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Microdermals versus Surface Piercings
With the increase in popularity of body piercing, different forms of piercing have been created. Rather than just pierce through loose areas of skin, some people have decided they want to have piercings in areas that are much more flat. These desires are what have driven explorations in surface piercing and newer forms of piercings known as microdermals or dermal anchors. Although each type of piercing can be done so as to appear identical, they actually function very differently and have different concerns for long-term wear.
Surface piercings are a more conventional type of body piercing done in an area that is flat instead of through some fleshy area that protrudes. The piercing is a channel, which will heal to form a passageway through the skin, much like how ear piercings form tunnels through ear lobes. The jewelry worn in these is most often some form of barbell. All you will wind up seeing is the bead ends of the bar showing above the surface of the skin. This form of piercing always results in two beads or ends, connected below the skin.
Microdermals or dermal anchors are stud-like piercings made into the skin surface which stay in place due to the design of the jewelry. The inserted jewelry has a flat back that is embedded below the skin surface and a short post comes off of that with some sort of beaded end showing at the skin surface. This type of piercing can be done singularly, in a series, and has been used to created rhinestone-looking patterns over larger areas of the skin. Those large designs can includes dozens of microdermals.
Both types of piercing have a higher chance of rejection than piercings done through loose skin or protruding tissue, but surface piercings tend to have a higher ration of tension since there is a bar going below the skin that is pushed on somewhat by the body. However, how each person heals and which has a greater chance of successful long-term wear can't be pre-determined.
One thing to note is that a surface piercing is somewhat removable. It's possible to take out the jewelry and insert a nylon retainer or some sort of monofilament line if one were going into the hospital or having some sort of medical procedure done which necessitated taking out the jewelry. With microdermals, you have no such luck. They are either in the skin, or they have to be formally removed, with no in-and-out options. If you decide to go with dermal anchors, you have to commit to having them and accept that if anything serious medically happens, they are all going to have to come out.
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