What’s That Sexy Facial Piercing Above the Lip? The Philtrum—And It’s All the Rage

It used to be that you had to be a piercing aficionado and deep into the alternative scene to even consider a facial piercing. These days, and especially as piercings are becoming more and more acceptable in the work place, they’re becoming more mainstream.

So, if you’ve noticed a growing trend of people with upper lip piercings, you’re not alone. One popular upper lip piercing is the philtrum. Keep reading on to learn all about it.

What Is a Philtrum Piercing?

One of the common slang names for this piercing is a medusa. No, it doesn’t give you powers to turn people to stone if you get one. But it might be kind of cool if it did, right?

The piercing is located in the center of your upper lip; the anatomical term for this location is the philtrum. More specifically, it is located in between the Cupid’s bow, which is the natural divot in the center of your face between the nose and the mouth.

In terms of placement, a piercee can choose to have the piercing situated closer to the lip, closer to the nose, or right in the middle.

What Is a Philtrum Piercing?

Vertical Philtrum Piercings

There are, in fact, two different kinds of philtrum piercings. The more “standard” simply goes straight through the tissue in the center of the upper lip. However, a vertical philtrum (also known as a jestrum piercing), is where the tissue is pierced vertically and exits through the actual lip.

Another difference between a traditional philtrum and a vertical philtrum is the type of jewelry worn. A traditional philtrum necessitates wearing a labret stud or a flatback; whereas a vertical philtrum requires a curved barbell.

Philtrum Piercing Placement

The name alone indicates that this piercing goes through the philtrum. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that. When you are pierced, the jewelry must be perpendicular to the tissue. If you’re pierced at an angle, it tends to make it more difficult for the piercing to heal.

How Much Does a Philtrum Piercing Hurt?

The philtrum does contain a lot of nerve endings, which means that this piercing will hurt more than a regular lip piercing. In fact, you can expect it to make your eyes water a little bit. However, it’s perfectly tolerable.

It’s also important to remember that everybody is different and each person has his or her own pain tolerance.

How Much Does a Philtrum Piercing Hurt?

The Philtrum Piercing Process

When you go to a piercer to get your philtrum pierced, they will first provide you with a consultation to make sure your anatomy is suitable for the piercing. Typically, this just involves checking to make sure you don’t have any lip webbing that will get in the way of the piercing being done successfully.

Next, your piercer will help you determine the exact placement of the piercing and mark it on your face with some ink. Once the exact place has been decided upon, next comes the actual piercing process.

First, you’ll be asked to rinse your mouth with alcohol-free mouthwash.

Your piercer will then tell you to take a deep breath in, they’ll most likely count to three, and then will push the needle through as you exhale.

Next, they’ll insert the jewelry and let you look in the mirror to see your brand-new piercing.

Philtrum Piercing Jewelry

When you are first pierced, you will be pierced at either a 14 or 16 gauge. Initially, the jewelry will be longer than needed to account for the swelling that will definitely occur during the healing process.

When you get your initial piercing, you’ll want to start with implant grade jewelry, such as titanium, but gold is also a safe option.

Other than that, you can select from a variety of jewelry options, ranging from different gems, stones, shapes, and sizes of ends.

Philtrum Piercing Jewelry

Philtrum Piercing Aftercare

Due to the fact that it is, essentially, a lip piercing, the philtrum piercing does heal relatively quickly. It generally takes 8-12 weeks (approximately 2-3 months) to fully heal. Additionally, because it’s located in an area that has a lot of movement and friction involved, it’s important that you don’t add to it by touching, twisting, or rotating your jewelry. It’s best to avoid touching it at all.

For a full list of what to avoid and how to properly take care of a new philtrum piercing, be sure to check out our info and aftercare guide.

The Main Point

Philtrum piercings are incredibly versatile and are becoming more and more popular. There are some gorgeous options available, such as our 14kt white gold clear cubic zirconia ball or even our 14kt gold dome labret. Be sure to browse through our selection today!

Written by Jackie Rachel

Jackie Rachel

Jackie Rachel is a poet and Content Account Manager. She has been getting pierced for over 16 years, while taking the time to learn proper aftercare techniques from the Association of Professional Piercers (APP) members. Always enamored by the jewelry options that exist for body modifications, she one day hopes to assist clientele with picking out jewelry and styling ears.