BME’s Big Question #7: Microdermals, The Universe and Everything

Welcome to BME’s Big Question! In this feature, we ask a handful of the community’s best and brightest piercers, tattooists, heavy mod practitioners and shop owners for their opinion on one question or issue that’s affecting the body modification community. Many, many thanks to all of the contributors.

If you’d like to be a part of future editions, or if you have an idea for an issue or question you’d like to see addressed, please e-mail me.

This week’s topic comes (and features follow-up questions) from Rachel Larratt:

“How do you guys feel about doing microdermals? Is it the same as a ‘regular’ piercing or different?”

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Meg Barber
I’ll step up to bat with this one.

I hate microdermals with a capital H. I think that while they do offer some possibilities that haven’t been seen before as far as placement and jewelry styles, they are problematic, hard to successfully heal for the long haul, and are just an all-around hassle.

I see a lot of them reject and leave pretty nasty scars, because most of the time the client isn’t looking at it on a regular basis (because of its weird placement) to see if anything is wrong with the piercing. I see a lot of them with massive piles of shmutz built up around them for the very same reasons.

People don’t tend to view them as “permanent” at all. It’s something to get done now, like an earlobe or nostril, and there is no forewarning about the issues that arise with them from most piercers.

When they started to get huge, I admit, we got on the bandwagon, but we have certainly backed off on our enthusiasm with them since watching issues arise. This past month, Vibe magazine had a blurb about microdermals in their fashion issue. It showed a piece on a girl’s side that we did, but what it didn’t show was me resetting that sucker back in there two weeks prior to the shoot because it had been shifting outwards.

I know that there are a lot of people gung-ho about them, and they can be fun, but I think they should be viewed much like surface work with a more permanent edge.

Ryan Ouellette
I was leaning towards a negative opinion of them a few months back, but then I started experimenting with longer stem lengths and now things are going a lot smoother. I’ve done about 250 of them over the last 18 months, I’d say the first 200 were 3/32″ rise, no matter the location. I was getting some tilting, and the occasional failure, but still maybe a 60-70 percent flat heal success rate. I think out of that initial 200 I personally removed maybe 15, and a few were cut out by other shops. Now with the 1/8″ and 5/32″ stems I haven’t had a single significant tilt or failure in about five months. The only ones I’ve taken out have been for work reasons, or people just not wanting them.

[Ed. note: Ryan adds, “I just checked my numbers on past microdermal orders and I’m under on my guess for how many I’ve done, but the success rates are still pretty accurate.”]

A big issue about them is removal. I’m the only shop in my area that takes them out without using a scalpel. I just use a needle and micro surgical hook to take them out without enlarging the stem hole at all. A lot of people are terrified of trying them because they think they have to get them cut out if they fail.

Overall I’m a big fan of them and I try to push people towards those over surface piercings for all nontraditional surface placements. With how easy they are for me to remove I don’t even refer to them as permanent. I just call them semi-permanent and offer future removal for free for any I’ve installed.

Rachel Larratt
Does anyone else offer free removal as standard practice with a microdermal?

Microdermal rejection scars look fairly extensive from the photos on BME. Do you suggest to clients the immediate removal at the first signs of rejection or do you generally try to reseat the microdermal?

In what situations have you refused to do a microdermal?

Ryan Ouellette
I’ve tried re-seating once or twice but now I think it’s just pointless. And I usually tell people that if they can see the foot through the surface and there is any redness it’s time to remove it before you get an ugly scar. But if I take them out early I get barely any scar at all.

I only refuse if the skin is too delicate to support the jewelry—areas like the inner wrist or high anti-eyebrows. Or areas where you get a lot of friction, like low hip placements.

John Joyce
I have a pretty high success rate with microdermals as well. In a lot of cases I think they are a much better option than surface piercings. However, I think it is the responsibility of the piercer as a professional to go over the risks and make sure the client understands them. A lot of people make a big deal out of their “permanence,” but honestly, removal isn’t that hard. Like Ryan said, they don’t need to be cut out with a scalpel, and a lot of the time I can remove them without even using a needle. Scarring really isn’t anything major with these and it’s a lot less than you would get with a rejecting surface bar.

The only area I’ve seen consistent problems with these is along the collar bones, especially more towards the shoulder. I won’t even do them in that area anymore. Most of the ones I take out now aren’t because of rejection, it’s because the person didn’t want them anymore, or, in most cases, it’s because they were done with inferior quality jewelry. I always remove them free of charge since it’s something the client can’t do themselves, and I don’t want them trying to.

I’ve done these in a lot of different areas. A lot of my friends, including my girlfriend, have some that are over two years old now. These are in places like the lower back, sternum, anti-eyebrow area and above and below a navel.

I have re-seated some that were not that old, and they healed up fine. I think this really only works if the piercing is still fairly new. Scarring keeps coming up, but honestly I haven’t seen any real scarring from these at all.

Meg Barber
I’ve had a 50/50 success rate with re-seating ones that are tilting; some work, some don’t. The areas I see the biggest problems are the back of the neck and cleavage, and the shoulder is a troublesome area as well, like John said.

We generally remove them for free, unless they were done elsewhere. I don’t cut them out either, just a little massage usually does the trick, although the feet with the big hole…those are a a lot tougher to remove, and sometimes need to be helped out with a needle. As for scarring, the worst I see tends to be on the rejecting nape placements. Lots of buildup with those, not pretty.

Are there any other placements you guys shy away from? We don’t do the thin-skinned areas Ryan mentioned, or hands or feet—too much trouble.

Steve Truitt
I do a lot of microdermals, and I also try to talk people into them instead of surface piercings when they come in for something like a sternum, anti-eyebrow, etc. I rarely take any out because of rejection—mostly I remove them because of issues at work/school, or the person just doesn’t want them anymore. I’d say from what I’ve seen we have about an 80 percent success rate with them.

I offer free removal if they were done at my shops, and sometimes even if they weren’t. There are a lot of shops around here that use the horrible ones made in Thailand/Korea/wherever it is that sell them for $1 or less. When educating people about them and why they aren’t working out for them, most of the time they understand what I’m saying and come back to get them done with the proper jewelry in them, so when it seems like a situation like that, I don’t charge for the removal.

When I remove them, I just massage the tissue until the heel can pop out, then pull them out. Sometimes I have to slide a needle underneath them to cut through the scar tissue that grows through the holes, but that’s only about 50 percent of the time. I’ve seen some scarring, but normally less than from surface piercings or other rejecting piercings.

If someone wants to keep the microdermal when it seems to be rejecting I’ll try re-seating them if there isn’t a lot of scar tissue built up already, or if there is, then I have them wait a few weeks till it goes down and can be re-done. The place I’ve noticed having the most problems with tilting out and needing to be re-seated more often than anywhere else is the lower-center forehead, the “third eye” position, or closer to the eyebrows there as well. I think this is due to all the movement in the area, so I warn people that come in for those before doing them.

Rachel Larratt
There are several variations: solid base, one hole, two holes and three holes. Which design do you generally prefer?

Steve Truitt
I prefer the Anatometal pieces with one large hole. I’ve used the IS and Wildcat pieces as well; IS are my second choice. The bases on the Wildcat pieces are a little too thick for my liking, and the finish isn’t as nice as the Anatometal and IS pieces.
The Anatometal pieces tend to heal much better and more securely in place in my experience, however that does make them slightly harder to remove than the others.

Stephen DeToma
I’ll chime in “thumbs down.”

I was really excited when I first saw them. I had a pair of them put in my forehead by Didier at Enigma a few years back and it didn’t take me long to start changing my mind. I’m also not a huge surface piercing fan to begin with so I guess I should have seen that coming.

The whole issue of removal was a great deal more complicated when people hadn’t removed them a whole lot. I don’t like doing them so generally I pass and book an appointment for the boss, but I’ve gotten very good at taking them out.

The biggest problems I see with healing is people’s inability to remember they have them: catching them, snagging them. I had one guy that had lost the top of an anchor he had in his nape while on vacation. The shop he went to put a 6 mm steel ball on the jewelry and he then spent a week in bed till he came to see me—the thing had grown out completely sideways.

But, curve balls aside, if someone is coming in to take an anchor out, removing the threaded end and attaching a threaded taper, gently enlarging the pocket under the tissue by stirring the jewelry a bit works pretty well for me. It feels a lot like losing a tooth; just kinda wiggle it until those threads let go. As Meg said, the large hole model is a little trickier.

Meg Barber
That’s how I take them out too, Stephen, although remember that one disaster you had to remove when you were guesting here? That thing was so scary!

Stephen DeToma
Yeah, that was one of the authentic “surface anchors” that has one half bent like a closed staple and an arm that holds the gem. It was the first time I had seen one and was a little puzzled. You can’t just wiggle those things out because of the shape; it’s similar to the old bar trick of folding a drinking straw in half and inserting it into the neck of a bottle to pick it up. For that one, I actually used the bevel of a needle to widen to hole enough to take out. That poor girl was completely freaked out.

That’s another thing about anchors: I think there’s just as many people who understate what can happen with anchors as those who get everyone all wound up about scalpel removal. I think it’s important to inform the client of possible risks without downplaying them or scaring the crap out of them, and also, to recognize the capabilities and limitations of anchors—meaning, they open options but they aren’t foolproof.

Meg Barber
As for the base I prefer (back to Rachel’s question), I like the IS ones for ease of removal, but the Anatometal ones for staying power. Those suckers are tough to get out though. I’ve got a client that got a “Madison” placement dermal, and it rejected three times with the IS one. I popped in an Anatometal one, and it’s going strong at about eight months now.

I’m pretty thorough when I explain the hows, whys and removal aspects of them, but not everyone understands, even after a talking-to. People see pictures of all this crazy stuff done with them (like eyelids) and then get irritated when they find out that they can’t just take them out when they want to and put them back in like a standard piercing.

My big question for all of you is how long do you tell your clients they take to “heal”? I tell mine that they will settle in after a few weeks to a month, but can never really be called “healed,” as there is never gonna be a neat little dry pocket around that base.

Also, what is your aftercare suggestion for them? Do you have your clients bandage them initially?

Ryan Ouellette
I tell people the “initial healing period” is about a month, but that it can take a few extra weeks to toughen up. I also tell them to wait at least six weeks to come in for an end-piece change, or to wait three months if they want to do it themselves. I cover all mine with a Nexcare waterproof bandage and tell them to leave it on for anywhere from one to three days depending on the location.

Allen Falkner
Microdermals hit about the time that I started transitioning out of piercing so I’ve only done a handful. So, it’s really hard for me to formulate much of an opinion. [Ed. note: But that’s never stopped you before!]

As for my like or dislike of dermal anchors…personally, I like them. Less invasive than traditional larger transdermals and if well-placed they hold up infinitely better than surface piercings. If anyone has ever read one my rants you’ll know I’m not a big a fan of surface piercings…but I don’t want to get too far off-topic.

As for removal, I’ve helped with a couple, but that’s usually because Allen gets roped in when it requires brute force. I’m definitely not shy about getting out “stuck” jewelry. As for price, well, I’m sure everyone has their own opinion. Me, I think all removal and most general maintenance should be free, no matter who put in the jewelry. It’s been my experience that people normally tip really well for a free service. Plus, it’s good for business and ultimately good for the community. Each crappy piercing that walks down the street or appears in the media is a blow to the entire piercing industry…and you know how it is. There is a certain satisfaction about fixing someone else’s mistakes that really makes doing your job worthwhile.

Meg Barber
Price is a good point. What are you guys charging to do microdermals? Do you include the foot in the price?

Our cost is $75 for the service, which includes the base, then the additional cost is what frontal you want on it—disks or gems or whatnot. And we take them out for free.

Steve Truitt
I charge $80 for one and $60 for each after (in the same session on the same person) with a disc on them. If they want gems, etc., the price goes up depending on the end.

Ryan Ouellette
I charge $70 for one, $130 for a pair, $60 each for three or more. Price includes standard disc ends; gemstone or alternate ends are an additional $10-$15 each. Free removal if I installed it, $20 if it was put in somewhere else.

I charged $80 when I was first doing them, but now with IS lowering their prices I can’t see charging that much. I only charge $65 for a surface piercing with an Anatometal flat surface bar and those cost twice as much as microdermal jewelry.

John Joyce
I charge $75 for one with a flat disc, more if they want a gem. Each additional one done after that I take a little off the price. Free removal whether I installed it or not.

Stephen DeToma
I believe were running $50 for a basic disc, $75 for gems.

John Joyce
Since we’re talking microdermals, I’ve had two different people come in over the last two days that both had microdermals done on their sternums at a different shop in Syracuse. One girl’s fell out within a day, and the other girl’s was sticking way out and was about to fall out. I’m not sure what method was used to put these in, but there was a huge pocket made. In the one that was still in, there was a gaping hole around the post of it. The rise used on both of them was far too long for these girls as well.

I think most people in this forum are probably getting somewhere in the 85-90 percent success rate with microdermals, but I think it’s really important to remember that we aren’t the majority of piercers out there. There are going to be a lot more piercers only getting 50 percent success rate or maybe 75 percent at best. This could be from any number of things: using poor quality jewelry, poor installation technique, poor aftercare, poor placement, or just not really understanding what a microdermal is.

My point is, with piercing, but especially microdermals it is important for the client to do their own research first. It is also important for the practitioner to make sure they fully understand microdermals, and how they work.

What do you think? Let’s hear it in the comments.

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49 thoughts on “BME’s Big Question #7: Microdermals, The Universe and Everything

  1. I think that anchors are definitely a good alternative to surface piercing, certain areas and placements tend to have a higher success rate. I agree installation and removal comes more easily with experience. I use the anatometal design exclusively at the point, with great success. I have even had better success in the “thinner” or more “delicate” skin areas with the 1/16″ rise, actually. I think my biggest hesitation is the fact that the clientele has changed through the years, many clients are drawn to piercing because of its non permanence. I am piercing in a smaller midwestern town at the present and a lot of clients are concerned with scarring when removed for career choices, etc. I believe that consultations are a great way to approach it, I have found the clients have been much happier and committed to the healing process. I do believe that the price plays a huge part as well. I do believe $75 for the first with a discount for multiples is appropriate and that removals and adjustments should be offered at no charge. As far as healing times, roughly 2-6 months is what I estimate to clients and suggest leaving the initial end (disk, gem, etc.) on for at the very least two months.

  2. loved this one!!!
    we’re thinking of bring in some anchors to our shop, so it was really nice to read this and get feedback from other piercers around.

  3. I can’t have microdermals, and it breaks my heart. I’ve tried three times (once next to my ear, twice on my forehead between my eyebrows) and all three times they’ve sat beautifully for about six weeks, then infected, tilted, and suddenly the foot’s growing out of my skin. But given that I can’t keep an eyebrow piercing either, I’m going to assume it’s my body being overly vigilant, and not anything to do with microdermals themselves, or my piercer’s skill at installing them. And I count myself very lucky that they’ve left near-invisible scars.

    Still – a third eye piercing remains my dream. A transdermal implant might be my only option.

    Good article!

  4. I’ve had 4 microdermals, 2 on my temples and 2 on my forehead. One of the forehead ones started to reject after it had been bumped too many time by hats/hands/etc. I removed them myself (like steve said, using a needle to cut the remaining tissue) with minimal scarring which was good, and the two in my temples are staying strong despite still hitting them all the time. I think that the longer stem is the trick.

    One thing that wasn’t talked about, punch&taper vs needles. All 4 of my micros were done with needles, but it seems that most other people do punch and taper…is there a difference?

  5. I’ve had 8 microdermals, and every one of them rejected. They were all on my nape/upper back… I was intending to continue them down my back, but I got so pissed off with them that I gave up. They tilted, they had major buildup, and they lasted about two months. I’m a stomach sleeper, so for the most part I managed to avoid snagging them on anything. Half of them were popped out easily (they had the solid base, I think from IS), and the other half had to be cut out. I don’t think I’ll ever get another one. They were way too finicky, and beyond not worth the money for me.

  6. I was hesitant to comment in this discussion, but, I feel that I should since I’ve had “anchors” in. I had mine put in by Didiers, the same kid that pud Steve’s in, not too long after Steve’s were done actually… I was really excited about having these “implanted” since it was far less evasive than an actual transdermal implant. I had them placed in my head, like horns. After four days of being in the most excruciating pain of my life I removed them myself. I “sanitized” a pair of brand new needle-nose-pliers the best that I could and I stood in front of my mirror and ripped them out of my head by myself. Let it be known, Didiers did me a favor by putting them in, and I am in NO way bashing him him here. I do think that we set them on a nerve ending, tendon, or muscle, because I couldn’t smile, blink, furrow my eye brows, frown, or talk without them being in constant pain.So I tried to heal them, and said “FUCK IT, they have to go!” I let the tissue calm down after I removed them, and I returned to let Didiers put them back in, about a 1/4″ off of where they were. They healed fine after the “re-implantation,” and they stayed happy for almost two years… Until one day they woke up PISSED, and stayed that way. I tried everything to keep them happy, I put small discs on them, then smaller, eventually removing the discs and only wearing the “implants,” until they were angry just being under my skin. So, I had Steve try to remove them, but they were stuck in my head. We used a 10g needle to cut around the base and pry the left one out, but the right one was staying… We then called Sque3z (Squirm) in, and he propped one foot up on me and held the mosquito’s, YANKED the fucking thing out along w/the tissue that it had attached itself to. We then had to scalpel off the exposed tissue from my head, about a 1/4″ worth of nerve, muscle, or tendon, or whatever it was. Long story short… I can feel tingling in the back of my head when I touch the place where the “anchor” was on the right side of my head. I also have a small bump from one of a few scenarios: 1) scar tissue under my skin. 2) reshaping of my skull do to a foreign object being attached to a major nerve, muscle, or tendon (which is what it feels like, kind of like a LARGE calcium deposit on a bone). or 3) mangled tissue from RIPPING the stupid things out of my head, TWICE.
    I can say this, however, I will NEVER put those things back in my head, and perhaps not anywhere else on my person. I have seen more negative reactions as opposed to positive when it comes to these pieces of shit… Mine, Steve’s, Eric’s, and a long list of friends that I won’t mention here.
    Thank you, Robbie.

  7. splanchna- as much as reading that made me want to throw up, im very glad i did. i’ve been considering microdermal horns for quite some time now. i realize that obviously no two experiences are alike, but this is definitely somethng for me to think over, especially seeing as im still not 100% whether or not to do it. thank you for sharing XD

  8. I’ve only had the one on my sternum so far. It was placed almost nine months ago by Mr. Decker with a punch, and the foot is a piece IIRC. It seems like the stem is sticking out more than it used to, but is not displaying any other signs of rejection. I bike daily with a messenger bag with a strap that rests a couple of inches above it. I’ve snagged it a couple of times (boy did I howl!) and bumped it pretty good when I got hit by a truck in December, but it seems to be holding. If it rejects at this point it’ll be because of something stupid I do to it, but I knew that going in. Education + common fucking sense can go a long way with the average client.

  9. I believe microdermals, are way better then the new fad of skin divers.. those litttle suckers scare the crap out of me. A spike as a base? what happens if it is hit?

    We charge $80 for dermals , free service for life and free removal.


  10. So which do you guys think is the better installation method? Needle or punch? Anyone experience less rejection with either?

  11. They work bad as a fad or on-a-whim piercing.

    I think people need to really be aware of everything that comes along with getting microdermals. When I got mine, I did a lot of research about them. Unfortunately they rejected the first time then titled when they were reset so I had to get them taken out twice, but because I kept them clean and watched them, so my scars aren’t bad at all.

    What I appreciated was how honest my piercer was about them when I got them. And she guaranteed them for life so .. awesome. 🙂 I’ll definitely be trying again.

  12. A local shop is offering microdermals.
    They claim they do them with scalpels, because it “heals easier” and “doesn’t bruise”. They won’t say who makes the jewellery either, and they charge $40 each…
    Anyone hear of dermals being done-put in, with scalpels?
    I’m just like, WTF!

  13. Why does it seem like every body AFTER “graelston” makes NO sense? Does this forum just regress after I post or something?

  14. I have had 6 microdermals performed on me, all done by Lori St.Leone. 3 were placed with a punch, and 3 were done with a needle. 2 have been removed so far. The oldest I have is 2 years old and is very well anchored (sternum). The oldest I have that has not lifted at all is around 1.5 years old and is as flush and perfect as the day I got it (third eye)!

    I’m not a fan of microdermal removal being done with a scalpel, quite simply because it is so simple to remove with a needle! I would not be impressed if someone tried to remove my micros with a scalpel!

  15. #15: Maybe it’s because your giant wall of text puts people off. Try paragraphs sometime.

