A lip piercing is a type of body piercing that penetrates the lips or the area surrounding the lips, which can be pierced in a variety of ways as you can see below. Lip piercings are a common practice in many parts of the world. In some parts of Africa, it is common for lip piercings to be done on young men who become of age after getting initiated. Lip piercings have always had a kind of religious significance across various cultures since as long as history has been recorded. The Nuba tribe of Ethiopia, as well as the Dogon tribe of Mali, have specific piercings that represent the rung of the religious hierarchy the wearer occupies in the tribe. Lip piercing has also become a common practice in today’s youth and society everywhere in the world. It reflects a sense of individual style. It is one of the least painful of all types of piercings. This might be the reason why most people prefer lip piercings to piercings on other parts of the body. Lip piercings can be referred to as either facial or oral type of piercing. There are various types of lip piercings that are thoroughly discussed below.
Types of Lip Piercings
14 Types of Lip Piercings Explained
Below you will find the 12 most common lip piercings explained with a short summary, for more detailed information about lip piercing healing times, after-care, costs or just inspirational examples of our piercing models click on the links to all our other lip piercing information guides and lip piercing jewelry from our trusted partners.
A labret piercing is often thought of as a lip piercing however, labret piercings are not actually attached to the lip. The labret is done under the lip just above the chin. However, there are other choices of the position depending on your preferences. Find more information and inspiration in this extensive guide about Labret and Vertical Labret Piercings.
This lip piercing is named after Marilyn Monroe since it is done with an effort to resemble the late star’s birthmark. The piercing is on the left-hand side on top of the upper lip to the side. Usually, a labret stud is worn in this piercing. This piercing is typically fitted with a 14, 16, or 18 gauge labret, the bars of which are usually shortened after healing. A variation on this piercing is Angel bites – a double version of this piercing with both the Madonna and Monroe style Piercings worn on either side of the upper lip.
A Madonna Piercing is a labret placed in the upper lip, off-center on the right, in the same place that a number of starlets have beauty marks (moles). Jewelry is often around 14 gauge labret studs or even jeweled labret studs. The difference between a Monroe and Madonna piercing is the side of the face where the labret is placed; a Monroe piercing is placed on the left side, a Madonna piercing is placed on the right side of the face.
This is a piercing done on the philtrum region just below the nose, therefore officially called a philtrum piercing. It is placed directly under the septum of the nose and it is crucial to get this piercing right since if placed in the wrong way, it can alter the face symmetry. A Medusa Piercing is typically pierced using a labret stud as jewelry, with the ball sitting outside of the mouth in the dip of the top lip. A variation of the philtrum piercing is a jestrum, where the piercing is placed vertically through the lip using curved barbell so both beads are visible.
A Jestrum Piercing is very similar to the vertical labret piercing but done on the top lip like the Medusa Piercing; therefore also known as a vertical medusa. It is placed in the philtrum of the upper lip, directly under the nasal septum. Unlike the similar medusa piercing, a jestrum piercing uses a curved bar-bell, and both ends of the piercing are visible externally with the lower part of the bar-bell curving around the underside of the upper lip. Sometimes it is combined with a lower labret piercing to form a symmetrical look.
Vertical Labret Piercing
This kind of lip piercing is similar to the labret piercing. The vertical labret piercing is a piercing where the lower bead would be the same place where a normal labret piercing would be, which is just below the lip. The difference is that instead of passing through to the interior of the mouth, it goes in the upper direction coming out at the top or even slightly forward on the lower lip. With this type of piercing, you will be able to see both sides of the piercing. Most people use a curved barbell as jewelry in such piercings. Find an extensive Labret Piercing Guide with 31 Inspirational Examples here.
Snake Bites Piercing
A Snake Bite Piercing consists of two piercings evenly separated on the lower lips. Whereas a labret piercing is placed in the center, under the lip, the snake bite is a lip piercing set of two and are placed on the left and right side of the lip. There are two kinds of snake bite piercings: The ring piercing and the labret stud under both sides of the lip. It is possible to get both piercings at the same time. More information about snake bites you can find in the Ultimate Snake Bites Piercing Information Guide.
