Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Dermal Disaster: My Dermals and Their Eventual Rejection
A few months ago I decided to get two microdermal piercings on my chest. Ever since I'd gotten my tattoos redone, I'd thought a little sparkle would be fun. Even though the piercings were quite painful, I loved them from the start. There was little to none swelling and the healing time was very short. Perfect right?
Everything I've read says the rejection rate for dermals is much lower than that of surface piercings. What I didn't know though was that dermals take a lot of babying. A LOT. I've had a surface piercing on the back of my neck for somewhere around eight years (maybe 9?). Even though the piercing sometimes gets irritated and will release a clear fluid, I've never had any problem with rejection or infection. I've always healed incredibly well and besides the obscene amount of coffee and soda I drink, I have a pretty good diet. For whatever reason though, I just couldn't keep my dermals happy.
Part of the reason is the location. It may not seem like it, but your chest is an incredibly active part of your body. Everything from seat-belts to purse straps rub against it. I also sleep on my side/stomach. This means either my piercings were smashed against the sheet or the skin was being pushed if I was on my side. Shirts and towels would snag on them and sometimes I would simply forget they were there and catch my nails on them (ouch!). Ultimately though, it was another person that injured them to the point of rejection (double ouch!). Other people would often bump them and someone hit it so hard I thought it had ripped completely out (hence my problem).
As I noticed the area around my piercing got more and more irritated, I started a regimen of hot compresses and sea salt soaks. Nothing seemed to work though. In fact, the hot compress started to make it worse. A bubble started to form on the side of my dermal and nothing would make it go away. I eventually noticed that the metal foot itself was being pushed out and that's what was causing the bubble (you can see it in the middle of the "bubble"). It turns out that once a dermal gets lodged out of it's pocket, the likelihood of rejection is much more likely.
So I returned to Zen tattoo and had the guy who did the piercing look at it. He confirmed that the piercing was indeed rejecting and it needed to be removed. Unfortunately some scar tissue had already started to form under the piercing, but hopefully I can minimize the scarring by paying careful attention. Getting the dermals removed wasn't nearly as painful as getting them put in, though the one rejecting was more painful. (It's important to note that there wasn't any infection at all. None. This is probably because of the soaks and hot compresses. If your piercing is infected it is going to be more painful.)
Getting the dermal that was rejecting removed was a no brainer. Deciding what to do with the other dermal took more consideration though. Should I keep it and get the other side pierced again after it heals? Or should I remove it and chalk this whole experience up as a hundred and fifty dollar experiment? I LOVED the way they looked but I ultimately couldn't deal with the upkeep or the pain an occasional (or not so occasional) snag would cause. My left dermal was only a little red and my piercer wanted me to start giving it sea salt soaks and compresses as well. And at the end of the day, I'm just not that gal. Simply put, I don't have that many fucks to give.
So is my experience the be-all-end-all of dermal piercing experiences? Of course not. There are different piercing techniques and different types of anchors. All of this makes a difference. But hopefully my experience will highlight, more than anything, the importance of placement and how much upkeep is really involved. I feel both disappointed and a little relieved now that they're gone. And that relief should be deeply considered I think.
Now I think I deserve another tattoo!