  16. I’ve currently got four microdermals on my sternum, originally put in by Brian Decker about eight months ago. Out of the four, I’ve had to have one redone when my piercer noticed it was threatening to reject, had one ripped out at a show then successfully redone with pretty minimal scarring, and had no problems with the other two (besides occasional soreness/irritation after a particularly zealous hug or something!). I believe they’re Anatometal, but don’t quote me on that; they look beautiful and despite the occasional bit of trouble, are one of my favorite mods 🙂

  17. I have two microdermals on my collarbone, I think one of them is infected but I can’t seem to clear it up by any means — Its got a purple mark that comes from it and spreads outward (I think in the direction of the foot).
    At any rate they’ve been in place for nearly a year. They’re not a bad piercing, but they’re not easy to keep. Just this week one got caught in the stitching on my school shirt – it hurt like mad, I had to get my mate Becky to unhook it.
    I’d say that if you want them, be prepared to take care of them for the long term, because slight trauma can easily disrupt them and cause problems (in my experience). But they’re worth it for the aesthetic =]

  18. Please explain this “tilt” to me?
    I have 2 MD’s….. and they were doing sooo good and randomly out of no where one of then seemed to be pointint upwards a little bit…. there on my chest in a tattoo so im carefull the way i sleep so they dont press together and such… should i talk to my piercer about this tilting???? whats the deal????
    Please let me know…..
    [email protected]


  19. What people don’t understand Dermal Anchors are very sensitive to snagging, pulling, and being hit/bumped.

    Regardless of method of installation, Needle, Punch, punch and taper or even a scalpel, is the abuse and they dont like it.

    The majority of anchors removed were caused by human error, crappy knock off jewelry with little sharp ends still on the jewelry from being drilled and not properly inspected and polished. And you know what company’s are out there making these and what shop love using them.

    Regardless removal has been easy for me i simply use a hemostat and put tension on the skin closest to the heal of the jewelry and just move the jewelry forward then back to loosen the hole then pull on on the heal and let it slid out on it’s own.

    IS & Wildcat pieces come out like butta, Anatometal with a larger gap have a tendency to need a little more nudge to take out.

    I have never needed a needle or a blade to remove a dermal anchor.

    In Los Angeles there are only a few of us that are known for our methods of installing dermal anchors with better quality jewelry.

    Sorry no $30.00 dermal anchors here

    Basic dermal anchor disc $80.00

  20. I’ve had a total of 4 of them. The 2 in my sternum both started rejecting, so I had to remove them. One after a month, the other after about 6-8 months. I currently have them on the sides of my neck, since august-ish. I’ve re-set one of them myself a million times, and it’ll be okay for a month or so, but then it’ll get knocked or snagged on my hair, and lean. The other one’s okay, but it has started to feel a bit loose, although it’s not visibly tilted. I don’t know that I will get any more done if/when I have to have these removed. I love the idea, and the options it allows for creativity, but I don’t know that I’d want any more. The scars from the set in my sternum ae tiny. They are slightly raised, and circular, but not even as an eraser.

  21. Spending the day visiting at (shop name) a few years ago, watching at least five “office girl” types come in and want “them jewels in my titties” and seeing them leave 15 mins later with an anchor sort of turned my opinion to negative towards the process.

    Nothing against my friends at (shop name)- everyone has to make a living and I’m sure doing navel after navel gets annoying… but seeing people who don’t seem to understand the permanence of something like an anchor getting them because it’s the new what’s next bothered me.

    Fast forward a few months and I had to remove one from my roommate’s chest and that little bugger was IN there. Despite some of the foot sticking out of the body (it was rejecting) it took brute force to remove it. Here was a girl with heavy tattoo coverage and a lot of piercings, and she “didn’t know it would be this hard to remove”.

    So it’s like everything…. a little discretion and caution and a lot of education. But as it is… I could do without them.

    (ps: I removed the name of the shop so as not to spotlight someone)

  22. #17 Dimruthien, I totally agree. I was studying and typing @ the same time and the couple of seconds I need to make the text in to paragraphs went in to reading 🙂

    I was trying to read three different things, one one the computer and two different books. Looks like I won’t be trying that again 🙂

  23. I’m curious, Ryan — did I read that correct that you’re having a better success rate with longer post lengths? We’ve seen exactly the opposite here actually. When The 1/16″ rise microdermals started being offered as an alternative to the 3/32″ it was a complete gods-send, especially for areas like the face where the skin tends to be a lot thinner.

    I’m also curious as to how those look healed. I have a set of the original 3/32″ anchors next to my eyes that have been there for 3ish years if my math is correct (put in around November of ’06) and the post length is definitely a little too long for the area because the skin is so thin. Any ends I wear have a ‘floating’ look to them instead of being nice and flush with the skin.

    Just wondering if I mis-read that, or if you really are having a better success rate with longer posts versus shorter ones… Feel free to IM me instead of responding here if you see this and would rather not post technical info in a public forum.

  24. Microdermal procedures are extremely interesting to watch. I watched Ryan do two on my sister’s stomach and it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. I did vomit after, but that’s okay!

  25. I currently have two micro dermals, one in each wrist, with another 4 along each arm to come. i paid $120 aud for the first and $100 for the second. i’ll get the next 8 in one sitting, meaning an awesome overall price. the more the merrier!
    I’ve had the current two for almost 6 months and have had barely any issues.
    i tried bandaging for the first two weeks on the first micro dermal, and then no bandaging on the second.
    i’d have to say the first one is in absolutely perfect condition and has never had a single issue. the second might be the tiniest bit raised, but probably only noticeable compared to the first one, and has been agrivated acouple times; but still, in fantastic condition as well.
    i’m very much a believer in bandaging up for the first week or so to help prevent rising.
    i feel pretty positive about micro dermals, as long as they’re put in by a good piercer with good quality jewelry and the wearer keeps up care and maintenance.