Spider Bites Piercing
The Spider Bites Piercing or Viper Bites Piercing is a pair of piercings that are close together and on the bottom lip. These are similar to snake bites but are closer together compared to the snake bites. It is more painful and should therefore be done one at a time. This means that you should wait until one piercing heals in order to get another.
Angel Bites Piercing
The Angel Bites Piercing is like the snakebite, but on the upper lip instead of the lower lip. These piercings are similar to the Monroe lip piercings, the only difference is that they are on both sides on top of the upper lip instead of one side. It is basically a combination of a Monroe and Madonna Piercing.
Cyber Bites Piercing
The Cyber Bites Piercing is a combination of the Medusa and Labret piercings – one piercing done in the center just above the top and just below the bottom lip. These lip piercings are opposite of each other. One is in the middle of the upper lip and the other is on the lower lip.
Dolphin Bites Piercing
The Dolphin Bites Piercing are two piercings centered on the lower lip, similar to the snake bite piercing, but closer together. These are two lip piercings that are placed at the center of the lower lip or just below the lip. Some people place them a little bit lower or even in the lowest part of the lip.
Dahlia Bites Piercing
The Dahlia Piercing is done at the corners of the mouth. It’s more common to see this piercing done in pairs though it doesn’t have to be. It is another variation of the labret piercing and each corner has one piercing. Most popular is to put two steels balls but, sometimes rings will be used too.
Canine Bites Piercing
The Canine Bites Piercing are single piercings done on both sides of both the upper and lower lips. Basically, a combination of the Angel bite piercing and the snake bite piercings, totalling four piercings. The surface of the lip itself is normally not pierced, except for canine bites and horizontal lip piercings.
Shark Bites Piercing
The Shark Bites Piercing is a pair of spider/viper bites piercings – two close together piercings done on both sides of the lower lip, totalling 4 piercings total just like the canine bites. This one is very similar to the snake bite piercing, but the steels are closer together.
Lip Piercing Procedures
The general procedure of any kind of lip piercing mainly involves the specialist making marks on the area to be pierced using an antiseptic known as Gentian Violet. Once this is done, forceps are used to stretch out the lips with a bid to line up the marks. The lip is then pierced after this. The final step involves screwing the bead onto the post. The procedure does not hurt as compared to other types of piercing. However, pain is said to vary depending on individuals and on the different types of lip piercings you want.
Lip Piercing Costs
There are several things that determine the cost of a lip piercing: the piercing place, the metal used and the number of piercings you intend to get. Additionally the costs of lip piercing jewellery varies widely. In most cases the price of getting a lip piercing ranges from $20 to $120.
Most Popular Lip Piercing Jewellery
Lip Piercing Healing and After Care
It is important to clean both sides of the piercing using salt solution. This is because the piercing is in most cases in contact with saliva which contains bacteria. Cleaning ensures the area is not infected and the controls swelling and pain. It is also important to ensure you visit a dentist in case the piercing is affecting the color of your teeth.
It may take around 4 to 6 weeks for the pierced area to heal and in some cases, it could take less time. Lip piercings are one of the fastest healing piercings that you can get. The saliva generated in the mouth consists of properties that help in fighting the bacteria. It will generally take around 4 to 10 weeks for the entire pierced site to heal.
Cleaning Inside the Mouth
Use one or both of the following solutions for inside the mouth:
- Antimicrobial or antibacterial alcohol-free mouth rinse.
- Packaged sterile saline solution with no additives (read the label) or non-iodized sea salt mixture: Dissolve 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized (iodine-free) sea salt into one cup (8 oz) of warm distilled or bottled water. A stronger mixture is not better. Saline solution that is too strong can irritate your piercing.
