Wearing a ring to indicate betrothal to another person is a tradition that dates back centuries — although the tradition of gifting a diamond wasn’t cemented into the public psyche until 1947. And while it remains the norm today, some people are putting their own twist on the tradition and getting their finger pierced with a diamond instead of putting a ring on it.
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The trend in dermal engagement piercings has recently taken hold of Instagram, but some professionals are warning against them.
A dermal piercing consists of an object being partially embedded in the skin, and while it may seem as innocuous as piercing your earlobes or nostril, it comes with a host of unique complications.
“There are digital nerves and arteries that supply the finger, and if you were to pierce through them it would be a big problem,” says Dr. Lisa Kellett, medical director and founder of DLK on Avenue. “You could get a hematoma and lose blood supply to the finger. Also, if you hit a nerve, it could cause numbness and problems with movement.”
The issues don’t end there. Kellett also points out that there’s the risk of infection that comes with poking through the skin, and the increased possibility of trauma.
“If you catch your finger on something, it could cause tearing or scarring, and scarring, in particular, can cause significant problems in range of motion and function of the finger. Unlike other parts of the body, the finger doesn’t have a lot of tissue and it’s hard to graft over that area,” she says.
Interestingly, these concerns are not only coming from medical professionals but from people who work in the body piercing industry, too. Whitny Lapointe, a body piercer at The Village Ink in Toronto, says she won’t perform finger piercings, nor will most reputable studios.
“It’s highly infectious because you’re always touching things with your hands, and it’s very likely that you’ll get it caught on things,” she says. “It’s not safe.”
In addition, it won’t last very long. If you’re lucky and careful, Lapointe says, it’ll stay in for a few months, but it’s rare that it’ll stay in place that long just based on how active we are with our hands.
LISTEN: Marilisa Racco joins 640 Toronto’s Tasha Kheiriddin to discuss the trend