Lip & Labret Piercing Information & Aftercare
The lip piercing is a piercing that traditionally done on the side of the mouth on the upper or bottom piece of the lip. Over the years lip piercings have become more popular and go by a number of different names including; Labret, Monroe, Medusa, Vertical Labret, Snake Bites, Spider bites, Angel bites, Dolphin Bites, and Shark Bites. The piercings referring to “bites” are often two piercings placed together or symmetrically apart. The Labret piercing is one of the most traditional lip piercings and this is performed right below the lower lip and above the chin.
Lip Piercing Jewelry Options
Lip piercings offer two unique jewelry options; captive bead rings and labret or flat back studs. When getting your lip pierced your piercer will pick the correct size based on your anatomy and the overall size of your lip. A captive bead ring will usually come in three sizes, 18 gauge, 16 gauge and 14 gauge. The gauge refers to the overall thickness of the ring and a 16 gauge is smaller than a 14 gauge. When your piercer is helping you chose jewelry, they will take into account the possible swelling that happens after the piercing. This means the jewelry they use initially is a little longer or larger to account for the swelling.
The two most common diameters for the lip piercing are a 3/8" and 7/16". After the first three or four weeks you will be able to downsize the jewelry to smaller length that fits closer to the piercing. The swelling usually occurs in the first two weeks after having the piercing done. When changing the jewelry, you will have more options, such as a ring without a ball. A lip will almost always be pierced with a captive bead ring (or a flat back labret) because other rings have a seam that can get caught in the healing tissue. When you go to have the jewelry downsized you can switch the jewelry to a different type of ring or flatback.
Labret Piercing Jewelry Options
The Labret has similar jewelry options to the lip piercing. The labret is usually pierced with a flat back barbell because a ring would need to be very large to accommodate for swelling, especially because it is in the middle of the lip. The labret is usually pierced with a 16 gauge or a 14 gauge, but it can be done in an 18 gauge for some individuals. The 16 gauge and the 14 gauge tend to work better because they are thicker and there are more jewelry options in those sizes.
There are a few different lengths that the labret can be pierced at; 7/16" or 3/8". It is not uncommon for women to be pierced with a 3/8" and men to be pierced with a 7/16". This is dependent on your anatomy and that is something that your piercer will determine before the piercing. Both of these lengths work well because they are on the longer side and give the piercing extra room to swell. After the initial 1-2 weeks the swelling should start to subside, and you can downsize the jewelry after 3-4 weeks.
Types of Lip Piercings
The labret piercing is a horizontal piercing centered under the bottom lip. It doesn’t actually pierce through the lip, but in the space underneath, with the back of the piercing resting flush against the inside of the lip. The most common jewelry for labret piercings is a flat back barbell or threadless labret post (pushpin post), usually in a 14 gauge or 16 gauge. Captive rings or circular barbells can be worn too, but be careful of contact with your teeth. A labret piercing price starts around $50, and can vary depending on jewelry selection and shop location. We offer hundreds of styles: gold, stainless steel, and silicone labret jewelry with different tops like gems and opals. We also have threadless jewelry (pushpin) options.
The Monroe piercing is named after Marilyn Monroe because it is placed on the left side above the upper lip to resemble her iconic beauty mark. The Monroe piercing is usually pierced at a 16 gauge with a flat back barbell. You can also wear threadless or pushpin post jewelry. It costs about $50 to get a Monroe piercing, and it varies depending on which jewelry you select and also the shop you go to. We have Monroe rings and studs in stainless steel, gold, titanium, and silicone with plain tops, gemmed tops, and even CZ tops set in prongs for an extra elegant look.
The Medusa piercing or philtrum piercing is a horizontal piercing centered above the upper lip. It pierces through the indented groove in the upper lip, which is called the philtrum. Medusa piercings are usually pierced at a 16 gauge using a flat back barbell or threadless (or pushpin) labret post. The cost starts around $50 and varies depending on your choices of jewelry and shop location. Our labret jewelry is a perfect fit for Medusa piercings and we have hundreds of different styles. Our threadless jewelry options are also a great fit.
