The Differences Between Dermal, Surface, and Regular Piercings

There are tons of different piercings, which unfortunately means people sometimes get confused about the differences between them. Piercings can differ based on location, jewelry type, and how it’s inserted into the body.

When it comes to piercings there are three ways it can be done: regular, dermal, and surface. Here are the differences between them.


Regular Piercings

Regular piercings are what most people are familiar with. It’s when the skin is piercer all the way through. Think of a basic earlobe piercing. That’s an example of a regular piercing. The needle goes in one side of the skin and comes out on the other side. Regular piercings are the easiest to do, the cheapest, and heal the quickest.


Cost: Regular piercings are the cheapest. Most of the cost goes towards jewelry.

Heal Time: It depends on the location of the body. Lip and earlobe piercings heal faster than areas that have more cartilage like the upper ear and nose.

Jewelry: Studs, rings, and barbells can all be used for regular piercings. Some jewelry works in certain locations on the body better than others.


Dermal Piercings

Dermal piercings are more complicated than regular ones, and they are composed of two parts, the piercing, and the anchor. A small pouch is made under the skin where the anchor is then placed. The chosen jewelry is then pierced through only one side of the skin and attached to the anchor.


Dermal piercings are super versatile and can be put almost anywhere on the body. Some people find their body rejects them and notice their piercing coming to the surface of their skin. That’s rare though so don’t be too worried about it. Dermal piercings do hurt a little more, depending on where they’re placed, and they require more skill than regular piercings. It can also take longer for them to heal.


Cost: Dermal piercings are more expensive as they require more skill, special equipment, and specific jewelry.

Heal Time: This type of piercing usually takes 6-12 weeks to heal fully, though it could be longer depending on the individual.

Jewelry: Specialized jewelry is needed for dermal piercings. Jewelry is typically a stud shape.



Surface Piercings

Surface piercings involve two holes, with the jewelry running under the skin and coming out of the ends. Most surface piercings use bar type jewelry to achieve this look. The issue with surface piercings is that they put strain on your skin. Most people’s bodies end up rejecting the piercing, meaning they don’t last forever.


There are a few limitations to surface piercings. They don’t do well on flat surfaces on the body, which means they can’t be put anywhere. They tend to take awhile to heal too, longer than dermal or regular ones.


Cost: Surface piercings cost more than regular ones, but not as much as dermal. They don’t last forever though so think carefully about if you want one.

Heal Time: Surface piercings usually take at least 3 months of healing before jewelry can even be changed, and need longer to be fully healed.

Jewelry: Barbell jewelry is typically used for surface piercings.



If you still have questions about the differences between piercings, feel free to contact us or stop by our tattoo shop. It’s important that everyone knows exactly what type of piercing they’re getting and everything that comes with getting it. Make sure to pick a professional piercer that has experience in the type of piercing you want to get. More skill and experience is needed to have a good dermal or surface piercing.


This Is How To Tell If A Piercing Is Infected

New piercings are exciting, but it’s not unusual for a client to return a few days later in a panic because they think it’s infected. Most of the time it’s not, and it’s just the piercing healing naturally. The symptoms of healing and infection are similar, so confusion is common. It’s always best to check with your piercer first if you’re concerned about infected, but here’s how to judge if it’s infected or not.


Depending on the piercing location and style, it can take weeks if not months for it to fully heal. But most piercings look “healed” before they actually are. For roughly 24-72 hours after a piercing, you will experience redness, soreness, irritation, and swelling at the sight of the piercing. This is completely normal and isn’t any cause for concern.

A sign of infection is if these symptoms get worse as times goes on or if they linger for a while. A good idea is to keep an eye on the piercing, noting if the swelling or redness spreads or increases. Take pictures if possible to keep track of it.

While swelling is perfectly normal, it can be dangerous if it gets too bad. Swelling can cause loss of function. Excessive swelling isn’t always a sign of infection though. It could be that your piercing is too small, and just needs to be replaced with a larger one until it heals. Return to your piercer if the swelling becomes too painful or uncomfortable.

Discomfort the day of or the day after a piercing is normal. It generally takes a day or more of signs of infection to even develop. Old piercings are also unlikely to get infected unless there has been a recent injury to is.



Part of the reasons it’s hard for people to determine if their piercing is infected is because the symptoms of infection are similar to how a fresh piercing heals. That’s why it’s important to not look at the symptoms in isolation. Here are the most common symptoms of infection though:

  • Redness (especially if it gets worse or spreads)

o   A new piercing may be red or pinkish for a few days. If the redness gets worse or starts spreading keep an eye on it for other symptoms of infection.

  • Swelling

o   Some swelling is normal, but it should subside after a couple of days. If the swelling gets worse or appears suddenly it could be an infection.

  • Pain

o   Your new piercing will be sensitive and sore for a few days. If you notice the pain lingering or getting worse this is a symptom of infection. However, if you have recently snagged or irritated your piercing, this could also be a cause.

  • Heat

o   Infected piercings may feel inflamed or hot to the touch. If you touch your piercing be sure to wash your hands first.

  • Discharge and pus

o   Some oozing is perfectly normal, and part of the natural healing process. Clear or straw-colored fluid is normal, but is the discharge is thick, whitish or colored (like yellow or green), or smelly it might be infected.



Some areas of the body are more prone to infection than others. Your professional piercer will let you know this at the time of the piercing. Navel (belly button) and tongue piercing shave a higher risk of infection.

Belly button piercings are more prone for a few reasons. First, they’re in touch-prone locations. The belly button is constantly rubbing up against clothing and other objects, which introduce bacteria to the area. Belly buttons are also warm, and sometimes damp, places, which increase the risk of infection.

Tongue piercings are especially prone to infection. Your mouth is full of bacteria, which is a big cause. Tongue infections are especially serious. Complications can cause tongue numbness or even brain infections.

Avoiding Infections

The good news is that infections aren’t as common as people suspect. They’re also extremely easy to avoid. After you get your new piercing, your piercer will go over proper aftercare instructions. Make sure you listen and follow them. Different piercings have different cleaning requirements, so don’t assume you know what to do. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions either. Even if you think it’s a dumb question, we’d rather you ask.

Aftercare isn’t just about how to clean your piercings. It’s also about how to generally take care of it. For example, you should avoid sleeping on it, wearing clothing that may catch it, touching it with unwashed hands, or removing the piercing.

Another way to avoid an infection is to go to a reputable piercer. Never go to a Claire’s or mall piercer. These people aren’t properly trained, and the equipment they use often isn’t properly cleaned. Trained piercers work out of licensed studios. Most tattoo shops in Toronto have professional piercers that work in the studio.

Getting Help

So what should you do if you think your piercing is infected? A lot of places will tell you to go to a doctor, but the first person you should see if your piercer. Doctors, while trained professionals aren’t that great at telling if a piercing is infected. They often recommend just removing the piercing which can be bad. Removing an infected piercing can make things worse. It can trap the infection, rather than heal it.

Visit your piercer, or another professional piercer, first. These people are trained in piercers and can quickly tell you what to do. They’ll tell you whether you should see a doctor, how to clear it up, and whether or not you should remove it.



If you have any more questions or want to learn more about what piercers we offer at our downtown Toronto tattoo shop, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you and set up an appointment.

How To Prepare For A New Piercing

Piercings aren’t as serious or permanent as tattoos, but there is still some preparations that should be taken before you sit down in the chair. No matter what piercing you’re getting, here’s what you need to know to get ready for your new piercing.

Research Ahead of Time

Before going in for a piercing, it’s a good idea to always do some research. Safety and cleanliness are what you should be looking for. Make sure it is a licensed studio and your piercer is a professional. It’s a good idea to make sure they do the piercing you want ahead of time too.

Drink Water and Get Sleep

When you get a piercing, you’re introducing a foreign object to the body and causing trauma to it. The body will work to heal itself, which requires it to work harder than normal. Being hydrated and well rested will help your body do its job.

