Let’s have a look at the most difficult of all piercings to heal, a surface piercing.
What Is A Surface Piercing?
Surface piercings are any body piercings that take place on the surface of the body through areas which are not particularly concave or convex, where the piercing canal transverses a surface flap of skin, rather than running completely through a piece of body tissue from one side to another. A surface bar follows the plane of skin, while a standard piercing is pierced through the plane.
Basically this is any piercing that enters and exits the skin on the same side of the body.
Surface piercings have the highest rate of rejections out of all other other piercings. Your body sees the jewelry as a foreign object and slowly pushes it out of your skin as it would a splinter. These piercings slowly migrate to the surface of the skin where they eventually get so close to the surface that they rip out leaving a permanent scar. Few surface piercings last more then a few months, although you can maximize your chances of healing several different ways.
To understand why surface piercings fail you must first understand how the body heals itself. Your body views any piercing as a foreign object trying to penetrate its defenses. This happens as soon as the cells surrounding the object get disrupted from their natural life process. Healing a surface piercing is actually just freezing the natural rejection process of your body.
Surface piercings will start to grow out, or reject, from the outer edges slowly in towards the center of the jewelry. Key signs of rejection are redness, swelling, tenderness, and gooey discharge.
Keep in mind that even after years of a surface piercing appearing to be “healed” a simple bump could start the rejection process right where it left off.
Surface piercings must be done with the proper jewelry. Never use a straight barbel for this type of piercing as your body will almost instantly reject it. There are specialized types of jewlery specifically for surface piercings.
Surface piercings should only be done with “surface bars”. Surface bars are staple shaped barbels that almost completely eliminate up-pressure on your skin, one of the main causes of rejection. This jewelry can also minimize motion to the piercing which is the second leading cause of rejection.
If the piercing shop you goto does not carry surface bars you do not want them to pierce you. There is absolutely no reason to get a piercing if your body is going to reject it right away eventually leaving a scar.
Long Term Care
Surface piercings are not a “get it and forget it body mod”. Since a healed surface piercing can almost instantly start the rejection process at any time if there is any trauma to the pierced area. This can be caused by something as simple as a bump against a table.
You don’t want to get a surface piercing somewhere that is high motion and will inevitably put undo stress on the piercing. Areas like this include, but are not limited to, the breastplate, wrist, forearms, and legs.
I Still Want A Surface Piercing
If you insist on getting a surface piercing you must do your homework. This is not a procedure for an inexperience piercer. Make sure the shop carries surface bars in stock and take a look at their sample books. If they don’t have sample pictures, or you don’t like what you see, get out of there fast and find a real piercing shop capable of this operation.