We are booking appointments. Tell us your idea!

Your cart

Your cart is empty

Body Piercings

What’s the Difference Between Surface & Dermal Piercings?

Dermal and surface piercings are sometimes confused due to their inherent similarities. Both are body piercings that sit on your skin and can give the appearance of the jewellery floating in place on its own. As well, they both are capable of being placed on just about any flat surface on your body. But they are different in both the appearance and the piercing technique. So if you’re planning to get a surface or dermal piercing, it’s important to know the differences between them.


1. The Piercing Tool

At the core of a number of the differences between surface and dermal piercings is the difference in tools. A surface piercing using a traditional piercing needle to create the holes. Dermals, on the other hand, use a dermal punch to make the hole. Dermal punches take a high degree of skill and should only be used by professional piercers.

2. The Holes

The difference in the tools used leads to a big difference in technique. With a dermal punch, the artist pierces a single hole as the jewellery goes into the piercing, but has no exit hole. A surface piercing is more like traditional piercings. The piercing uses a needle to make an entrance and an exit hole when inserting the jewellery. It’s important for the piercer to get the right depth. They want to keep the piercing near the surface (hence the name), but need to penetrate deep enough that the body will not reject the piercing.

3. Anchor Type

The reason for the different number of holes is the different types of anchor. Simply enough, dermal piercings use dermal anchors.

Dermal Piercing Anchor

A dermal anchor sits under the skin so that only the piercing jewellery is exposed. Surface piercings have two holes because they use a surface barbell for an anchor. The barbell sits under the skin and only the ends are visible.

Our Favourite Piercing Aftercare

NeliMed Nelicleanse Piercing Aftercare

NeilMed Neilcleanse Piercing Aftercare

NeilMed Neilcleanse Piercing Aftercare saline spray helps in healing piercings. It is an isotonic, drug-free, preservative-free solution for cleaning your piercing during the healing period with no burning or stinging to irritate the pierced area. The sterile saline solution can be used as part of your healing process with any fresh piercing, including ear piercings, nostril piercings and belly button piercings. Neilcleanse sprays in any direction for easy use without touching your piercing.

Get Yours Today

4. Size & Jewellery

Another difference is in the size of jewellery worn in each piercing. Typically, dermal piercings will use smaller jewellery. Surface piercings, on the other hand, can support larger pieces of jewellery. In both, the types of jewellery appear relatively similar on the outside. But surface piercings are actually barbells, and the dermals are typically studs or balls.

Surface Piercing Overview

A surface piercing is more similar to a typical piercing. The piercer uses a needle to make an entrance and exit hole. They then insert a surface barbell as an anchor and close it off with the jewellery end.

Dermal Piercing Overview

Dermals are more unique in their technique. The piercer uses a dermal punch to “punch” a single hole in the skin. They then insert a dermal anchor into the hole. The jewellery is inserted into the anchor, giving it the appearance of floating on the skin.

Getting a Body Piercing in Downtown Toronto

Both surface and dermal piercings require a professional touch. Because of their placement, they have a higher chance of rejection than other piercings. A professional piercing and shop help to ensure a successful piercing. Chronic Ink Tattoo has some of the most experienced body piercers in Downtown Toronto. Our piercing shop places your safety first and follows strict sanitary procedures. To book your next body piercing contact us today.
Previous post
Next post