Lip Piercing: Pain, Side Effects, Healing, & Aftercare

Lip piercing guide

Lips piercings may not be as popular as ear piercings and nose piercings but they have recently emerged as a common way of adorning one’s lips. A lip piercing says so much about its wearer without them speaking, it gives off a daring and edgy aura.

If lip piercings have happened to catch your eye then you are certainly on the lookout for as much information as you would need before getting yours done.

You might be wondering how painful they are, how long they take to completely heal, what you would need to do to ensure that they heal properly, and several other questions. Below is a complete guide that answers all these questions and more!

What Are Lip Piercings?

Lip piercings are simply perforations made on the lips for the purpose of wearing jewelry.

You would wonder how uncomfortable it must be to have a piece of jewelry poking at the other end of a person’s mouth but this is interestingly never the case, most lip piercings are fitted on with a jewelry type known as a flat back labret lip ring or a lip stud, these lip studs are made to avoid discomfort while having jewelry on your lips because they do not have a poking tip but lay flat on the other end instead.

What Are The Types Of Lip Piercings?

There is a wide range of lip piercing types to choose from when deciding to get one. Lip piercings could either be single, double, or quadruple depending on the piercing type chosen.

Single lip piercings simply include one piercing on any preferred side of the lips, double lip piercings on the other hand are two piercings known with a single name and done as one, while a quadruple lip piercing is one where two double lip piercings are done opposite each other and known with a single name. Below are the different types of lip piercings;

  • Medusa lip piercings; a medusa lip piercing is a piercing made directly above the lip and right underneath the septum and can accommodate more than one lip piercing depending on your lip shape.
  • Madonna lip piercings; a madonna lip piercing is a piercing done at the right side of your upper lip.
  • Labret lip piercings; a labret lip piercing is generally any piercing done under the bottom lip, in this case, we are referring to a single labret piercing that rests in the center of the bottom lip and right above the chin.
  • Ashley lip piercings; an Ashley lip piercing is a piercing that rests beautifully in the middle of the bottom lip.
  • Monroe lip piercings; a Monroe lip piercing is likened to Marilyn Monroe’s beauty mark and is done on the left top side of the upper lip.
  • Cyber bites piercings; a cyber bite lip piercing is a double lip piercing that combines a medusa and labret piercings as one.
  • Angel bites piercings; an angel bites lip piercing also known as an angel kiss lip piercing combines a Monroe and madonna piercings to make one lip piercing.
  • Dahlia lip piercings; a dahlia lip piercing is one where both tips of the lips are pierced and referred to as a single piercing.
  • Dolphin lip piercings; a dolphin lip piercing is done by getting two labret piercings directly under your bottom lip at once.
  • Jestrum lip piercings; a jestrum lip piercing requires two piercings on the upper lip, one piercing passes through the middle of the upper lip and comes out where the medusa lip piercing is located.
  • Horizontal lip piercings; a horizontal lip piercing involves two of the Ashley lip piercings done side by side as a single piercing.
  • Snake bites lip piercings; a snake bite lip piercing is one where both one piercing is gotten on both sides of your bottom lip.
  • Spider bites lip piercings; a spider bites lip piercing involves getting two piercings on the left side of your bottom lip.
  • Vertical labret lip piercings; a vertical labret lip piercing is a lip piercing that combines getting an Ashley piercing and a single labret lip piercing as one.
  • Shark bites lip piercings; a shark bites lip piercing involves getting two piercing on both sides of your bottom lips.
  • Canine lip piercings: a canine lip piercing is a quadruple lip piercing that combines getting an angel bites lip piercing and a snake bites lip piercing as one.
Lip piercing guide
Types Of Lip Piercing. Image: BodyCandy

How Bad Do Lip Piercings Hurt?

The skin on the lips and around the lips are very fragile and sensitive in comparison to the skin on the ears and nose, for this reason, a lip piercing will hurt more than an ear piercing or nose piercing. The amount of pain experienced while getting a lip piercing will however vary from person to person based on their pain tolerance level or pain IQ.

Lip piercings tend to hurt more than other piercings during the first few hours after it has been gotten. Your lips will have little scars that may take a while to heal and the sensitivity that applies to the skin surrounding your lips or on your lips – depending on which lip piercing you get – would cause your lips to swell for a day at most.

The swelling of your lips is merely the body’s initial reaction to a needle making contact with the lips and is no cause for concern or alarm as it would go back to normal soon enough.

The amount of pain felt after getting a lip piercing would also depend on which part of your lips get pierced. The needle gauge used in piercing your lips might also contribute to how much or how little pain will be felt as it goes through the lips or sides of the lips for some piercings.

