A woman's hand with a dermal piercing on the left ring finger instead of an engagement ringInstagram/piercingsby_billy

People are getting finger piercings instead of engagement rings

Love hurts, but this is a step too far. We asked the experts what they think

Ashitha Nagesh

The long-standing tradition of proposing with an engagement ring faces a new challenger.

Because if Instagram is anything to go by, engagement finger piercings are now a thing. Yep, some people are now choosing to declare their eternal love for each other with a ring piercing instead of an actual ring.

They're called dermal piercings, also known as microdermals, anchors, dermal anchors, and single-point piercings. They refer to any piercing that lies on a flat surface of the body – in this case, the finger – and is held in place with an 'anchor' that is implanted beneath the skin. Ouch.

The jewellery then sits on the surface of the skin, making it look like there are gems or beads on the body.

With finger piercings, the effect is much like a traditional engagement ring, only without the band.

So why are people opting for piercings? One reason might be cost: research suggests the average engagement ring in the UK costs more than £1,000, while dermals come in at around £70-£100.

But there are loads of potential complications.

The British Association of Dermatologists is one of the UK's leading organisations for skin medicine. A spokesperson told BBC Three, “If the piercing is not deep enough there is a risk of it moving, known as migration. If it is too deep the skin begins to grow over the piercing, known as embedding. Other risks include inflammation, scarring and infection – particularly if it is on the hands, as is the case with these particular piercings."

And it's painful. According to the British Association of Dermatologists, only medical professionals are allowed to administer anaesthetic – so people getting dermal piercings have to go without. Double ouch.

They also point out that, “Another problem with having a dermal piercing on your hand is the increased likelihood of it catching on something.”

... Let’s just take a second for that to sink in.

If the mere thought of that isn't enough to put you off, some piercing studios have said they won't do dermal piercings on people's fingers, for the reasons above.

So if you’re thinking of getting a finger piercing, keep in mind that it will hurt, it could migrate, embed itself, or get infected, and you may accidentally rip your finger skin off while putting on a jumper - all in the name of love. 

You have been warned.