Chest piercings are surface piercings, which means that the jewelry does not go through a flap of skin. Instead, the jewelry is anchored beneath the flat skin with a piece of jewelry called a microdermal implant. Microdermal jewelry, sometimes called a surface anchor or dermal anchor, has a single post that sits beneath the skin.
The tools used to insert a microdermal implant are the dermal punch and the hemostat. The piercer pinches a piece of skin and pushes the dermal punch, which looks similar to a cannula needle, into the pinched skin. He then lifts the skin using the foot of the surface anchor, which looks like a labret stud with a long oval back, and slides the foot of the anchor into the hole made by the dermal punch. Using a hemostat to hold the post of the anchor, he screws in the bead. The finished look is that of a jewel or bead floating on the surface of the skin.
The healing process for a microdermal implant is the same as for any other body piercing. You should soak the piercing twice a day using a saline solution made of sea salt and warm water, then immediately wash it with antibacterial or antimicrobial soap. Some piercing shops sell saline solution spray, but you can also make it yourself by using 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt to one cup of bottled water. Full healing time for a microdermal implant is six months to one year.
Surface piercings are more susceptible to rejection, or growing out through the skin. The pressure exerted on the jewelry by flat skin, as well as clothing rubbing up against your chest, makes healing a microdermal trickier than healing a piercing that goes through a flap of skin. Ideally, scar tissue will grow through the holes in the foot of the microdermal implant and hold it in place. Microdermal anchors are specially designed to minimize the chances of rejection, but they are not foolproof.
Other Locations For Microdermal Implants
Microdermal piercing procedure allows for new possibilities in facial modification. Common locations are the temples and between the eyes, where they resemble bindi. The nape of the neck is another body part commonly pierced with microdermals. Because of their small size on both the surface and underside of the skin, microdermals lend themselves well to cluster designs like stars and sunbursts. Anywhere your skin is flat is a potential candidate for microdermal implants.
Ann Jones has been writing since 1998. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies. Her journalistic work can be found in major magazines and newspapers. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing.