The Vertical Philtrum Piercing Information & Aftercare

Sometimes referred to as a jestrum piercing, the vertical philtrum piercing offers a unique take on standard oral adornments. Instead of piercing straight through the lip, the vertical philtrum punctures downwards through the outside top lip to the inner cusp of the lip itself. While every piercing is painful to a degree, the vertical philtrum piercing is one of the more painful oral piercings since it’s done at an angle and has to perforate thicker skin.

Vertical Philtrum Piercing

Even if pain doesn’t sway you from a vertical philtrum piercing, this piercing does require more precision than most. To start your search for a reputable piercer, head over to the Association of Professional Piercers’ website and fire up their ‘Find a Piercer’ tool. Along with ensuring you have a clear-cut piercing process, your APP-certified piercer will also assist you in picking out the right jewelry for healing a vertical philtrum piercing.

Most vertical philtrum piercings are pierced at 16g with a simple 3/8” curved barbell, and more jewelry options exist once your piercing is already healed. As a tip, titanium is the best material for new piercees with allergy concerns since it is surgical grade and non-reactive. Whether you’re looking for a snazzy piece or want to keep it simple later, titanium options are plentiful in the following style:

  • Curved barbells are the only jewelry style that can be worn safely with vertical philtrum piercings, since they are oriented to fit the piercing position and lip accordingly. This style features a lightly-curved barbell with two ends that screw off for easy application. Even if you get pierced with a basic curved style, you can certainly add a fancy end or sport a more colorful curved barbell once your piercing is healed.

Vertical Philtrum Curved Barbell

Vertical Philtrum Piercing Process

Once you’ve picked out your jewelry, your piercer will sterilize your jewelry and put on gloves for your piercing procedure.

As you’re ready, your piercer will sanitize your lip before using a surgical marker to mark the location of your new vertical philtrum piercing. After you’re sure about the placement, your piercer will clamp your lip to hold it steady before pushing the needle through your lip. All that’s left is to thread the jewelry through the needle and you have a fancy new vertical philtrum piercing!

How Long Does a Vertical Philtrum Piercing Take to Heal?

Healing time for vertical philtrum piercings usually ranges between 2 to 3 months depending on your body. You’ll need to be super careful during this time since this piercing is very easy to move around.

For starters, be extra conscious when you’re eating and drinking to keep movement to a minimum. Obviously, there will be some motion since you have to chew, but do your best to be gentle. Oral contact with others is not recommended during healing, both to avoid movement and foreign bacteria.

Along with mouth movements, never twirl or play with your piercing. This movement is like pulling off a scab, and thus undoes all of the hard work your body has made to heal! And remember: if you need to touch your piercing for any reason, always wash your hands first. Your hands touch so many things throughout the day, and this makes them a breeding ground for bacteria that can harm your new vertical philtrum piercing.

How do You Know When Your Vertical Philtrum Piercing is Healed?

Once you’re able to comfortably feel movement in your piercing, and there’s no crusting, pain or resistance, you can most likely assume that your healing period has finished. Be sure to wait at least two months to make this call, since every body takes healing at its own pace.

When Can You Change Your Vertical Philtrum Piercing Jewelry?

Your vertical philtrum piercing needs to be completely healed before you change your jewelry. Once you’re completely sure that your piercing is healed, prepare the new jewelry you want to use. Start by removing one end of your curved barbell and pulling the barbell out. Unscrew your next jewelry piece and carefully insert it into your vertical philtrum piercing before screwing the last end in.

It's important to note that if you feel any resistance or pain while you attempt to change your jewelry, you should keep your existing jewelry in your piercing and contact your piercer for further assistance.

Aftercare – How to Clean Your Vertical Philtrum Piercing

The best way to clean your vertical philtrum piercing is with saline spray or salt water soaks. You can also use anti-microbial soap on the outside of your piercing to clean off any debris in the shower.

Be super gentle while you clean your piercing no matter which method you’re using. For anti-microbial soap, carefully massage the soap around your piercing with a clean hand and allow the shower spray to rinse it off. For saline spray outside the shower, you can either spray it directly on your piercing and dab it off, or spray some on the corner of a paper towel and gently dab it on and around your piercing.

Salt water soaks also keep your piercing happy. Combine 4 teaspoons of salt with a gallon of water, and either keep some behind your lip as a soothing treatment, or soak a paper towel and hold it on your lip for a couple minutes.

No matter which method you choose, be sure to keep up with your oral hygiene routine, as this encourages faster healing on the fleshy part of your piercing.

What to Avoid

Never use bottle cleaners like hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol or antibacterial soap. These products will only irritate your piercing.

In addition to the above, avoid cotton balls and swabs since the fibers can get stuck on your piercing or jewelry and become irritating.

Be extra conscious of all of your movements while eating or drinking as stated above, and keep movement to a minimum.

And remember, if you absolutely have to touch your new vertical philtrum piercing, always wash your hands first. Also, don’t hesitate to contact your piercer or medical professional if you have issues along the way.