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Getting anchored in Brighton

The last piercing I had done was my VCH nearly a year ago, and I seem to remember vowing never to have another one again! (Many people say VCHs don't hurt a bit - I can only wish I had their pain-immune anatomy!) Ever since getting that last piercing I'd been bandying around the idea of having an anti-eyebrow or madison done, but hadn't bitten the bullet on either of them. It was mainly the almost inevitable rejection of both piercings that put me off - paying for a piercing and ending up with only a scar as a memory wasn't my cup of tea.

Then I heard about dermal anchors (a.k.a. microdermals, surface anchors). I was so excited to hear about this new jewellery which had much better healing success rates than conventional surface piercings, and I liked the idea of having just one ball on the jewellery rather than the obligatory two when a barbell is used. Unfortunately, as yet it is still hard to come by piercers in the UK who are confident with the procedure. My local piercer said he was looking into surface anchors, but not much seemed to be happening with it. The idea slipped to the back of my mind.

Until my boyfriend and I set off to Brighton for a short holiday last week that is! We go once or twice a year; the atmosphere, food and shopping are amazing, and we always have a fantastic time when we go. This time, I wanted a souvenir - and I wasn't thinking of a stick of rock!

Gardner Street is our favourite place to spend time in Brighton - as well as housing our favourite eatery, Red Veg, it has a fantastic piercing place called Punktured. Punktured evades the popular stereotype of piercing places being dark, closed away caverns of pain where you are greeted with a grunt by a sadistic-looking person behind the desk while Cradle of Filth blares out. It's bright, colourful, clean, open and friendly, with the entire shopfront opening right onto the street. I felt more than happy just wandering in and browsing the cabinets of jewellery situated all around the shop. I was greeted by a friendly blonde girl behind the desk, and I told her I was interested in dermal anchors. I braced myself for her saying they didn't do them, as most piercing places I'd asked don't, but quick as a flash she popped some anchors onto the desk in front of me and started to tell me all about them. They had jewelled and plain anchors, and drilled (with holes for the flesh to grow through to anchor it into the skin) and non-drilled (easier to remove). She was so knowledgeable and friendly, she really put me at ease. She asked where I was thinking about putting it, and I indicated my chest, a couple of inches below where a madison is traditionally placed. Just then Tom, one of the piercers, came out of a back room and she asked him what she thought of my idea for the placement. He was really enthusiastic, saying he thought it'd look great and would work well. Tom is a very cool-looking guy, with tattooed sleeves, stretched ears and great glasses. He's totally lovely to boot, too. Thoroughly impressed with the staff at Punktured, I asked the price (£33 for a jewelled anchor) and left, telling them I'd be back in over the next few days.

That same day I managed to come down with a stinking head cold, so I didn't pop in the next day as I felt too ill to. However, on the Wednesday, the day before we left for Edinburgh, I told my boyfriend: 'Let's do it.' He was very excited, as he's watched me being tattooed but never pierced. We headed along to Shakeaway (if you haven't been, you HAVE to go) to fill up on a bourbon biscuit vegan milkshake, and buzzing with sugar we made our way along to Punktured. Tom was there, smiling and saying he was glad I'd come back in. We chatted again for a bit about the anchors and I said, 'I'm going to do it.' He asked when and I said 'How about now?' He checked his appointment diary and said that'd be fine. I filled in the consent form and paid, and he explained the aftercare to me and gave me my receipt and copy of the aftercare instructions. Once we'd exchanged names I followed him into one of the back rooms. (Back room makes it sound seedy, it really wasn't!). My boyfriend settled himself in the corner of the piercing room, grinning excitedly, as I settled myself onto the dentist chair in the middle of the room. We all chatted away as Tom prepared the jewellery, punch and other equipment. He really made me feel at ease - in fact, it was a real joy to be pierced by him! We spent some time getting the marking right, and he was more than happy to wait until I was 100% happy with the placement. Then it was time! I hadn't had a piercing performed with a dermal punch before, but he assured me it was no worse than a needle. He lowered the chair until I was lying almost horizontally, and checked I was okay to go ahead. I was.

I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt. He had to grip the skin quite hard and give it a few goes with the punch until he was happy to insert the jewellery, and it wasn't exactly pleasant. On a scale of 1 - 10, 10 being really painful and 1 being painless, I'd put my VCH at 9 and this experience at 7. He popped the anchor in and that was it!

I waited a moment then got up to have a look in the mirror. It was beautiful! Both Tom and my boyfriend, who was all smiles, agreed. Not for the first time Tom asked if I had any questions before I left. I didn't, but he told me to give them a ring if I needed anything. My piercing was covered with a breathable bandage and I was off out into the sunshine again.

That was three days ago, and the anchor's doing well. I try to keep it out of the way in the shower, and I give it a salt water compress twice a day as instructed. I've accidentally knocked it a couple of times, which makes it feel a little tender, but I just need to get used to it being there and continue to look after it. I'm taking a zinc supplement to help it heal, as my immune system isn't at its best thanks to the cold I've got.

I love the way the anchor looks, and I'm so glad I got it. Tom at Punktured is an absolute star - knowledgeable, talented and a super-nice guy to boot. I'd wholeheartedly recommend paying him a visit next time you're in Brighton. In fact I'll definitely hold off on getting another piercing 'til I can visit him again. Three cheers for Punktured and for dermal anchors!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 27 June 2007
in Surface & Unusual Piercing

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Artist: Tom
Studio: Punktured
Location: Brighton%2C+U.K.

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