A surface piercing is a piercing where the entrance and exit holes are (usually) pierced through the same flat area of skin where there is minimal movement. NOTE: Many surface piercings fail, not because surface piercings are impossible, but because there are a lot of incompetent piercers out there that don’t understand how the body heals. Make sure you go to an experienced piercer that can show you healed photos of surface piercings they have done! Some people can successfully heal surface piercings, however if you are not among the lucky few you can face migration, rejection and scarring.
Traditionally, surface piercings were simply done using the same method as regular piercings – with a straight or curved metal bar. This is about the worst way to do a surface piercing, and while a small percentage of people have healed them, they tend to be temporary. The jewelry puts a great deal of pressure on the healing skin above it, and its inflexibility causes even more stress as the skin moves.
Flexible jewelry has become popular recently in hopes that it will decrease pressure on the piercing, but is considered to be less reliable than the surface bar. Surface piercings have also been successfully healed with Tygon.
Surface bars are, in my opinion, the best jewelry for healing surface piercings because its perpendicular design was based on optimizing the body’s healing process. Body jewelry is worn inside a wound and is in contact with your internal tissues, so only certain products are suitable. The look of the jewelry that is placed in your fresh piercing must be secondary to aspects that affect safety and compatibility with your body. The size, style, material, and quality of the initial piece of jewelry all affect your ability to heal. The jewelry can be changed after you have successfully healed. Because the body jewelry industry is saturated with substandard products, piercers and clients alike may forget that cost alone should never be the key factor in your purchase. Jewelry for this piercing should be made of titanium. Titanium is a lightweight metal that is ideal for people with concerns about nickel sensitivity. This material can be anodized to create jewelry of different colors without affecting the safety. Look for implant certified titanium (Ti6Al4V ELI) that is ASTM F-136 compliant or ISO 5832-3 compliant, or commercially pure titanium that is ASTM F-67 compliant.
This piercing can either be done with a needle or a dermal punch and taper method. Either way is fine depending on the piercers preference. An internally threaded post will protrude to the surface making it easy to change your jewelry tops for your desired look.
The healing time on this piercing can be three to six months or longer depending on placement, after care, and your body. There is no need to twist or touch your jewelry, as this will only irritate your new piercing. It is very important to avoid snagging this piercing. You need to be aware at all times of things that could catch it such as; clothing, loofahs, wash rags, and towels. To clean your piercing you can either use H2Ocean or a saline soak. With the H2ocean spray both sides two to three times a day. You can make the saline soak at home by using a non-iodized sea salt mixture: Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized (iodine-free) sea salt into one cup (8 oz.) of warm distilled or bottled water, soak for five to ten minutes two to three times per day. Dry by gently patting with clean, disposable paper products. Cloth towels can harbor bacteria and snag on jewelry, causing injury. Some risks can be migration, rejection, scarring, and snagging accidents.
Many piercers are not comfortable doing surface piercings because they are difficult to heal and a lot of them reject. Rejection means that the body slowly (or sometimes quickly) pushes them out through the skin, in the same way that the body pushes out a buried splinter. Rejection is affected by placement, blood flow, irritation and abuse, as well as general health. The healthier a person is, the less likely problems may arise. A surface piercing will only heal if it is easier for your body to keep the piercing in than it is to reject it. Since your body is designed to reject foreign objects, a little common sense makes it clear that it’s not easy to keep a surface piercing. The body resists foreign objects inside itself, and that includes piercings. Rejection occurs when it is “easier” for the body to push the piercing out like a splinter than it is to heal a fistula (skin tunnel) around it. You can spot rejection happening when there is abnormal redness around the piercing and then after a while, you can start to see the jewelry through the skin. As soon as you notice or think you notice rejection happening go to a professional body piercer immediately. Rejection can be dangerous and cause infection and severe pain and is common among surface piercings.
Surface anchors offer a unique look but are not for everyone. They require extra care and patience through the healing process. If you are considering getting a surface bar feel free to call or come in and talk with any of our experienced piercers at Blue Boutique.