all together have it completely removed by your piercer.




    • cherish
    • September 9th, 2009

    hey I have searched almost every site I have read alot on md’s .I have had one on my wrist for about six months .. it did get bumped about two weeks ago or a little more and now it is risen and ,red around the piercing ,,,I love this piercing so much but I have done what the information i found as said ,, To use hot water and sea salt once a day for 5mins it seems to work and i think it gets better but then a day later or so it becomes a little swollen again .. Im not quite sure what to do now .. it doesn’t hurt and there’s no pus anymore but its not perfect like it was a month ago .. any advise ? REALLY ISN’T MUCH ADVISE ON possible infections maybe?

    • First off I am no expert, go see your piercer. it sounds like it could be infected or maybe starting to reject. The wrist might not be the best spot with all its movement. I am considering getting one on each side of my chest around the collar bone area.

    • I myself am not an expert on microdermals and have not gotten any of my own yet. But , maybe my information is wrong and you cannot change your own.Or, maybe due it being on your back, a hard area to reach, that could be the reason why.

      • Deanna
      • November 29th, 2010

      My piercer said to do this three times a day for ten minutes each time, it really worked for me. Maybe you need to do it that much, instead of just once a day for five minutes. πŸ™‚

    • Amy
    • September 11th, 2009

    hey, i have two MD’s one on my wrist over a preivous surface piercing scar and one on my chest.
    i had the same problem with the dermal on my wrist, ive had it for about the same time around 6 months and have ripped half of it out twice …. for about 3 months it looked like it may have to be taken out .. but i just kept with it as i loved the piercing.
    all i did was keep it clean and put pressure on it using a plaster or cotton wool and surgical tape, during the day then let it ‘breath’ at night, this was to stop it rising up and rejecting (which it very almost did, could see on side of the ‘anchor’ under the skin!)
    this isnt expert advice but it worked for me, id say stick with it as long as you can bear it and one day it will just be ok , mine is now perfect .. and its only taken 6 months to get that way πŸ™‚ !!!

    oh and another bit of advice if a piercer offers a skin diver instead of a dermal i wouldnt go for them as they come out much easier my housemate has 3 on her back and we have to put them back in weekly !

    hope this helps and good luck with it hope your dermal sorts its self out πŸ™‚

      • T
      • February 8th, 2011

      Hey, I have a problem I got dermal snake bites under my lip.. one stayed fine other skin kind pulled away and i migrated.. I can push it down and bandage it and I think it really could heal over if I just keep something on it with pressure and keep it clean.. Is this what happen to you? You had no skin for it to go back under huh? if you did it was just barely and it heal little by little?

    • jessika
    • September 25th, 2009

    first of i had th skin diver (Β£40), came out the next day. then i had it done again wiv a propa one. ( had to pay another Β£40) and now 8 months down the its been fine, i love it BUT last week it came half out so i went up to the peircer sh put it back in costed me Β£5 and now a week later i its come half out AGAIN but only proplem now is that ive come down wiv bad flu so cant go to see a peircer so just put a plaster on it… any suggesgions??
    overall i love the peircing just a pit pissed of th fact tht ive now been a mug n payed Β£85 for a peircing!!! ridicules!

    • hey jessika,

      I am sorry but I am American and do not know the slang you are using , it appears to be British. But I will try to decipher it. If skin diver means micro dermal ,and by the way that’s a much cooler name, and plaster means band aid, I’m guessing that is good for now until you can go see your piercer. I am in no way an expert on this stuff so I could be wrong. Maybe you could try saline soaks. ( seas salt mixed with water). I am not sure what measurements it would be for you but try mixing a small cup of warm water and about a teaspoon size amount of sea salt. leave on the piercing for about 5- 10 minutes. If a cup cannot be placed on the area try a cotton swab soaked in the saline mixture. These soaks are good to do in general for your piercings. Especially, for any small irritations, but it may help you out a little.
      Good luck with your skin diver

        • Corin
        • February 26th, 2010

        Ashley and Jessika,

        First off, if you dont know anything about microdermals or skin divers you should not be giving information out to people that dont know any better.