The vertical labret is a “vertical” version of the traditional labret piercing, which allows for both ends of the jewelry to show. The look is achieved by using a curved barbell, so that one end of the piercing is under the bottom lip like the horizontal labret and the other end rests in the center on top of the bottom lip. 16 gauge is typical for vertical labret piercings. The cost of this piercings starts around $50 and can vary depending on jewelry options and shop choice. Our curved barbells come in stainless steel, gold, titanium, and you can make this piercing even more eye catching with different colors and tops.
Snake bites are two piercings, one on each far side of the lower lip. The placement is supposed to mimic where snake fangs would be, or what a snake bite would look like. Our captive rings or even our circular barbells are wearable for snake bites piercings. You can also check out our labret studs. Snake bites can be pierced in either 16 gauge or 14 gauge, so be sure to check your size. Because it’s two separate piercings, the cost starts at $100 and ranges based on which jewelry you choose and the shop you get pierced at.
The Ashley piercing is one of the few lip piercings that truly pierces the lip, going through the center of the bottom lip and exiting out through the back of the lip. The official name is an inverted vertical labret, but presumably either the first piercer to give this piercing or the first person to receive this piercing was named Ashley. This piercing requires a flatback labret stud to help minimize contact with the teeth, most often in a 16 gauge. Pushpin labrets studs are another great choice. The price of an Ashley piercing is roughly $50, but it can range depending on the shop’s pricing and the jewelry selection.
The jestrum piercing is a vertical philtrum or medusa piercing, with the piercing exiting from the center of the top lip versus behind it, so that both sides of the barbell are visible. 16 gauge curved barbells are used in jestrum piercings to achieve the right look. The jestrum piercings starts around $50 and the final cost depends on the shop you visit and the jewelry you choose. Our selection of curved barbells has multiple colors, materials, and top/ends for you to choose from.
Spider bites piercings are two piercings on the same side of the far side of the lower lip, either left or right, sitting closely side by side like a spider bite would be. While they are most often pierced on the lower lip, occasionally some people choose to do them on the upper lip instead. As two separate piercings, the total price goes from $100 and up in terms of cost. Depending on the look you want, you can either wear two captive rings or two labret studs in spider bites piercings. Or you can even try out some of our circular barbells.
Angel bites piercings combine both the Monroe and the Madonna piercings as a combo set on the upper lip, one on each far side. Like dual beauty marks! We have labret studs and pushpin posts that work great for angel bites piercings. A 16 gauge is the most common size for these, but we also offer other sizes. The cost of angel bites piercings starts around 100 because it is two piercings, and the total cost can vary depending on jewelry and shop selections.
Named after the 1980s musical icon, the Madonna piercing goes through the upper right side of the lip, to match her famous beauty mark. The Madonna piercing is most often done with a 16 gauge labret stud or pushpin (threadless) post. Madonna piercings start around $50 and can vary depending on jewelry selection and shop location. We have over 200 styles of lip studs that work perfectly for Madonna piercings.
Cyber bites piercings combines two piercings, the Medusa, which is centered above the top lip, and the traditional labret piercing, which is centered under the bottom lip. There is only one end showing for each piercing, giving the look that the piercing actually spans between both lips. The top piercing for cyber bites needs to be a flatback labret stud or a pushpin post, which minimizes damage to the teeth. The bottom piercing can also be a labret stud or a captive ring, just be mindful of contact with your teeth. The cost of cyber bites piercings ranges from $100 ($50 for each one) and up, depending on the jewelry you select and the shop location.