Sick, Stay At Home

If you’re sick, it’s okay to reschedule your appointment. Being healthy is important to proper healing. Plus, when you come in sick you expose others to the illness, especially your piercer who is likely working close to your face. Be considerate and stay home if you’re sick.

Disclose Medical Conditions

Toronto tattoo shops and piercers don’t need a full medical history, but have certain medical conditions should be disclosed. Some conditions may even need a doctor’s note before you can get piercer. Medical conditions like blood disorders or heart conditions should be disclosed, simply so your piercer can take extra precautions if necessary. Just because you have a medical condition doesn’t mean you can’t get piercer. We just want to ensure everyone’s safety involved.

Bring ID

Tattoo shops in Toronto require valid government ID before doing any piercings or tattoos. Certain piercings have legal age restrictions on them. Anyone under the age of 16 needs parental consent to anything more than a love piercing, and nipple and genital piercings will absolutely only be given to people over 18, regardless of if they have their parent’s consent or not.

Leave Plenty of Time

Arrive a few minutes before your scheduled appointment so that you have time to select your jewelry and ask any questions. After the piercing is done your piercer will chat with you and go over aftercare tips. Being rushed just makes everyone stressed, so have plenty of time.

Prepare Mentally

Piercings are quick and pretty painless (other than some initial discomfort), but if you’re squeamish prepare mentally ahead of time. Bring along a friend or two for emotional support too if you need it.

Hair and Clothing

Hair should be kept out of the way, especially for facial piercings. Long hair can get tangled in them, which can be painful if they’re new. Clothing should be loose and avoid wearing anything that could rub against or get caught in your new piercing.

Come Sober

We legally cannot piercer anyone that is intoxicated, and even if we could we wouldn’t. Alcohol thins the blood, which can lead to more bleeding during a piercing. There’s also the chance that you’ll be a drunken fool and accidentally harm your new piercing. So arrive sober, or leave without a new piercing.

Please Come Clean

We shouldn’t have to say this, but please come clean. Wash, shower, and groom ahead of time, please. We also recommend doing any shaving because it may not be possible while the piercing heals.


Aftercare is the most important step for a new piercing. Your piercer will go through it all with you but it’s up to you to follow it. Keep the area clean, and avoid touching it. If you think it’s infected, come back to the original piercer to get their advice.

Nape Piercings 101


Just like tattoos, piercings have fads and trends too. The latest one has been big in Asia and Europe for a few years, but now it’s made its way here. Nape piercings are the hottest piercing trend right now and it’s expected to get even bigger this summer.



As the name implies, the nape piercing is located on the back of the neck, of the nape. The area is pretty large, so people can decide exactly where on the nape they want the piercing to be. Some people get one other go for two or more. Whether you want a single one centered, them stacked or side-by-side, it’s completely up to you.



There’s not one design for nape piercings. The most popular styles are to have a single piercing centered in the neck, or double piercings side by side.



Pain is always a valid concern for people. Dermal piercings do hurt more than regular ones, but not by much. People who have gotten nape piercings before say the pain is pretty mild.


Piercer and Aftercare

You should always go to a trained professional piercer that knows how to do dermal piercings. There is a higher chance of infection with dermal piercings and the neck has its own risks being so close to the spine and head. Concerns of paralysis aren’t necessary unless you’re going to someone untrained.


Make sure you follow all aftercare advice. Snagging is a big issue with the nape location so be mindful of hair and clothing. Healing could take between two to six months, so keep it clean until it’s healed.


Contact us with any question or concerns or stop by our downtown Toronto shop to get a nape piercing today.


Questions You’re Too Scared to Ask About Vagina Piercings


Piercings may no longer be taboo, but some are still shrouded in mystery. Genital piercings, and particularly vagina piercings, aren’t discussed as openly or freely as ear, nose, or lip piercings. The area is far more intimate, and some women may be afraid to ask certain questions. Fear not, we’ve answered all the questions you’re too scared to ask about female genital piercings.


