The Pedagogy Of Dermal Punching: Everything You Need To Know

The term ‘Body Modification’ is itself pretty scary and has negative implications for the ones who have no idea about what it is really about. Just like tattoos, people with any sort of body modification can be easily judged and put down by the ‘normal people out there. However, the truth is that body modification has been a part of our civilization since time being and rather than seeing it in the negative light, it was something to be proud of. In every human race, class, gender, and no matter what part of the world they belonged to, humans have experiences body modifications in one way or another. But, the reason for each set was always different. It could be anything from social status, wealth, and group distinction. Some also take part in it because of deeper significances related to spiritual or religious matters. For example, in ancient African cultures, when a rite was completed, it was denoted by putting scars all over the body by the elders of the group and endured by the young ones. The marks were rather a thing to be proud of than something which could be hidden from. On the other hand, some communities use modifications for beautification purposes. It is done by both genders according to different beauty standards that their community follows.

Now that we have briefed you about what and how body modifications work in our society, it is time to discuss how did it came to being and to what extent do people go for such changes.


It is rather naive to say that piercing is something that came into existence more recently. As a fashion trend, yes, it might have but piercings have been a part of our culture for a long time. It also has had various significances, or meanings for different communities that came to light with legends, myths, and fables. Even the placements of the piercings were important. Nose piercing is one of the most common forms of body piercing and has existed for 4,000 years now. It started in the Middle East but continued in countries like India and the trend grew up in the 16th century and has spread all over the world today. You would be surprised to know that both nose and ear piercings have been discussed in the Bible (Genesis 24:22, Isaiah 3:21). Piercings on different parts of the body are now more common than it has ever been and is practiced rather unconventionally. Lip piercings in the form of enlarged piercings or huge disk-like objects are practices in countries like Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America as a form of beauty standard. The piercings are all rage these days even in the west too but the primary focus is beauty and aesthetics or following some kind of movement rather than any other religious, or cultural purposes.

Scarification & Branding

Scarification came into being because of the dark-skinned people for whom tattooing was not effective. The reason was that their skin had a lot of melanin and any tattoo was not visible. There are even people who practice it till now. Such communities include people from Papua New Guinea’s Sepik region where the people are referred to as “crocodile people”, The aboriginal tribes of Australia, and the people from Ethiopia called Karo. But we are surely more people practice scarring besides these tribes. In reality, scarification is just one of the processes in the rites and rituals that they follow.

Today in the West, not many people practice scarring because tattoos are much wider in trend and with the advent of white ink tattoo which is visible even on the dark skin. However, some people still practice it which includes the devotees. The healing procedure of scarification has less to do with pleasing aesthetically rather than a sanctimonious procedure and in addition to this, the healing process is rather painful and takes a lot of time. That is probably the main reason why scarification did not ever get as much preference as the tattoo.


Implanting is the process of surgically putting some material inside your body, beneath the skin to enhance its visual and aesthetic outlook. While it is rather a new procedure that involves new technologies, beading or pearling is a common implanting procedure that was practiced by seamen in the South Pacific and Yakuza for hundreds of years. It involves genital beading and the history of it is rather unknown. It was also extremely popular among the prisoners of the Soviet Union and many other parts of Europe. Although its popularity has been lessened with time, some people still do practice it with Teflon and silicone beads along with ribs, which is a much safer option than the traditionally used organic implants. Other kinds of implants like breast, calf, bicep, and chin implants are fairly common amongst people for aesthetic reasons.

There are many forms of illegal practices that are also performed that are called the Transdermal Implants done by the “cutters” (which is the term for skilled but illegal practitioners that remain rather underground and work for a selected few.) Although it involves many dangers and is rather difficult to heal, it is still extremely popular among those who are obsessed with body modification. Recently, a new trend has been seen which is called Microdermal or “surface anchors” that can be achieved at almost any tattoo studio. These transdermal jewelry called the Microdermals are implanted right under the dermis with a simple procedure and a moderate pain tolerance level. The forms of these implants are metal mohawks of spikes, glimmering jewels, and gems that can be worn at any part of the body, and added ornaments to previously existing tattoos are some of the ways. But besides all this, these require a lot of care and you might not be able to adjust with it for a couple of weeks and therefore, it is not advisable for everyone.

So basically that is all that you have to know before we move further into something specific like dermal punching.

