Back dimple piercings are piercings in each indentation on your lower back, just above your butt.
These little dimples are also known as the dimples of Venus. This explains why some people mistakenly call these piercings Venus piercings.
While the confusion is totally understandable, you’ll definitely need to know the difference before hitting the piercing studio.
A Venus piercing — aka a Christina piercing — is actually a genital piercing.
Back dimple piercings are dermal piercings. Dermal piercings have a single point rather than an entry and exit point like traditional piercings.
To do it, your piercer uses a needle or scalpel to create a small pocket in the middle layer of the skin called the dermis. Using forceps, they’ll insert an anchor with a post into the pocket. Finally, they’ll screw the jewelry “top” onto the post.
Here’s a general rundown of what to expect at your appointment.
Your piercer will:
- Ask for your ID and give you paperwork to fill out.
- Take you to a private room to evaluate your back dimples to make sure you’re a good candidate for the piercing.
- Clean and disinfect the area.
- Mark the points to be pierced using a body-safe marker.
- Pierce the first dimple and insert the jewelry, then do the second one.
- Clean up the blood and disinfect the area again.
- Give you aftercare instructions.
Most definitely. Your piercer is pushing an instrument and then an anchor or diver through several layers of skin, after all.
According to anecdotal reports online, getting back dimple piercings is pretty painful — but the pain only lasts for a second.
Having a skilled piercer can help, along with going into the appointment well rested and relaxed.
Anchors with tops are the preferred choice for back dermals because the tops are interchangeable. You can switch up your jewelry without removing the anchor.
Your other option is a type of jewelry called a diver. Divers have a pointed end base that sits under the skin and a decorative top. It’s inserted into a hole in the tissue that’s made by a tool called a skin punch.
A skin punch is a sharp, hollow instrument that’s pushed approximately 4 millimeters into the skin and removes a circular piece of tissue when it’s pulled out. The diver is inserted into the resulting hole.
This method causes less bleeding, but divers aren’t interchangeable, which limits your jewelry options.
For dermals, your best material options are:
- Implant-grade titanium. It costs more than steel, but titanium is hypoallergenic and nickel-free. This is the way to go if you have sensitive skin or a nickel allergy.
- Niobium. This is another hypoallergenic option that doesn’t corrode and is safe for dermals.
- Implant-grade steel. Steel is affordable and suitable for most people. If you a have a nickel allergy, steel may cause a reaction depending on the severity of your allergy.
- 14-karat or higher gold. Gold is safe for most people as long as it’s not gold-plated. The plating can flake and expose you to other alloys underneath, including nickel. Anything higher than 18-karat gold, however, is too soft for a dermal piercing.
Back dimple piercings typically cost around $70 to $80 each.
Jewelry isn’t always included in the cost, so you might need to factor in an extra $10 to $20 for each piece, depending on the material.
Other factors that influence how much you’ll pay for your piercings are location, the studio, and the piercer’s experience level.
Finally, don’t forget to tip! At least 20 percent is customary for good service.
Back dermals have a high risk of complications because of their location.
Sitting at your lower back, they’re subjected to a lot of pressure and friction from your clothes and everyday activities, including lying down.
Using a reputable and experienced piercer and caring for your piercing properly can significantly reduce the chances of complications.
Risks to be aware of include:
- Infection. Bacteria can get into the piercings if proper aftercare isn’t followed, or if the piercing’s done in an unsterile environment. For example, contaminated needles can transmit bacterial infections, including tetanus and HIV.
- Displacement. The anchor can dislodge and move to other areas of the skin if it’s not inserted deep enough.
- Rejection. Your body can reject the piercing if it’s too close to the surface of your skin or it’s subjected to too much friction or trauma. It can also occur if your body sees the jewelry as a foreign object and begins to push it out.
- Tissue damage. An anchor that’s inserted too deeply can damage the surrounding tissues, including nerves and blood vessels.
- Tearing. The location makes these piercings prone to snagging and pulling on clothing, towels, and bedding. This can lead to skin tearing. You can even pull your jewelry out if you’re not careful.
Back dermals typically heal in 1 to 3 months but can take upward of 6 months for some people.
Your healing time will depend on:
- the skill of your piercer
- your overall health
- how well you care for the piercing
Keep in mind that some crusting and swelling around the jewelry tops is typical for the first week or two, and it should gradually improve as you heal.
Before we get to the aftercare, you should know that anchors require some maintenance for their entire lifetime. Matter can build up under the threaded top and cause irritation.
Your piercer should provide you with aftercare instructions, but here are the basics.
While healing, DO:
- Wash your hands with soap and water before touching the area.
- Use saline solution to clean your piercings as needed, usually three or four times a day.
- Take showers instead of baths, which can harbor bacteria.
- Use a clean paper towel to gently pat the area dry.
- Gently wash any crust as needed.
- Try to sleep on your side.
- Wash bedding regularly.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes that won’t rub against the area.
- Try standing sex positions to avoid irritating your piercings.
While healing, DON’T:
- Touch your piercings with unclean hands.
- Clean the area with alcohol or other harsh products.
- Use beauty care products around the piercings, like lotions or perfume.
- Engage in activities that place pressure or cause friction on your lower back.
- Allow your partner’s saliva or other bodily fluids to make contact with the piercings.
- Get into pools, hot tubs, or bodies of water that can harbor bacteria.
- Wear clothing that’s too tight or rubs against the area.
- Pick off crust that forms around the jewelry.
- Play with or remove the jewelry.
Some mild swelling and crusting is normal for any new piercing, but other symptoms could indicate a problem like infection or rejection.
See a healthcare provider if you experience any symptoms of infection, including::
- severe pain and swelling
- skin that’s hot to the touch
- yellow, green, or pus-like discharge
- a foul odor coming from one or both piercings
- fever, body aches, or other flu-like symptoms
See your piercer if you notice signs of rejection, such as:
- jewelry displacement
- jewelry hanging or drooping instead of sitting flat on the skin
- thinning or calloused skin around the jewelry top
- widening of the hole
- anchor dislodgement
Don’t change the jewelry until the piercings have healed. Doing so increases the chances of irritation, infection, and rejection.
Once you’re healed, it’s best to have your piercer change it for you to avoid dislodging the anchor. Trying to change your own back piercings isn’t easy anyway, no matter how flexible you are.
If you decide to retire your piercings, have your piercer take them out. Once they’re out, all that’s left do to is wait for the skin to grow in.
You’ll have a small scar at each piercing site once the hole closes. It should slowly fade over time, though it may never go away completely.
Ready to get pierced? Finding a reputable and experienced piercer is important. You can find one in your area through the APP.
Once you’ve narrowed down your prospects, a visit to the studio is important to check that they meet local health and safety requirements.
Be sure to check out their jewelry selection to make sure they stock pieces made from quality materials.
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a Canada-based freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.