  26. I like to expland on my early response.. Should sleep a tad more befor typing.

    When we were introduce to dermals a fellow piercer and I decided to give each other one.. Acid test. To see what the pain like and how they healed. Both in the exact same spot. Mine lasted around 8months heal beautifully, but every “Tom, Dick and Harry” believed it was there right just to poke it. At first sight..

    It started to grow out, so decided to remove it using a splinter probe(pretty much a mini needle) After 6months I can’t even see the scar anymore.

    Where as my mate lasted longer, but he purposely tried and kill his dermal. Did everything you could imagine to it to see the limits of it. In the end alcohol fueled nite won and it riped out( don’t recommend putting it though hell) And his is a horrible scar.

    My studio offers dermals at $80 and discounted after that. I forwarn people to be very careful and think of where they want it. And to just realise it actually there. We also offer free removal and re-sitting if possible. Needles is my prefer method of removal. Less damage.

    Then on the flip side of it all. We have a studio in town that is offering Skin Divers as dermals(dermals for dummies) for $75. And they aren’t allowed to remove the jewellery for either dermals or skin divers(franchise chain cosmetic place) Due to company policy.

    Also i would like to ask what people view is on age restrictions for them? I only offer to people of 18years and up?


  27. I’ve had 4 microdermals and I had to have them removed for surgery. They were all cut out with a scalpel and I didn’t think it was so bad. It did hurt a lot more than putting them in but it was nothing traumatic. Mine healed without any problems and I only have 2 out of 4 scars from them. I think they are worth it.

  28. I really enjoyed this Question! Great piece.
    I’m happy to say that the MD I had put in by Meg is by far the happiest of the ones I’ve had 🙂
    Thanks for this piece!

  29. so far ive had ten different anchors on my face but twelve all together. three under each eye to my temples. i had the ones on my temples for a good year or so and they never gave me problems with healing. Afterwards i noticed i was getting light headaches a few times a week. i dealt with it for about another year until just recently cutting them out. two never healed on my face and ended up cutting four out in one day. the ones under the eyes are the ones with three holes and have been there for three years with no problems. the one on my madison is one from with one large hole. i have had complications with it for the past three months but after much care its finally in my skin without a problem. which is odd cause the ones on my face were also from with the one large hole which led me to believe that it was the jewelry. who knows. i also had one on the tip of my ass crack which annoyed the hell out of me and started to reject within a month. I gladly cut that one out with instant gratification. Now i have three under my eye again and the one closest to my eye is having some complications. im pretty much done with anchors because of the scars its left on my face which now im just going to tattoo over the scars so you can never see it again! 70-80$ is for an anchor at my shop and removal will always be free.

  30. I’ve kept two microdermals in my inner wrist for nearly a year now thanks to Brian Decker
    It was done after I spent years trying to heal surface bars in there and they kept rejecting due to my own carelessness in knocking and catching them, combined with the fact that I just don’t heal piercings well.
    So far, the microdermals have been the least invasive and easiest to heal.

  31. Alan Vedge: I still use the 3/32″ rise for the vast majority of my anchors. I use the longer stem posts on areas like a 5/32″ for lower navel placement, or 1/8″ for thick skinned napes. I’ve also been putting anchors over rejection marks, I always add a little stem length for those placements. I’d say i still use 3/32″ for about 75% of my MD’s though.

  32. This really was interesting to read!

    I have two myself. One in my finger on my right hand, I’ve had that almost a year now, no problems what so ever, the piercer was hesitant to do it because how easy it would get knocked, but trusted me to look after it. Went back after 4/5 months of having it and he was quite pleased with how it healed. I have no idea if he has done this placement on anyone else. I also have another at the bottom on my neck/beginning of my chest. Again, no problems.

  33. I think that while the design seems to have not changed much, vast improvements have been made by the reputable companies in terms of jewelry. Didier Suarez was the first person to introduce me to microdermals and since then I know the hundreds he put in people in the beginning have helped IS develop changes to the base (although not very visible to the naked eye). Didier also helped develop certain techniques for insertion and troubleshooting for problems none of us knew would exist. I see a definite improvement in insertion and healing rates. Especially from my first attempts with the product to the work I do now. Personally I prefer the Anatometal design with the larger hole in the toe of the footing.

    I also have found that both Ryan and Alan are correct in their statements, the larger rises have been beneficial for “thicker” placements like lower backs, while the shorter rises seem incredibly helpful for “thinner” areas like facial tissue. All in all I would say the vast majority of them I use are 3/32″ rise though. I charge $85 including a flat disk, and make sure to go over permanence, removal procedures and scarring with the client beforehand. That’s a pretty important talk. I also find some major improvements with anchors over surface bars for a lot of placements. The facial tissue seems to be the hardest and one of the quickest healing (i.e. tissue growth through foot) for the ones I have had to remove, but I’ve never required anything more than a piercing needle and either hemos or maybe a threaded taper.