Another factor that contributes to the pain experienced from getting a lip piercing is how experienced and careful the piercer is, an experienced piercer knows how to maneuver and instruct you such that it is swift and in some instances painless.

Do Lip Piercings Heal Quickly?

The healing process of a lip piercing is highly dependent on how seriously a person follows through with the aftercare procedures necessary for a lip piercing. The lips are a very delicate area of the body and are at a high risk of contracting infections if not properly cared for, and infections tend to increase the healing time of the lip piercing.

Lip piercings should take an average of six weeks to eight weeks to heal, while this is an approximate time the only part of the lips that would be properly healed will be the visible parts. The fistula tissue which is delicate and located on the inner part of the lips will still take longer to completely rebuild and be healed.

For some complex lip piercings such as the vertical medusa, joker bites, and Monroe, healing would take even longer than normal. It could take as long as three months or more for these lip piercing types to heal and then a couple more weeks for the fistula or skin tissue to heal perfectly as well.

Healing may also vary from person to person judging from their perseverance with the aftercare process and whether they experience any infections or other possible complications.

How To Take Care Of A Lip Piercing?

The aftercare process required for lip piercings is the most important part of getting one, a lip piercing is merely an injury until it completely heals and the only way your lip piercing can heal without complications is when you follow through religiously with all the aftercare processes.

Lip piercings are very sensitive and fragile hence they would require extra attention and care than other body piercings, the mouth houses a lot of bacteria and this may increase the risk of contracting infections while your lip piercing heals.

It is important to clean your mouth properly and constantly after getting a lip piercing, using an alcohol-free or saline solution you would be required to rinse your mouth thoroughly for at least thirty seconds.

You should use this alcohol-free or saline solution to rinse your mouth after you eat, drink or smoke (it is best to completely avoid smoking while your lip piercing is still undergoing healing). Before you retire to bed you should also rinse your mouth, the mouth has a lot of bacteria, and your lip piercing would easily get infected if it is not kept clean at all times.

You would also need to clean the outside of the piercing as well as the jewelry as a part of your aftercare procedure. Using a mild and unscented soap of your choice, use your fingers to gently wash around the lip piercing site as well as the jewelry. Rinse carefully and this should soften and get rid of crust around your lip piercing.

This particular process should be done only once daily and your hands should be properly washed and cleaned before the process is begun.

Once or twice a day you would need to soak your lip piercing in a saline solution of a homemade salt solution done using a quarter tablespoon of salt and boiling water. Fill a cup with the homemade salt solution or saline solution and soak your lip piercing and jewelry in it for five to ten minutes and gently rinse the lip piercing area with warm water afterward.

Make sure to brush and floss your teeth at least twice daily while your lip piercing heals. To be safer, make it a habit to brush after every meal to reduce the number of bacteria your lip piercing is exposed to. Rinse your mouth with an alcohol-free solution after brushing to flush out bacteria in spots you might have missed.

Also, make sure to brush very gently to avoid irritating your piercing or causing an injury as that would lengthen and complicate your healing time.

Your lips are now being surrounded by one or more lip piercings so your eating habits will have to be adjusted to accommodate the lip piercings. You would need to eat slowly and very carefully to avoid irritating your lip piercing. It is advisable to only eat soft types of food during the first few days after getting your lips pierced.

After the first few days, you can begin eating solid food again but you would need to cut them into small pieces to chew slowly. Make a conscious effort not to bite your lips while eating as that would irritate the piercing. Do not chew close to the lip piercing to avoid causing yourself any form of discomfort.

It is safe to use small pieces of ice to reduce the pain and swelling around your lip piercing. Cold food and drinks surprisingly soothe your piercing site and also eases the swelling visible around it. Avoid things such as chewing gums that would make you chew roughly and mistakenly bite down on your piercing or make any contact with it.

What Not To Do After Getting A Lip Piercing?

As much as an aftercare routine is a critical part of the healing process, knowing what to do and what to avoid while your lip piercing heals is equally as important.

If you’re following through with your aftercare procedures and neglecting some instructions on what is safe and what is not while your lip piercing heals, you would still end up battling with one complication or the other. Below are what to avoid after getting a lip piercing;

1. Don’t let your jewelry get snagged

You must be very careful while wearing clothes and while taking them off because of your jewelry. Lip piercing jewelry is known to easily get snagged on clothes, your hair, and other things they may come in contact with.

Getting snagged on items and being pulled off of them leads to irritations and exposes your lip piercing to infections as well. For this reason, you would need to be very careful what you let come in contact with your lip piercing.

