Surface Piercing

pierced girl

Surface piercing is one of the biggest trends seen in body modification today. With only so many parts of the body available to pierce traditionally, enthusiasts have started looking for new ways to adorn themselves with metal.

What is a Surface Piercing?

A surface piercing is a body piercing that does not pass through a part of the body, such as an earlobe or nostril. Instead, these piercings are done through a flat part of your body's surface. Examples of this include nape piercings, which are done through the nape, or back, of your neck, and chest piercings. Almost any part of the body can have a surface piercing, although there may be problems with healing and rejection.

Piercing the Surface



When a piercing is to be done through a flat surface, the piercer (and client) must first decide what sort of jewelry will be used in the piercing. There are several different types of jewelry that can be used in this procedure, but some of them may lead to trouble. A typical curved barbell or nylon barbell may be used, but because of its shape and rigidity, this jewelry may migrate out of the piercing. Tygon jewelry, which is made from a flexible plastic tube with metal attachments at the end, is a better choice - but it can also migrate. Finally, there are surface bars, which are made of rigid materials such as stainless steel. While you might think this would be a bad choice for an easily migrating piercing, these bars are actually created for specific uses and body locations. This makes them less likely to come out of your skin.


When getting pierced in a surface area, your piercer has a few choices on how to make the "tunnel" that will hold your jewelry. The first way is to pierce traditionally, with a needle, the way you would pierce any body part (for example, the nose). This way can be successful, but tends to have a higher rejection rate due to the fact that the jewelry used in such piercings is not always optimal.


The best way to have a surface piercing done is by using the scalpelling method. This method uses a scalpel to create a pocket under the skin for your jewelry, and creates less stress on the area being pierced. Theoretically, this will reduce the chance of rejection. A surface bar or Tygon jewelry can then be threaded through this pocket to achieve the desired effect.

Rejection, Migration and Healing

Rejection,or migration, is a term used to describe what happens when your body realizes that a piercing is a foreign object and tries to force it out through your skin. Any piercing can migrate, but surface piercings tend to do so more frequently because there is more tension in this type of piercing and the body is more likely to be able to force out the jewelry.

Taking good care of your new piercing can help minimize the chance of migration. Be sure to follow the aftercare instructions given to you by your piercer, and choose a piercer who is experienced in surface piercing. Keep the area clean and away from friction if possible. The more rubbing and movement of the area, the more likely your jewelry will migrate. Also watch for signs of infection because, depending on the area pierced, these can become serious.

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