What types of piercings are there?

Professionals use the term “vagina” piercings, but vulva would probably be more accurate. There are tons of different types of piercings out there- vertical and horizontal clitoris piercings, inner and outer labia piercings, and also fourchette and Christina piercings. It ultimately comes down to a women’s anatomy to determine which piercings work best.


How do I find the right piercer?

It’s a lot harder to find a good piercer when it comes to vagina piercings. It’s not like professional piercers can advertise that sort of work on their Instagram. Many of them only have images of that type of work in their portfolios in the shop. Read some reviews, ask friends, and once you’ve found a reputable piercer ask what sort of vagina piercings they’ve done before.


Will it bleed?

Not a ton, but if you rip it out that’s a whole other story.


How old do I have to be?

In Ontario, a person needs to be 18 years or older to get genital or nipple piercings. Even if a person has parental permission, this sort of piercing can’t be given to anyone under 18.


Do I need to shave before?

Nope, piercers are able to work with whatever hair you have down there.


How much does it hurt?

Of course, it hurts, but the pain isn’t unimaginable. Most people find the pressure put on the skin before the needle goes in to be the most painful part of the process.


Will it increase sensitivity?

Some people say it does for them. The piercing may add some spice to your sex life, but it won’t necessarily increase sensitivity to the area. What happens is the piercings increase stimulation to the area.


What aftercare is there?

Trust us, you’ll want to make sure any piercing near your vagina is well taken care of. Luckily it comes with a pretty good self-cleaning system. Some warm water and soap are all it needs. Ask your piercing for a complete list of aftercare tips.


How long until I can have sex again?

Everyone heals at different rates, but piercers say it’s important to wait until it’s healed. Of course, in reality, most people don’t want to wait months. Be careful, avoid touching it with hands as much as possible, and if anything hurts stop immediately.


What about if I get pregnant?

Pregnancy doesn’t impact piercings usually. Most doctors will require patients to remove vagina piercings before giving birth so that nothing gets caught or torn during delivery. If it starts to feel uncomfortable when you’re pregnant take it out, but most women don’t notice pregnancy impacting it.


Contact us if you’re interested in a vaginal piercing!


Constellation Piercings 101


We talk a lot about tattoo trends, but piercings have their own trends in styles too. The last year has seen a huge boom in on particular style- constellation piercings. This style allows for creativity and individuality as people cultivate their own unique cluster of piercings on their ears. Here is everything you need to know about this piercing trend.



Constellation piercings are basically an artful cluster of piercings on the ear. The multiple piercings allow people to go as simple or as creative as they want. Having multiple ear piercings have been a trend for a while, but it’s only recently that it’s gotten the starry name and taken off. It’s a fresh modern take on multiple ear piercings that really is unique to each person.



Part of the reason people love constellation piercings is that they can be anywhere on the ear. For those that don’t want multiple cartilage piercings, having the option for a cool lobe-piercing trend is exciting. The cluster can be anywhere, whether you want it on the earlobe, the cartilage, the inner ear, or up the entire ear, it’s up to you.



The great thing about this trend is that it can be tailored to your ear shape and sense of style. Most people have been opting for smaller, daintier piercings that give an understated minimalist look. Other’s are going for statement shapes like stars, moons, and crosses. People can use any mix of jewelry, such as studs, shapes, rings, and bars, for constellation piercings.



There are endless possibilities and combinations for constellation piercings. Just like the starry constellations, the piercing is named after, each piercing helps create an image. A popular lobe constellation design is a triangle arrangement where three piercings are close together. A more classic one is a linear design where the piercings go up the ear. You can add dimension to the design by alternating between longer rings and shorter studs for a staggering height.



There’s no set timeline, but most professional piercers don’t recommend getting a ton of piercings done at once. It can make it harder to heal with all the swelling. Sleeping and other normal tasks may also be uncomfortable with multiple new piercings. It’s best to build them up one at a time.