Rinse mouth with cleaning solution for 30 seconds after meals and at bedtime (4-5 times daily) during the entire healing period. Cleaning too often or with too strong a rinse can cause discoloration and irritation of your mouth and piercing.
Cleaning the exterior of the labret
Soak in saline solution and/or wash in mild, fragrance-free liquid soap-preferably anti-microbial or germicidal.
- Wash your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning or touching your piercing for any reason.
- Saline soak at least two to three times daily. Simply soak directly in a cup of warm saline solution for five to ten minutes. For certain placements it may be easier to apply using clean gauze saturated with saline solution. A brief rinse afterward will remove any residue.
- Soap no more than once or twice a day. While showering, lather up a pearl size drop of the soap to clean the jewelry and the piercing. Leave the cleanser on the piercing no more than thirty seconds.
- Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of the soap from the piercing. It is not necessary to rotate the jewelry through the piercing.
- Dry by gently patting with clean, disposable paper products. Cloth towels can harbor bacteria and snag on jewelry, causing injury.
Normal Signs when getting a lip piercing
- For the first three to five days: significant swelling, light bleeding, bruising, and/or tenderness.
- After that: Some swelling, light secretion of whitish yellow fluid (not pus).
- A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is because they heal from the outside in, and although it feels fine, the tissue remains fragile on the inside. Be patient, and keep cleaning throughout the entire healing period.
- Even healed piercings can shrink or close in minutes after having been there for years! This varies from person to person; if you like your piercing, keep jewelry in-do not leave the hole empty.
Lip Piercing Jewelry Tips
- Once the swelling has subsided, it is vital to replace the original, longer jewelry with a shorter post to avoid intra-oral damage. Consult your piercer for their downsize policy.
- Because this necessary jewelry change often occurs during healing, it should be done by a qualified piercer.
- With clean hands or paper product, be sure to regularly check threaded ends on your jewelry for tightness.
- Contact your piercer for a non-metallic jewelry alternative if your metal jewelry must temporarily be removed.
- Should you decide you no longer want the piercing, simply remove the jewelry (or have a professional piercer remove it) and continue cleaning the piercing until the hole closes. In most cases, only a small mark will remain.
- If the event of an infection is suspected, quality jewelry or an inert alternative should be left in place to allow for drainage or the infection. Should the jewelry be removed, the surface cells can close up sealing the infection inside the piercing channel, resulting in an abscess. Until an infection is cleared up, keep the jewelry in!
We generally recommend these two products that will have you covered in 99.99% of the cases if you follow the instructions properly.
Dr. Piercing’s Aftercare swabs are developed exclusively for the care and cleaning of piercings and help prevent infection. These swabs are conveniently packaged using advanced technology for easy, sanitary application. These piercing aftercare swabs are most commonly used 2/day for the first week and 1/day for the next 3 weeks. This completes the pack in 4 weeks and after this point, good routine hygiene with liquid soap (anti-bacterial if preferred) and water should continue the healing process.
This Piercing Aftercare Spray is enriched with over 60 trace elements and minerals from the richest coral reefs of the ocean along with natural antibacterial enzymes which kill bacteria & help protect healthy living cells. Natural Healing & Cleansing Solution H2Ocean safely removes dried discharge and lymph secretion when used every 2-3 hours.
H2Ocean increases circulation to the body or mouth piercing and accelerates the healing process. It will also help reduce lumps and scars. This formula remains sterile in the state of the art can. H2Ocean non-aerosol dry mist sprayer is ozone friendly and the can itself is recyclable. It is absolutely vital when taking care of a piercing to make sure that bacteria isn’t introduced to the affected area, and the only way to do this is by using a sterile formula like this one. In the case of an oral piercing we also recommend getting the aftercare mouthwash to protect your new piercing.
In conclusion, if you decide to get a lip piercing, it is important to make sure you get it done by someone who is qualified. This will ensure you do not have any serious side effects from the procedure.