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Surface piercings are piercings performed along the plane of the skin so that both ends are visible above the skin’s surface.  They most often utilize a staple shaped barbell known as a surface bar.

Facial Piercings

surface piercings of the facefrom left: horizontal eye brow, vertical tragus, anti-eyebrow, bridge, vertical bridge

Horizontal Eyebrow: a horizontal piercing performed just above the natural brow and generally worn with a surface bar.  Some persons may get multiples of this piercing on one or both sides, or alternatively, fake the look of it through the careful placement of dermals (single point piercings).

Vertical Tragus: the tragus is the nub of cartilage that protrudes from the side of the head to cover the opening of the ear canal.  When this piece of flesh is pierced through vertically, it’s called a “vertical tragus piercing.”  This name however, has also been applied to vertical surface piercings of this area, as shown above.  The name vertical tragus is unique in this way, as it applies to two different piercings that are performed in the same general location.

Anti-eyebrow: anti-eyebrow piercings may be made in a variety of locations around the eye, but are usually worn in either the crows feet area, or (as shown above) just below the lower lash line.  Surface bars are primarily worn in both locations.

Bridge Piercing: the bridge piercing is also often called an Erl, after character actor Erl Van Aken, who is credited with popularizing it.  Unlike most surface piercings, depending upon the anatomy, an Erl can sometimes be worn with a regular curved barbell, flexible bioplast bar, or even a standard straight barbell.  Surface bars are not able to fit properly in many cases.

Vertical Bridge: another name for the vertical bridge piercing is the “third eye,” due of course, to its location directly over the third eye (or ajna) chakra.  This type of piercing is rarer than the traditional bridge piercing, and may sometimes be worn in conjunction with other adornments such as bindis.

Body Piercings

surface piercings of body and torsofrom left: clavicle piercing, nape piercing, hip piercing, cleavage piercing, wrist piercing

Clavicle Piercing: clavicle piercings may be performed directly above, or in any area closely below the visible outcropping of the clavicle itself.  Although they’re primarily a female piercing, many versions of clavicle piercings have been performed on men, including the alternative sub-clavicle piercing, which begins above the bone, penetrates the body cavity, and emerges from underneath on the other side.

Nape Piercing: this piercing is often worn in multiples as seen above, but may also be performed as a single piercing or even a microdermal piercing.  Piercings performed anywhere on the back of the neck from just underneath the hairline, to the visible protrusion of the cervical vertebrae, fall under the name.

Hip Piercing: like many other surface piercing, a hip piercing may be done anywhere in the general area of the hip.  Usually however, it is worn just inside or just above the protrusion of the hip bone, on the lower abdomen.  Many women who get hip piercings prefer to pair them symmetrically (one on each side), and they’re often added to accentuate a tattoo or a belly button piercing.

Cleavage Piercing: piercings of the skin across the decolletage are called “cleavage piercings,” or “sternum piercings.”  These piercings are won almost exclusively by women for obvious reasons, and are sometimes difficult to heal completely because of their location.  Most will be worn with surface bars or flexible PTFE or tygon barbells.

Wrist Piercing: the wrist piercing can be made horizontally or vertically, and is sometimes called a “brace” or bracer” when worn in multiples.  Like most surface piercings, surface bars work best here, but other types of jewelry have been worn successfully.  Many who pierce their wrists will do so temporarily with the intention of lacing them as corset or play piercings.

Rare Piercings

surface piercings that are rarely seenfrom left: hand piercing, Madison, valley piercing

Hand Piercing: most surface piercings performed on the hands don’t have official names as of yet, being essentially in their infancy as piercings go.  They’ll normally be referred to simply as “hand piercings”, “hand surface piercings,” or will be called by the area of the hand on which they reside (ex: finger piercing, knuckle piercing, hand “web” piercing, etc.).

Madison Piercing: the Madison piercing is relatively rare as surface piercings go, but it has actually been around since the 1990s, having been first seen on and named after former adult star Madison Stone.  The Madison is sometimes performed as a single point piercing (dermal), but as a surface piercing it remains unique, being worn almost exclusively with curved barbells or circulars.

Valley Piercing: any piercing made between the small of the back and the crest of the rump is called a valley piercing.  This type of piercing is relatively new, and can be worn as either a vertical or horizontal piercing based on individual anatomy and preference.  One of the rarest of all the surface piercings, the valley has been used primarily to accent tattoo art, or as a temporary piercing for use with specific articles of clothing.

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