How much a piercing hurts depends on where it’s done. Lobe piercings generally tend to hurt the least, while cartilage and inner ear ones hurt more. The good news is that pain from piercings is brief.



Constellation piercings look like a trend that will last awhile. Make sure you always take care of your new piercings my following proper aftercare advice. If you’re interested in getting a new piercing, or a tattoo, contact us or visit our downtown Toronto tattoo shop!.


Everything You Want To Know (And Are Too Scared To Ask) About Nipple Piercings


While the world of tattoos is no longer taboo, the same can’t be said for all piercings. Society has grown to accept more piercings, first ear, then nose and lip piercings. But nipple piercings still remain a source of controversial That’s changing now though, thanks to celebrities like Rihanna and Kendall and Kylie Jenner. If you want this trendy piercing here is everything you should know, and everything you are too scared to ask, about nipple piercings.


You have to be 18

First things first, you have to be 18 years old to get a nipple (or genital piercings). For most other piercings you can get them done at any age with parental consent. With nipple piercings though, because of the area, no reputable piercer will do it to anyone who is no longer a minor.


It’s going to hurt

Nipples are pretty sensitive so yeah, it’s going to hurt to get them pierced. Don’t worry though, because the pain is pretty brief. It may be uncomfortable for a few days after, especially if they rub up against clothing. Try to wear loose items until the piercing heals.


You don’t have to get both pierced

When it comes to nipple piercings you can either get one done or both. The trend used to be just getting one done, but nowadays more people are getting both. It’s completely up to you though. Some piercers recommend starting with one and coming back later for the other to make sure you like it.


Choice between barbell or ring

There are two jewelry options, a barbell or a ring. Most piercers recommend a barbell for the simple reasons that they don’t move as much, heal faster, and don’t get caught on clothing as much as rings. They are also less visible under clothing. The choice is ultimately up to you know.


They take at least 6 months to heal

People heal at their own rate and nipple piercings usually take a few months to a year. Most piercers estimate 6 months on average. Even after it stops feeling tender be sure to follow proper aftercare advice. Don’t touch them (or let others touch them) until they are fully healed. Trust us, you don’t want an infection here.


They won’t always be erect

After a piercing, the nipple may be more prominent due to swelling. This will go down though and the nipple won’t stay erect forever. They should go back to reacting normally after they’re healing. They will be more prominent than they used to be though. After all, there is a piercing there!


The holes close quickly

It’s a good idea to not take out your nipple piercings, especially for long periods, because the holes close really quickly- in a matter of minutes! This is good news if you regret them and want them to heal. It’s bad news if you have to remove them for activities. Luckily you can purchase a retainer, which is a glass piercer to keep the hole open if you need to remove a piercing for medical purposes or sports. If you need to change out your piercing it’s a good idea to go back to your piercer until you feel comfortable doing it yourself.


Keep hands off

A lot of people are getting nipple piercing for the sexiness they bring. While this is great, just make sure you and your partner keep your hands off them for at least 4 weeks. Also, make sure hands are washed before touching them.


Sensitivity is a gray area

A lot of people ask if piercings make nipples more sensitive. It’s a hard question to answer because some people say yes and other’s say no. Piercings theoretically shouldn’t make a nipple more sensitive, just more prominent, which means they may get more stimulation than they used to. But some people report that they do feel more sensitivity after a piercing, so the answer isn’t black or white.


You can still breastfeed

Some women are afraid to get a piercing because they think it will impact breastfeeding. Don’t stress about this, because nipple piercing should have absolutely no effect on breastfeeding. Piercings should be removed before feedings though so that the baby doesn’t swallow or choke on them. There is a minimal risk that scarring will impact breastfeeding but it is very rare.


All genders can get them

Nipple piercings are for everyone. Anybody from any gender, race, religion, and sexuality can get them. Don’t let people judge you into not getting something you want. It’s your body.


Contact us today or visit our downtown Toronto tattoo shop to book your piercing appointment.