A few different versions of this failed 71-piece microdermal/surface anchor/single-point surface piercing project have started making the rounds and we wanted to share our thoughts and hopefully provide some additional insight and context to the situation. The “after” picture certainly says a lot about what’s going on here, but we think it’s critical that piercers and the general public understand exactly what went wrong, why it went wrong and why this never should have been done in the first place.
There have been a lot of understandably-angry responses to this. As piercers who care about our clients, the quality of work we do and the overall “reputation’ of body piercing, this hurts and angers us a great deal. But, we hope we can turn this into an educational opportunity for everyone who comes across this glaring example of a piercer who appears to lack morals, ethics and professionalism.
This project was done as part of “reality” television program by a “celebrity piercer”. This “piercer” has repeatedly shown a blatant disregard for his clients’ well-being, and therefore we believe he deserves all of the bad press he is currently getting. However, his name isn’t important to our message. If you want to know who did this atrocity, it won’t be hard to figure out.
This “piercer” has repeatedly defended his choice to do large-scale projects like this and claims that these types of projects are very viable and are usually successful.
He is wrong.
We know he is wrong. Every experienced, reputable piercer knows he is wrong. Heck, even a piercer with only the smallest bit of experience with these type of piercings would know he is wrong. Chances are he knows he is wrong as well.
He has chosen to ignore his ethics and his professional responsibility, as well as completely disregard the health, safety and well-being of his clients in exchange for money, exposure, “fame” and whatever else he may garner from stunts like this. We understand that every one has to make a living, and we all have different goals and dreams. We just don’t think you should make your living or achieve your goals and dreams by harming uninformed, unsuspecting people.
So, what is actually wrong with this project?
The most obvious thing is that all 71 one of these piercings were done in one sitting. That’s 71 piercings your body has to try and heal all at once. We all know that if your body is trying to heal 71 injuries of any kind, it is going to struggle. Now, ask your body to heal 71 injuries with pieces of jewelry in them; jewelry that will get bumped, caught, snagged and rubbed on during even the most basic day-to-day activities…the problem should be obvious.
Any piercer who tells you that doing large numbers of piercings in one sitting is fine and will have good results is either lying to you or they don’t know what they are talking about. Either way, find a different piercer.
While the number of piercing is the most obvious problem, the most fundamental problem with this project is that most of the time, surface anchor piercings simply aren’t viable on a long-term basis. People have lots of different experiences with this type of piercing, but to say that most of them last 5 or more years is not the experience that we, or most reputable piercers, have had. This is true regardless of the design of the anchor, the method used to perform the piercing or the type of end/top that is used on the anchor.
it is also true regardless of how many anchors are done at one time. While only doing one has a better chance than doing a handful in one sitting, it is still no guarantee of long-term viability. We, and other professional piercers who’s opinions, skills and experience we trust, refer to anchors as long-term-temporary piercings.
When these types of piercings fail, usually what happens is that the body “rejects” the jewelry. This means that it starts to push the jewelry out of the skin. In most cases, once this starts, the body will continue to reject the jewelry until it comes out completely. Most people have the jewelry removed before it comes out completely.
No responsible piercer would ever perform a project like this because they would know there is 0% chance that all of the piercings (heck, probably even 50% of them) would last on any type of long-term basis. While scarring from individual surface anchors tends to be pretty minimal in most cases, a responsible piercer would know that rejection of so many of these piercings would result in a large area of prominent scarring. The after picture shows this pretty clearly.
In addition, the rejection/removal of even a handful of these piercings would leave the original design “unreadable”. Instead of looking like shooting stars, or hearts or whatever the original design was, it ends up looking like a random scattering of jewelry.
Another major issue with this project is the location: the thigh area.
We already mentioned how irritation/abuse would occur from even the most basic activities as well as from any clothing that would rub against the area.
When doing any kind of surface piercing (with an anchor or with a surface bar), it is critical that the area where the jewelry will sit is as flat as possible. If the jewelry rests on a curved surface, excess pressure can be applied to different parts of the jewelry, directly contributing to irritation and rejection. A thigh/upper leg is mostly-curved surface with virtually no areas that stay flat at all times. While some areas may be flat in certain positions, even small changes to the orientation of the leg, cause those flat areas to become curved.
As with any jewelry, the material and the quality of the workmanship are critical components to initial healing as well as long-term success. In this case, there is no way to know whether this jewelry is made from implant-grade materials with top-of-the-line workmanship or whether low-quality “mystery metal” was used.
However, let’s consider this: If this project was done with high-quality, implant-grade jewelry, the jewelry alone would have cost the client several thousands of dollars; even if there were a considerable “bulk discount”. So, either the client didn’t pay that much because the jewelry was subpar, unacceptable junk or the piercer took a huge amount of money from the client knowing full well that the project was destined to fail and that the client was wasting their money.
Either way, it’s unethical, unprofessional and unacceptable.
One other thing we wanted to comment on:
We’ve seen quite a few comments that have fully or partially blamed the client for letting someone do this to them or for not knowing this was a bad idea And, while we are big believes in personal responsibility, and we understand how people would be quick to blame the client, we think that is completely the wrong way to look at it.
When it’s all said and done, a piercer always has the option to say, “No, I won’t do that because I know it’s a bad idea.” In the case of project like this, something that was never going to have any chance of being successful, we believe the piecer has an obligation to say “No, I won’t do that because I know it’s a bad idea.”
in our opinion, the blame for this project happening in the first place, and the blame for its ultimate failure, fall on the shoulders of the piercer who performed it.
No matter how complex or how small your piercing wishes might be, please take the time to research the person(s) you are considering letting work on your body. Just because someone is on TV, has a lot of followers on the internet or makes a lot of “noise”, it doesn’t automatically mean they are the person you should trust.
If a situation doesn’t ‘feel’ right, if you are being told something that goes against what other reputable piercers have told you and/or if someone is telling you something that sounds too good to be true, please walk away from the situation, do some more research and give it some more thought.
Thanks for taking the time to read all of this.
We hope you will share it so we can educate as many people as possible and help prevent others from having to experience something like this.