How to Change Microdermal jewelry – It’s Quite Easy Really!

Change Microdermal Jewelry

Today I am going to be answering a commonly asked question about the microdermal piercing; “how do you change microdermal jewelry?”.

As you are probably aware, the microdermal is a highly unusual piercing. Whereas most piercings go in through one part of the skin and out another, the microdermal is ‘anchored’ under the skin through one hole only.

I believe the main reason people are so confused as to how dermal jewelry is changed is because they were told by their piercer that the only way to remove the dermal anchor safely and without too much scarring is through surgery.

Although this is the case, I would  also like to remind you that there are two parts to the jewelry that is worn in the dermal piercing – the anchor and the top.  It is the anchor which resides underneath your skin permanently and requires surgical removal. The top of the jewelry on the other hand, you can change at home by yourself!

Note: The first time your microdermal jewelry is changed, you should have it done by your piercer. This will make changing it at home easier.

What Will You Need?

Dermal Anchor Piercing Tools
Forceps to help you grip on tha dermal top! Click the image to buy these at Amazon!

Dermal anchors are very tiny and can be quite fiddly to change using just your bare fingers. For this very reason, tools are available for you to buy which will make this task much easier.

Sometimes using your hands can be the most effective way of doing this but it is always helpful to have the right tools nearby. If you have a dermal piercing and plan on changing the top of your jewelry, I would recommend you get your hands on the following equipment:

  • Sterile pliers: There are two main types of pliers you can get, either one will be fine. The two types are flat nose or needle nose.
    Dermal Tool Kit
    A set of all the tools you might need if you have a microdermal piercing. Plus a FREE red box!

    These will come in handy when your dermal top is screwed on real tight and you can’t get it undone with your bare hands.

  • Anchor holder: Unscrewing the top can prove very tricky and uncomfortable if the anchor is wiggling about. Luckily you can get a tool specifically designed to hold your anchor still whilst you unscrew the top.
  • Forceps: You will probably find that you don’t really need these but they may come in handy if you dermal top is 3mm or smaller and very hard to grip. I have always been able to change by tops without these personally, but everyone is different obviously!
  • Dermal Hemostat Forceps
    For gripping hold of the top firmly. You can buy them cheap over at Amazon through the image.

    Rubber gloves: If you plan on using your hands to remove your microdermal top, you will probably find it a lot easier if you wear rubber gloves. This will give your fingers more grip and make it much easier to unscrew your jewelry.

  • Saline solution or other cleansing product: Always keep your piercings and jewelry clean!

Check out some of the tools on the right. Any one of these would help in a big way! Click any one of the images to read more about the item and purchase over at Amazon.

What I would suggest you do is have a try at removing your jewelry without any tools (except maybe the rubber gloves). If you really don’t think you can do it, that is a sign that you may need to acquire some of the above mentioned tools. I would recommend you get the pliers and anchor holders.

How to Actually Change the Jewelry

Now let’s get into the actual process of changing your jewelry. This is most likely the reason you are here, I would imagine!

Note: Before you touch your piercing or jewelry, wash your hands thoroughly. You may also want to cleanse your piercing to remove any dead skin cells or crust which may be building up.

Unscrewing your current dermal top:

  1. Use either your fingers or your pliers to get a firm grip on the top of your jewelry.
  2. To unscrew it you should turn to the left. Remember: Lefty loosey, righty tighty!
  3. If it will not budge, do not force it. Leave it for a while, put a damp cloth on it and come back to it in a while.
  4. Try using your pliers or forceps if you can’t get it undone using your fingers. You will be able to feel when it is coming loose.
  5. If the anchor base is moving about a you are trying to unscrew the top, use anchor holders to keep it still.
  6. If you really can’t unscrew it yourself, ask a friend to try. I your friend cannot do it, go to your piercer!

Top tip: Try not to use a mirror if possible, as the fact that your reflection is in reverse can really make things very confusing!

Also, I would suggest that when you do get your jewelry top out, you should cleanse it thoroughly using a saline solution or other cleansing product. You could even boil it (only on metal jewelry such as steel, titanium, silver or gold). Make sure you store your jewelry away safely in a box or something so you do not lose it!

Screwing in Your New Dermal Top:

  1. Use a mirror just to help you line up the top of the jewelry with the hole you will be screwing it into.
  2. This time you will need to turn the jewelry to the right to tighten it (righty tighty, remember?). You may want to look away or close your eyes to get a feel for whether it is screwing in properly or not.
  3. If you are screwing and suddenly cannot go any further, whatever you do, you should not force it. Instead you should unscrew it and start again, the thread probably just got misaligned.
  4. If you really cannot get the jewelry to screw in, this could mean that the threads are a bit damaged or just do not align properly to start with due to the way they wee manufactured. In this situation you may want to get a friend to help. If you have a spare top you can put on in the mean time, do this.

Top Tip: Always keep a spare piece of jewelry of the correct gauge size in case you cannot get your new top to screw in at all.

I hope you manage to screw in your dermal top without any of the issues I covered in the above instructions. If you have any other issues, please don’t hesitate to pop me a comment below. I will get back to you as quick as I can (within 24 hours).


Hopefully I did not overcomplicate these instructions too much. I just wanted to be sure that I went over some of the main problems you may come across whilst trying to change microdermal jewelry!

Long story short, if you can’t unscrew it with your fingers, use your pliers or forceps. If that does not work, get a friend to try. If your friend still fails to succeed at unscrewing your jewelry, go back to your piercer. The moral of the post being to never force it as you may irritate or damage your skin!

Like I said before, If you have any issues not mentioned in the post, don’t be shy, just ask away in the comments section and I will be back to you at some point within the next 24 hours. I love hearing from you guys!

Thanks for reading. See ya’s soon!

Hannah – founder of Pro Piercing Kits.

22 Comments on How to Change Microdermal jewelry – It’s Quite Easy Really!

  1. Hey Hannah,
    Interesting read, I used to be really interested in piercing back when I was in college but my parents said that if I were to do that, they would cut my allowance and not pay for my classes which scared me.

    I had always been interested in piercing though, not the whole body but just a bit, for style. Would you advise someone who have never tried piercing before to go straight for microdermal?

    • Hey Riaz!

      As much as I love piercing, it would not be worth it to lose your allowance, I get why that scared you!

      Anyone who wants to get the microdermal done, whether it is their first piercing or not, should get it done professionally. As long as you get it done by someone with lots of experience, yes I would say the microdermal piercing would be fine for someone who has never had a piercing before. I say go for it if that’s what you want to do!

      If you do end up getting the piercing, you know where to find all the information, jewelry and anything else you might need!

  2. A daunting task, but not that bad after you explain it. I had to laugh a bit when you said not to use a mirror.

    My wife has been thinking about another piercing but was concerned with the ease of changing this style. I will definitely show her this to help her with her decision.

    • Hi James.

      It’s not that difficult changing the jewelry once you get the hang of it. It’s best to go to your piercer to get them to show you how to remove and change the jewelry, this will make it much easier afterwards!

      If your wife’s only concern about getting a piercing is changing the jewelry, this really isn’t much of an issue at all. If she does get the piercing and needs some advice or anything, you’s know where to find me; I’m always willing to help out!


  3. Hi Hannah, I thought your explanation was fab. Believe me, it was clear enough for anyone to get. I had no idea you would actually need surgery to remove the anchor, but I guess that makes sense when you think about it. I guess the post or stem of the anchor would have to be quite long to stick out of the top of your skin. If you’re new and fumbling, I can see how it would be easy to lose hold of, and then you’re making a surgery appointment! Makes sense to have a good friend, and some trusty tools on hand.

    • Thanks very much Hindy.

      So glad I made my explanations clear enough so you could get what I was saying (it was a bit of a worry to be honest!).

      Plenty of people do end up removing the anchor themselves but it doesn’t heal up very well at all and usually leaves them with a nasty scar! It’s always better to get it removed surgically. Some piercers can do this job by the way!

      I’m gonna thanks you again for your input. Much appreciated!

  4. Hey Hannah! Great article. I can very much appreciate all the simple steps you included in the very important process of changing and cleaning your jewelry. Great references for the different tools too. Wish you the best success!

    Ps. I also shared on FB (love the Sharing is Sexy 🙂

    • Cheers Jonathon!

      I would rather people know exactly what they are doing when they go to change or cleanse their jewelry!

      Thanks for the comment and the share!

  5. hi Hannah!
    Ok I have to say that I really enjoyed this article as you explained the process of taking out or changing microdermal jewelry very well! However, for the life of me, I cannot figure out how the anchor is not moving under your skin. How does it stay in place once you remove the top? I mean, I would be afraid that when I unscrew the top, the anchor would just start moving under my skin! Is it held in place by our skin tissues? I see a lot of people with microdermal jewelry (including a fair amount of my staff!) and I always wondered how it remains in place. But it is good to know that it can be changed safely.

    • Hi there Emily.

      I’m glad you asked that question, many people have been wondering exactly the same thing! The anchor which sits underneath the epidermis in the layer of skin called the dermis. The anchor is shaped kind of like a foot and has little holes in it. What happens is the skin heals up through the holes in the anchor and this is what keeps the jewelry sturdy. You can get anchors without holes but they usually end up sliding about under the skin and eventually rejecting, ass you can probably imagine!

      Hope I’ve managed to answer your question. Thanks for reading!

  6. I do not have any micro dermal piercings but I through your instructions were perfect. I feel like if I had, I could change one myself haha.

    I have to say, though, it does feel like we are going into surgery with all those tools! You did a great job outlining each step and I think to those looking to try this, it will be a huge benefit!

    • Thanks very much Heather!

      Sometimes the tools aren’t even necessary. It just helps to have them nearby in case you really can’t unscrew the jewelry with bare hands and fingers. I get what you mean though when you say it feels like going into surgery.

      Thanks for your comment.

  7. Hannah,

    I knew nothing about microdermal jewelry before reading your description of how to change them. You make it very clear, and it sounds easy, with the right tools of course. Between your explanation and the pictures, I think I now understand that the top is an artistic microbolt and the anchor is a micronut with an offset flange. Are the holes in the flange for a tool to press into through the skin to prevent rotation?

    What a fascinating innovation, and what a nice website!

    • Hey Glenn.

      I’m glad my explanation has helped to to understand how the microdermal works. Yes, the holes can be used to hold the anchor in place with a tool (gently so it doesn’t damage the skin of course) but also allows the skin to grow through them whilst the piercing is healing, which prevents the anchor from wiggling about and getting rejected by the body.

      Thanks for your interesting analogy of the microdermal piercing jewelry – I never thought of it that way, but it makes perfect sense!

  8. Hi Hannah: Wow…I’m very impressed with your site. Very professional and full of interesting information. I’m looking for some constructive suggestions for you and can only find tidbits as your site is so well done. On your post “How to Change Microdermal jewelry – It’s Quite Easy Really!” when you hover over the 2nd image under sterile pliers that should link to Amazon, the link doesn’t work. That’s all I could find. Nice job!!!

    • Nice one Bethany! So glad you enjoyed reading.

      Thanks for letting me know about the broken link on the image. I will fix that right away!


  9. I love the theme you have used on your website, also the logo you have created looks very professional. I like the fact you have created very good content as well as listed products directly to Amazon for purchase. Your site is simple but very professional at the same time.

  10. Hi, I stumbled on this during a search to figure out how to change my dermel. Very interesting and well written. In a nutshell I had a dermal done next to my eye about 4yrs ago. I never had it changed. Life happened and I just would forget or put it off. I really want to change it but it will not budge! It still has some small stinky discharge once in awhile. I’m in a small town and have called around and no one will change it for me because it’s been on for 4 years. What do you suggest? Should I just leave it alone? Also, how would I go about having it removed all together?

    • Hey Jessie. If you are getting any discharge at all from your piercing, this could be sign of an infection. You need to heal it up first using saline solution, before attempting to remove the jewelry. The threads on the jewelry could be crusted up, maybe that’s why it won’t budge. You would probably b best off leaving it alone until the discharge is gone completely. You can then try and remove it again yourself or find a professional piercer who will help.

      Hope this helps. Sorry I couldn’t give better advice.

  11. I always wondered how people got the jewelry out other than the ear or nose. Thanks for the detailed instructions. Much appreciated.

    My daughter has been thinking of getting this type of jewelry. I have talked her out it many times. Now that I know a little more, the next time she asks, maybe I can talk with a fresh mind.

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