Dermal Punching

Dermal Piercings are known by some other names too like a single-point piercing because, as the name suggests, they do not have, unlike the usual jewelry, a separate exit, and entry point. The concerned person would just pierce a single hole so that the jewelry or the anchor, which is just 6 to 7 mm long, can be inserted into your dermis, which is also the middle layer of the skin. Then, whichever jewelry that you want is fixed on the top of it. The anchor serves as a base while the jewelry is put on the surface of your skin which makes the onlooker feel like you have beads under your skin.

The question that now arises is that how is a surface piercing different from a dermal piercing? Well, even if the jewelry is fixed on the surface of your skin, it does not mean that it is surface piercing. Unlike dermal jewelry, surface piercing has different entry and exit points. They are anchored with a different object, shaped like a barbell that is inserted underneath the skin too. And that’s exactly the difference between surface and dermal piercing.

So, you might be thinking that where all you get the dermal piercings for yourself? Well, a dermal piercing can be done on any part of the body as long as the surface of the skin is flat.

Where most people prefer to get them includes:

  • cheekbones
  • nape of the neck
  • chest
  • lower back
  • abdomen
  • thighs

But this list is not restrictive. You can get any area of your skin pierced as long as the skin is thick enough to hold the anchors.

Dermal Punching on Ear Lobes

Dermal Punching on ear lobes is definitely in trend, as evident from the pictures below, but it does not mean it is healthy to do so. The punch for dermal punching would destroy the ear and hence needle piercing is a better option when it comes to piercing on ears. You can also try and get needle piercing first and then gradually stretch the size of the hole. Dermal Punching also involves the removal of tissues which when performed on something as thin as earlobes, can make it even thinner. Of course, something like this should be avoided as it is much better to have more tissue on your ear lobe if you want to stretch them.

Dermal Punching on Ear Cartilage

It is still not safe to stretch the cartilage for more than a few gauges but dermal punching is rather a better option for people who want a bigger gauge on their cartilage. The difference between the smaller punches and the bigger punches is that smaller punches need that jewelry must be worn during the healing time, while the larger punches do not require jewelry and are okay to go once the bleeding has stopped.


With dermal procedures comes many risks because it is a large artificially induced hole in your body. The bleeding can be severe and must be given proper time to heal as jewelry can put a lot of pressure on the wound. The kind of people who would require extra caution is the ones who suffer from hemophilia or people with thin blood. They must consider consulting a doctor before they take any steps like that. Medical assistance must be taken if the bleeding is incessant for a long period.

The second kind of risk can be due to an infection that comes with the needles. You need to make sure that not only needles but the environment and the jewelry are sterilized too. Make sure that when you get any kind of body modification, the practitioner is skilled and licensed. While the hole of the needle piercing might fill, the dermal punching is a permanent thing because the skin removed is much larger in this case as compared to that in needle piercing.

What are the kinds of jewelry that can be used for this punching?

The type of jewelry that can be used depends on the way the piercing is done. The piercing can be done by using a needle or with the more advanced dermal punch. However, these are the kinds of jewelry that you can use:

  • Anchor: Any dermal piercing has to start with an anchor that is inserted underneath the skin. There are two kinds of anchors that have either a rounded base or a flat one.
  • Top: After the anchor, which works like a base for your jewelry, the professional will set the kind of jewelry that you want, for instance, metal studs or magnetic gems.
  • Diver: The first thing about the diver is that it is not interchangeable. They have pointed end with the jewelry that you like on the top. This kind of jewelry will be inserted with a dermal punch.
What are the materials that can be used for dermal jewelry? You can consider the following options for yourself:
  • Surgical titanium:  Choose titanium if you have sensitive skin. This metal is least likely to cause any irritation or inflammation.
  • Surgical stainless steel. Many people choose this as their piercing option and it is one of the most popular ones. It is considered hypoallergic but still, skin irritation is a possibility.
  • Niobium. Like stainless steel, it is also hypoallergic, but it can corrode.
  • Gold. When going with a gold option, choose a 14 carat yellow or white gold especially when you are in the healing stage. Gold higher than 18 carats is not long-lasting enough and the plated jewelry can easily cause infection or irritability to the skin.
Proper Cleaning Process:
Proper cleaning is necessary for your dermal punching.  There is a list of do’s and don’t that must be followed to evade any kind of infection:


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