        Firstly, skin divers and microdermals are essentially the same thing on the outside but have completely different “feet” that sit underneath the skin.

        If you are having trouble keeping your skin diver in your skin then you are not leaving it covered long enough for your skin to heal around the post. With both microdermals and skin divers a large gauge needle or dermal punch is used to make a hole big enough to fit the “feet” of the jewelry into your skin. depending on how fast your body heals you need to keep it covered with gauze and surgical tape for anywhere from 2 weeks to a couple months. You need to give the anchor time to “set” into your skin and have the initial hole heal to the post size before leaving it uncovered or else it will keep falling out. and if you are putting it back in yourself every night then you are introducing more bacteria into the hole that can give you a mean infection. The longer you keep it covered the better. You might want to show it off to people when you first get it but keeping it covered and letting it heal is what is essentially going to let your microdermal stay (and not reject) for as long as you want.

        I am a professional piercer and would love to help with any more questions anyone might have.

    • Bella
    • October 23rd, 2009

    I just got a micro dermal yesterday and my piercer told me to never try to change the attachment by myself cuz i could have the whole thing rotate instead of screwing out the attachment.
    I got it on my spine about 3 or 4 inches below my shoulders..i love it..

    • Janelle
    • October 27th, 2009

    I have the micro dermal on my wrist. Two of them are healed but the third keeps poping up and red around it. It came out once and I put it back in myself. It seemed to be healing but now I have a red circle around all three of them and my skin is a little warm there. At first they just itched but now warm? Does this me there is an infection Or maybe the skin is just dry?

    • im not sure, you really should call your piercer, it sounds like the third rejected.

    • Annie
    • January 19th, 2010

    How sensitive are these piercings? I want one on my hip like the one in the vid, but I ride horses a lot and am worried about how it will effect the piercing if it gets bumped every now and then. Can you help me out? Have you had any problems with yours on your hip?

    • I do not have one yet, but i can see were that might arise a problem, at least while healing. But you can always go and talk to a piercer they will know the most. check out my blogs new site. http://www.bodyartmodificationblog.com

      • Brianna
      • January 26th, 2010

      I just got two microdermals on my hips, one on each side for now, three days ago and theyre doing great. Didn’t even hurt when they used the punch, it just felt like someone pinched me. Other then that, it is painless. It did bleed a little though. They are a little sore right now though, not too bad. My piercer said i don’t need to use salt soaks or whatever. just to run warm water over them while showering and if soap gets in them to make sure to rinse it really well so it doesnt get infected and if it does start looking red or anything he said to use chamomile tea bags and hold them on the piercings for a few minutes to help cleanse them. idk if i believe that but i guess we’ll see if i need to do it. If these ones are doing well still in a couple weeks i’m going to get the second set. (:

    • Brianna
    • February 10th, 2010

    • Brianna
    • February 10th, 2010

    • Ashlee
    • February 21st, 2010

    This was Very helpful and answered all of my questions!!!

    • Janelle
    • February 22nd, 2010

    I got 3 microdermal piercing on my wrist to make a bracelet in October. Two fell out so I went back in to get them done again. Well, in hennepin county in mn they have now passed a law to make surface piercing illegal in tattoo shops. They are only to be done by a doctor. FML! What soccer mom decided to pass that law! Mind your own business!

    • Tanna
    • March 30th, 2010

    ive wanted my dermal 4 almst ova a year now and im meant to get it done on 1st april. i want it on my foot but people have different opinoins about whether it will reject or not. i fort this would be a great time to get it done because i have 2 weeks off college and im hoping it a start healing better because im not moving it as much. what do you think??