Lip piercing

2. Avoid fondling with or removing your jewelry

You may be uncomfortable with the presence of jewelry on your lips for the first few days but you must resist the temptation to play with your jewelry. Avoid trying to readjust the jewelry as well as it would only irritate the lip piercing site much to your displeasure.

Removing your jewelry is also strongly advised against while your lip piercing is still healing as you would only introduce new bacteria into the piercing in the process. Removal of the jewelry might also cause the lip piercing site to begin to close when it should have been adjusting to the presence of the jewelry.

3. Avoid using unclean hands or surfaces to touch the jewelry

You should avoid making contact with your lip piercing and jewelry as much as possible. Your hands come in contact with different surfaces that have bacteria and when you use them to touch your lip piercing or jewelry you are exposing yourself to infections and irritations that could have easily been avoided.

Whenever you need to touch your jewelry or lip piercing you should thoroughly wash your hands and properly dry them. You would also need to change your beddings and pillowcases often because as your lips brush against them while you sleep, you expose your piercing to bacteria and possible infections.

4. Avoid the use of alcohol-based mouth wash or intake of alcohol

The aftercare procedures are particular about alcohol-free mouthwash because alcohol is a blood-thinning solution, it tends to dry up your piercing and lengthen the healing time as well. Intake of alcohol, while your lip piercing heals, should be avoided as it makes it harder for your blood to clot which is a necessary process for the healing process.

5. Avoid wet kissing, engaging in oral sex, or getting soaked in water

Any activity that causes your piercing to come in contact with bacteria should be strictly avoided. Engaging in wet kissing and any form of oral sex exposes your prematurely healed lip piercing to bacteria as well as irritate it. You would also need to avoid soaking your face in any water, swimming in pools, or visiting a sauna. These are ways in which bacterial infections are developed.

Lip Piercing FAQs

We tried to answer a few of your lip-piercing questions.

Are lip piercings painful?

Lip piercings are painful but the pain is not intolerable, the pain from getting your lips pierced lasts only for a few hours after the procedure is completed. The lips and the skin around it are more fragile than is the case for other body parts so it hurts a little more.

Are lip piercings unprofessional?

Although lip piercings are popular and are accepted in the social scene, they are still frowned upon in official settings. For this reason, several jobs and official gatherings might require you to take out your lip piercings to be seen as professional.

Do lip piercings affect kissing?

While your piercing is prematurely healing, kissing might irritate your piercing and expose it to bacterial infections. It is best to avoid kissing and especially French kisses while your lip piercing heals.

Do lip piercings close up quickly?

Lip piercings could take as long as six months to completely close up and for the scar to clear up, is for some reason you need to keep your jewelry out for a while they take pretty long to close up so you need not worry.

Do lip piercings ruin your teeth?

When the jewelry in your lip piercing constantly comes in contact with your teeth by scratching it while you eat, sleep or brush it could cause damage to your teeth in the long run. It is advisable to take your jewelry out when you eat, sleep or brush if it is fully healed.

Do lip piercings heal quickly?

Most lip piercings take between one and a half to two months to heal but some complex lip piercings may take as long as three months to heal. For a smooth healing process, you would need to take your aftercare process very seriously.

Do lip piercings make kissing better?

It would feel differently from person to person but it would not ruin kissing for either of the involved parties. It would not be uncomfortable and for some persons, it may turn out to be more enjoyable.

Do lip piercings get infected easily?

Lip piercings pose a higher risk of getting infected because the mouth comes in contact with a lot of bacteria. As long as you brush often, use a salt solution to rinse your mouth, and soak your jewelry in saline solution, it should be safe from infections.

Is it hard to eat with a lip piercing?

Eating is tricky after getting a lip piercing, you would need to stick to your foods during the first few days after getting your lips pierced. You would also need to chew very slowly and carefully so that you don’t end up biting your lips and causing irritations.

In summary

Lip piercings are a beautiful way to adorn one’s lips, it was earlier frowned upon but has crept out and is making an amazing impression in society today. Lip piercings are trendy and seen as an interesting way to adorn one’s face with jewelry.

There are different types of lip piercings to choose from and several lovely jewelry choices as well.

Lip piercings are particularly sensitive in comparison to other body piercings because the skin tissue of the lips is fragile and the mouth constantly comes in contact with a lot of bacteria. The pain level is subject to a person’s pain tolerance but it hurts more than ear and nose piercings also owing to the sensitive skin.

With proper care and adherence to the necessary instructions, your lip piercing will heal perfectly without infections or complications and you can begin showing off with different jewelry of your choice.

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