A few years ago, a new type of piercing began peppering the body mod world. Not quite a transdermal implant, not quite a dermal anchor, microdermals are the next step in the evolution of under the skin piercings.
The invention of transdermal piercing is credited to Steve Haworth, who was influential in perfecting the technique, and the jewelry, and did the first known transdermal implant – a “metal Mohawk” – on client Joe Aylward who kept his implants for almost a decade. The procedure has since become a very popular one, spawning an entirely new type of jewelry, and specialised tools. There are some heavy considerations to make about transdermal implants, however, and while serious, committed clients have no issue with them, others find it a bit much to take on.
An American piercing artist from the shop House of Color, Ben, had a close friend who was one of those people. Wanting a small implant near her eye, she encouraged him to come up with a new technique – transdermal implants tend to be a bit bulky, and require a fairly invasive and complex procedure, and she was reportedly not super stoked about having it done near her precious eyeballs. Ben eventually came up with a much smaller piece of jewelry that could be inserted using a normal piercing needle, and so, the dermal anchor was born.
Both styles have their pros and cons, and many piercers seemed aware that a hybrid may be in order. It’s unclear who came up with the idea first, but at some point, piercers began experimenting with taking flat, holed anchors, similar to those used in transdermal implants, and inserting them in much the same way as a dermal anchor. The result was the microdermal – a small, semi-permanent implant that can be placed almost anywhere on the body. Microdermals can be inserted with either a piercing needle or a dermal punch (though we at I-Kandy do them with needles exclusively – less trauma to the skin, and much less tissue is removed), and are not much more uncomfortable than a standard piercing, so clients get the permanent look of a transdermal (the result being a piece of jewelry that appears to screw right into your body), with the ease and comfort of a dermal anchor.