    Robbie: Have you thought about Mederma or Neosporin Scar Patch for the right one you removed? It could potentially help reduce the size of the scarring in that area. I could be wrong, but the likelihood of your bone being malformed from that little piece sitting between your connective and epidermis seems highly unlikely. It is most likely scarring, perhaps the regrown tissue grew sideways and longated when ripped out of your head with the anchor. New basal cells trying to close that all off would only add to the size of the mass and over time feel firm like a healed fistula. Just a hypothesis, having never noticed it in person.

  34. I’ve read a lot about placement and removal, but very little about aftercare. This question was posed above, but only replies regarding bandaging were brought up.

    H2Ocean is a product I’ve heard recommended, but I’ve read nothing about how it’s applied to a microdermal, how frequently, for how long, etc.

    I’ve had several inquiries from clients wanting single-point piercings; I have the tools and jewelry and even the H2Ocean, but have been reluctant to try them until I’ve read much more feedback and tried them on myself.

    There’s an unlicensed guy nearby who’s doing them like they’re going out of style, and it’s frustrating that I’m losing all this business to somebody who’s not playing by the rules – but I don’t want to soil my good reputation by doing a bunch of bad procedures before I know my shit.

    Roscoe at Johnson Tattoo

  35. Brett, I tried everything (this was a good two years or so ago that I removed them in permanence) and nothing seemed to work. I really like your med. terms too, they make me feel like I’m not the only person that can “speak in tongues.” I’ve considered that as a scenario, the scar tissue growing back improperly, minimal damage to nerve endings, tendons, etc. However, the damage done is not detrimental to every/any day life, it was simply consequential to the process of removal I think. However, I can feel the point where I was pierced any time somebody touches the middle, point of piercing, or the back of my head. I can also feel sensation in the back of my head whenever somebody touches the area where I was pierced… Whatever though, no big deal. I’m not upset, nor am I complaining, I’m just presenting my own personal experience w/the two times I had them “implanted.” Thank you Didiers for letting me be a part of this and I promise that I have NO hard feelings towards it whatsoever, I swear! Peace!

  36. I have had good experiences with the anchors. There has been little rejection except in the arms, as I expected.

    Scarring is minimal, after removal. I prefer the Anatometal anchors. They are more difficult to remove, but I like the way they stabilize in the skin. I have only used the IS and Anatometal.

    Needle insertion – 12g. I modified some tools to hold the disks ( thanks John Lopez). I also designed a type of shoe horn that lets me drop the heel right into place. Anyone care to try one? Let me know: [email protected].

    My God I work cheap. I thought I was fair at 35 bucks. For that price I spend alot of time discussing the ins and outs from procedure to healing to removal and complications ( a session with me is usually 20 – 30 minutes plus.) I remove them and change out tops for free. I guess money has never been much of a motivator. I catch hell for undercharging all the time. I can’t help it. I do this work for the smiles. Now, if only I could pay my bills with smiles……
    Oh yeah, I determine length by pinching the area and using a stem half of that thickness. Works well.

  37. I would just like to underscore the comments about impact on the microdermal. I had two set as eyes on a skull tattoo on my upper arm. It looked great, and eventually it healed pretty well.
    The problem was that every time it got pressure on it, someone putting an arm on my shoulder, a backpack strap rubbing against it, even taking off my jacket, it would flare up and hurt like hell. Even sleeping next to someone became a hassle.
    Having sex meant having a new panic zone between my shoulder and my elbow. Any time it would be touched I would tart worrying that it would lead to the person touching my microdermals.
    So eventually I took it out (didn´t hurt much and the scars look great). Not worth it. I´m sure it could have worked if I was planning on living celibately and had issues about people touching my body, but I don´t really want a mod that gets in the way of me living my life. Just my opinon of course, but when people ask me about microdermals I always tell them it´s not worth it. I´m glad i did it, but I wouldn´t do it again until there´s a solution where the microdermal becomes an integrated part of you body.

  38. We have done many microdermals over the last year or so and have had very few problems. We charge £40- £45 depending on where they are placed. At first we tried them on ourselves to see how they worked and healed. We find using smaller dermal punches work best, the jewellery is a little harder to get seated but sits better after and there is less chance of it popping out. We use the dermals with the larger hole. I have 3 between my shoulders in a line and they healed with less problems than some of my other basic piercings! They have remained flat and I rarely catch them. We remove micros for free and of the ones which have rejected or have been removed as people decided to have them out, we have had very minimal scarring. Much less in fact than rejecting surface bars, eyebrow bars and erl bars.
    We prefer them to surface bars, but we always stress that it is a more permenent procedure. And we explain removal should the need arise.
    Aftercare wise, we sometimes dress the implant but only for that first few hours. We believe the piercings need to breathe. We stress that the first 3 weeks are absolutely crucial to the healing and to pop in any time for checkups. We recommend salt water solution (1/8 to 1/4 sea salt to half a cup of boiled water) with 2-3 drops of tea tree oil in to clean with. We advise dipping a cotton wool ball in and giving the implants a good soak as hot as they can stand the water. After the first week or so we tell them to flatten out the wool and get under the disk. We say around 3 months for settling /healing time. Piercings are funny things though and there is no hard and fast rule for healing times- varies from person to person.
    Overall we like them and think it opens up more possibilities for placement than surface bars. Some people may have bad experiences but isn’t it the same for every piercing?

  39. Does any of you guys use microdermals jewelries from We here at Krazykats has been using them for several months and the results are very positive. Not many people in Charlotte, NC have heard of microdermal/dermal anchor so our prices are still fairly low ($50 for one and $80 for both with steel flat disc, if they want jewel top, there will be $5 each since thats the price we sell per jewel top) and use dermal punch and/or needles. We also offer free removal and give people vitamin E oil capsules to help reducing scars. For a continuous care and free consultation when problems rises until people no longer want microdermals, I’d say our prices are pretty good… Krazy Kats

  40. we’ve had great success with anchors at our shop… i think a lot of it is the actual anchors we use are the best you can get.. all titanium with a two sided foot.. we get ours from metal mafia, since we’ve been doing them we’ve only had 1 come back in that was starting to reject.. and thats just cause it was our other piercers first one.. he just didnt get it in all the way.. otherwise.. no problems, i push those over surface piercings all day .. and we remove them for free too but i’ve only had to remove one and it was because of a work situation..

    two thumbs up from me and twisted ink

  41. Have 3 currently – started with one which got ripped out. $120 AUDfor my first, got knocked out at a party – small mild scarring but all good.

    $300AUD for the next 3 along my right collar bone, just under a month old currently and looking great no redness or anything after the first week, outer one (right ontop of the bone) is a little raised so always careful with it, but other two sit awesome and flush – ive had next to no trouble with these guys, and plenty of boys cuddle up on my chest without irritating them.

    I love em alot – and think they are great even in their pernament nature.


  42. I have done a lot of micro dermals and have had a mix of results. But I found it come down to placement and how the client looks after them.

    Saying that I dont like doing them that much after using wildcats skin divers. They sit flusher, they work better in high movent areas ( chest, back, wrist, hands etc) and if by some chance they get knocked out you can quite easily pop them back in. I have done a lot and with at least a 95% succes rate they are my choice over micro dermals. The only draw back is not being able to change the ends but in a lot of ways thats better because it means the client isnt going to be stuffing around with them.

  43. My results with microdermals have been great. I would say that Im close to 90% success rate. THe only problems I had was when I first started using them, the rise length was a bit tricky at first. And since in the beggining there were not a whole lot of options with rise length, we probably all had that problem at one point or another. In the reseating department, I usually chose just to remove them and then let the area heal and just redo it. I do not use scalpels to remove them either, the massage method works well for me. sometimes they need to be coaxed with a needle, but i can usually just finesse them out.
    I love microdermals, and I cant wait to see the next big thing for us. Oh wait, I forgot about Skindivers. I fucking hate those things. They are probably the worst idea I have ever heard of, besides Ben Triggs version of the microdermal.
    There is my 2 cents. Thanks for reading.

  44. I’ve so far had two microdermals. I found that my md below my navel healed very well, there was no redness or swelling. Infact it “looked” fully healed after just one week, I compared it to a friend who had had two wrist md’s done a week earlier and the differences were incredibly noticable.
    My 2nd md is on my nape. It is just over a week old, and I have to say, even with primary problems I’ve had (wasn’t set it place properly, was tilted from day one – it took the piercer ten minutes to get the jewellery in so this shouldn’t have been the case if due care had been taken) it’s looking much better now. I had to push incredibly hard in order for the md to starting healing flat and every so often I put a plaster on it to sleep, just in case.
    I think md’s are perfect for those who want surface piercings, but don’t want to retire them once they’ve starting rejecting. I know for a fact, that if I indeed got a surface piercing then I’d wait till the last minute to remove it, possibly causing a lot of scaring – worse than a md would cause.
    Advances are always being made in the piercing industry, and I’m sure there will be a new craze in the future.

  45. I have my cleavege done and it’s only around 2 days old and I noticed it’s a little tilted. Is it from the placment it’s been this way since it went in!!! Just curious!
    I have been doing the band aid thing tryin to set it flat!

  46. Alright, so I’ve had microdermals in my cheeks( not under my eye on my cheek bone, exactly where a “standard” cheek piercing would be) all was well for the past few months till I noticed that it was tilting and tilting bad, also has rejected enough that if i were to pull it alittle bit to harder that bad boy is gonna come out.
    My main question, because I’ve never had to remove an achor before is how do i do it. One nice thing is that my base has no holes its a solid base. I’m just wondering if theres any easy tricks on getting them out.

  47. Its really interesting to read about microdermals and each piercers success rate and what not.
    I personally think its more-so to do with aftercare compaired to the actual procedure (in saying that though, i’ve seen some shocking procedures).

    I’ve got 5 microdermals located on my chest/colar bones and i’ve never had a problem with rejection, swelling, infection etc. I think the only problem i’ve found was that my dermal second from the bottom (located smack in the middle of my chest) has gotten ripped up by seatbelts and has probably a 1mm rise above my skin?
    Luckly i saw the problem was it was happpening and have managed to massage it in more then what it was originally.

    But i was reading about the aftercare of the microdermals and reading that you guys only really recommend 1 – 3 days. I wore patches over mine for at least 3 months +, i guess it might of been to do with the placement i was so afraid of clothing ripping them up, or seatbelts. It appears to have worked for me as 4 of them are flush and like i said before the 5th one is just ever so slightly up. Also, my dermal ages range as well from being over 2 years old to 4 months old.

  48. I have four microdermals from my neck to my chest. Three of them is swollen with pus. What does that mean? Are they infected? Do I need to get them taking out? I have had them in for two weeks and it just starting swelling and pussing. Help me

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