Body piercings come in various forms and dimensions, from belly button piercings to nasal piercings, to ear cartilage piercings, the list is practically endless. For the most part, these individual piercings types are so distinct and unique that it’s hard confuse one with the other – no one will mistake a belly button piercing with a nasal piercing. Other times however, they tend to look and feel alike.

Dermal and surface piercings are one piercing pair that fall into the ‘too similar for comfort’ category, and if you’re a piercing newbie you’d be forgiven for confusing them both. But are they actually different? Short answer; Yes!

  • Surface piercings

Technically speaking, surface piercings like most other body piercings are two points piercings. What this means is that they pass through the area to be pierced twice; the first point being when the piercing needle goes in and the second one happening when it comes out. In the end, there are two piercing bores, and your choice body jewelry should pass through both openings to stay in place.

Surface piercings are distinct from traditional two points piercings in that while the needle passes through and through a body part in the later, for surface piercings, the needle only passes through the ‘surface’ of the piercing area.

  • Dermal piercings

Dermal piercings look a lot like surface piercings, but that’s about where the similarities stop. Here the piercing has only one bore, the entry point. So unlike surface piercings where the piercing needs an exit point to enable it anchor body jewelry – like a safety pin clipping on a paper – dermal piercings are anchored directly to the skin – much like a nail that’s nailed into place. In effect, surface piercings are single-point piercings

Dermal piercings jewelry remain firmly placed because the piercings reach the dermal layer of the skin.

Which is recommended

Surface piercings strain the layer of skin that as functions as their anchor points and as such, rejection rates are considerably high. With dermal piercings the strain put on by your body jewelry is transmitted to the more robust dermal layer of the skin. In practice, this means, lesser pressure on the piercing area, subdued inflammation and relatively lesser pain. All this translates to better healing times and lower rejections rates.

On the plus side, surface piercings outclass dermal piercings when it comes to the cost factor. Dermal piercings are generally more expensive procedures to undertake. Available body jewelry for this category of piercings are also costlier relative to surface piercings. It doesn’t end there, dermals are also more tricky to maintain (at least in the first few weeks), requiring a detailed aftercare regimen that’ll definitely set you back by a few bucks.

The good thing, however, is that if choose and invest in dermals you’re getting longevity and frankly speaking, a wider variety of body jewelry options that are well worth the effort. Surface piercings might be cheap and easy to maintain, but sometimes, the best path is the one that guarantees peace of mind not minding if it’s expensive.