Dolphin bites piercings are double labret piercings, sitting side by side under the center of the bottom lip. The cost of dolphin bites piercings starts around $100 ($50 for each one), and varies depending on which jewelry you select and also the shop you go to. The usual style is to wear two labret studs, but two lip rings will also work for dolphin bites piercings. We have captive rings and flatback studs for dolphin bites piercings and we have hundreds of options to choose from.
The Dahlia Bites piercing was inspired by a very dark story, but the look is really unique. Referencing Elizabeth Short from the infamous Black Dahlia Murder, the Dahlia bites are two piercings, one on each side of the corner of the mouth, extending the smile. (It is also sometimes called a Joker piercing!) Dahlia bites use two labret studs in 16 gauge or 14 gauge. The look is very eye-catching and striking with the classic stainless steel ends, but we offer a ton of different labret stud styles to customize your look.
Canine bites piercings are four piercings total! Two on the outer edges of the upper lip and two on the outer edges of the bottom lip, lining up to where the canine teeth would show against the mouth. Flatback labret studs in either 14 gauge or 16 gauge are the best choice for canine bites piercings. We have a huge selection of labret studs as well as threadless and pushpin posts with hundreds of different styles of ends and tops. The cost for canine bites piercings can range a lot since the piercing cost is multiplied by 4 and will be affected by jewelry choice, but will likely start between $100 and $150.
Shark bites piercings are four piercings total, all along the bottom lip, but with two clustered on the left and two clustered on the right. The 16 gauge size is recommended, but 14 gauge can work as well. A variety of jewelry types can be worn in shark bites piercings, depending on the look you want. Four labret studs is a common choice, and we havea wide variety of styles and decorative ends for labret studs that can still give the traditional jewelry choice a more updated look. Or you could mix and match how you like, and wear a labret stud in one piercing on each side, and either a captive ring or circular barbell in the other. Shark bites piercings can start around $200 ($50 for each piercing), but the total cost can vary depending on jewelry selection and shop location.
Lip Piercing Aftercare
The lip takes approximately 2-3 months to heal and during this time it is important to clean the inside and the outside of the piercing 1-2 times daily. The ideal cleaning schedule would be once in the morning and once at night. After getting your piercing go to your local pharmacy or grocery store and pick up a gallon of distilled water and non-iodized sea salt. Make sure the water is distilled and you are not substituting it for any other type of water (I.E. tap water). Non-iodized sea salt is pure or organic salt and the only ingredient on the bottle should be sea salt. When you get home, mix four teaspoons of the non-iodized sea salt into the gallon of distilled water and shake well.
When you are ready to clean your piercing pour some of this solution into a shot glass or a coffee mug. Make sure you are only using glass or porcelain cups because paper and plastic will contaminate the solution. Put the solution into the microwave for a few seconds, you want the solution to be luke warm or body temperature. Since everyone has a different microwave it might take a few tries to get the correct temperature. When you have the right temperature put the glass up to your piercing and submerge it for 7 to 15 minutes. After you are done soaking the outside take some of the solution (in a new cup) and swish it around in your mouth for 30 seconds. The inside of the mouth should be cleaned after eating, drinking, or smoking. You can take the gallon of solution and pour it into a smaller empty water bottle for when you need to clean on the go!
Things to Avoid
When you are working on healing a lip piercing it is important to keep movement to a minimum. You don’t want to touch it, move it, rotate it, or play with it with your tongue. The more movement the piercing has the more the healing is being disrupted. Movement can cause a buildup of scar tissue and it can also lead to infection. During the healing process stay away from public bodies of water such as Jacuzzis, pools, lakes, and ponds. Since this piercing is on the lip it is also important to limit kissing and other oral contact. If you have to touch the piercing for any reason make sure to do so with clean hands. Avoid all bottle cleaners such as; hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, Neosporin and Bactine. These cleaners tend to be harsh and they can do more damage than good. Following the aftercare with a saline soak should be the only type of cleaner needed for this piercing.
Disclaimer: If you have any questions or concerns about a piercing please consult a professional piercer or a Medical Doctor.