    • That sounds like a risky place to get one due to shoes and the movement of your foot. But it is worth a try I guess

    • Tanna
    • March 31st, 2010

    im nt worried about shoes… i dnt were pumps, trainers, boots etc.. fankz for that and wish me luck : D

    • jessica
    • May 16th, 2010

    I currently have two micro dermal anchors one on each hip. I love them. I enjoy the reactions I get from ppl who have never seen them before…It makes me giggle when ppl stare or give me a wierd looks. Im now ten weeks pregnant and I called my piercer to ask if I could leave them in or not due to the fact I have no idea if they r gonna reject. But my piercer believes that they should do fine that the skin stretches but the anchors once set should just move w it…But I guess there always is a chance of rejection….Also if anyone is thinking of getting them done where I did make sure u wear hip hugger jeans or low pants cause let me tell u when ur pants rise and go underneath one before they r healed IT HURTS but once givin proper healing time they dont…I cant wait to get more πŸ˜‰

    • aliwaliwoo
    • July 8th, 2010

    Hey i have had 2 dermals on the back of my neck. both were healing perfectly untill i had a massage and she hit one of them. That one then became infected and eventually rejected completely. i tried a few things like steri strips to hold them down and it worked for a while. the other one was doing great untill i got my hair wrapped round it and gave it a little tug, it then became infected and sore and eventually i pulled it out as i didnt want it to scare badly.
    I have recently had one on my chest and its doing great, i think as long as you dont have too big a bust its a perfect place to have one as it doesnt get knocked as much.
    I had both sets done with a dermal punch and that stings but its not too painfull. when he inserted the ones on my neck it wasnt too painfull however the one i had done on my chest hurt so much i had to lay on my hands to stop me pushing him away. I was told that as the skin isnt as stretchy in that area its harder to put in.
    The pain was worth it though as it looks lovely and you do get some vey strange reactions.
    Ive been advised to clean mine with salt water and savlon spray, but to make sure i dont use a cream near the area so the skin doesnt soften and it allows it to heal.
    Hope this has been helpfull to some.

    • b-dash
    • July 16th, 2010


    i’ve been looking everywhere for a good pic of the hip MD’s. i printed out the one posted by jessika to take to my piercer because they’re EXACTLY what i want! thanks!

    • Kristin Martin
    • August 20th, 2010

    I have two md’s, one on each hip. I’ve had them for over 5 months and They were doing well for the frist couple but now they are badly infected/rejecting.
    The area around them is red and I often get fluid-filled bumps around them. I have been using the sea salt and doing the soaks, it seems like its helping slightly but they are still pretty bad.

    I am really upset because I love them and don’t want to see them go. I have used guaze and tape to hold them down and that seemed to work and the bumps would heal into scabs but everytime I shower they puff back up again and I don’t even touch them.

    I can move the left one around and see the foot come up through my skin, before one side of the foot came through my skin in the shower and I pushed it back in. The right one wiggles a lot but I have not seen the foot yet.

    I’ve basically done every possible thing that I can for them so I am really sad that nothing has helped that much 😦

    This is how they looked before the infection/rejection:

    This is how they look now:

    Has anyone’s looked like mine? If so, what was the end result??

    Thanks so much.

      • becca
      • December 27th, 2010

      Kristin Martin,
      I know this is abit late; but your piercings look exactly like my hip surface bars when they rejected. I could also see the bar in the middle. So i took them out, i loved them so much that once they healed, i got microdermals over the top, where they used to be. There is only a light red line scar between them which is now fading month by month. Hope it helps

      Becca x

    • Katie
    • December 26th, 2010

    I had my dermal punch for almost a year before I became pregnant. I am 8 months and the punch has a red bubble underneath it almost looks just like a blister. I am not sure what to do, will this go away or shall I continue my search to have it removed?

    • Daria
    • January 18th, 2011

    Has anyone had experience with the inside twisting? It started getting infected so I was moving it a little to clean it and suddenly some pussy-red blood came out and I could tell it detached and could feel it twisting all the way around. I have had it about 6 months and this is the first problem Ive had… It is really hard around the md…not sure what to do, I’m doing the soaks… but I just want this to get better! Any experience?

    • erica
    • March 7th, 2011

    i want to get a micro teardrop or temple but i want to find out more about it 1st….what is the rejection rate on that area?? if anyone has any information please share

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