When you think of a mouth piercing, you likely think of a lip piercing or a tongue piercing. However, there are several different types of lip piercings that can offer an edgier look, including inside lip piercings.
Inside lip piercings are unique with both pros and cons to consider. Keep reading for more details and help determine if it’s the right piercing for you.
What Is an Inside Lip Piercing?
Just as the name implies, inside lip piercings are piercings located inside your lip. They’re different from traditional lip piercings because instead of going piercing just above or below your lip, they go directly through your lip.
There are slight variations for inner lip piercings, some more visible than others. You can opt to have an inside lip piercing fully inside your mouth or on the edge so it’s visible even when your mouth is fully closed.
Most inside lip piercings consist of a barbell so you’ll have an entry and exit point. You can work with your piercer to figure out exactly what type of inner lip piercing you want, where you want it, and what type of jewelry you’ll wear.
Variant 1: Smiley Piercing
The jewelry used is only visible when an individual smiles, hence the name. And it is most commonly preferred by those individuals who want a discrete piercing.
The smiley piercing is not a permanent piercing. Instead, it will only last a few years. Eventually, most people’s bodies will reject it, as the tissue of the lip frenulum is very thin and its area very small.
The most common jewelry in this piercing includes the circular barbell, the captive bead ring, or a seamless ring that either has or lacks any adornment.
They can be designed from implant-grade titanium, Niobium, 14-karat gold, or surgical stainless steel. This piercing range from 18G to 16G in thickness.
Variant 2: Frowny Piercing
A frowny piercing, also called an anti-smiley piercing, goes through your bottom frenulum. Your frenulum is the piece of tissue that connects the bottom of your gums to your bottom lip. This is the opposite of the smiley piercing, which goes through your upper frenulum.
Depending on what jewelry you choose, the frowny piercing can be completely hidden (unless you pull down your bottom lip). This gives you control over when to show it off.
Like the smiley piercing, this is not a permanent piercing. Eventually, most people’s bodies will reject a frowny piercing.
If you want it to be visible, you can select jewelry so that the piercing shows at the top of your bottom lip when you grimace or open your mouth.
Inside Lip Piercing Pros and Cons
There are pros and cons to any type of piercing, including an inside lip piercing. Potential advantages of an inner lip piercing include:
- Unique placement that offers an edgier look
- It only lasts a few years and is a great choice if you are not looking for a permanent piercing.
- Depending on location, it could be hidden if you want it to be
- Can show your dedication and love for body piercings
Potential disadvantages of an inner lip piercing include:
- In some cases, it can cause gum recession, teeth erosion, and teeth enamel damage due to its location.
- It is not a permanent piercing. Eventually, most people’s bodies will reject a smiley piercing.
- Since your mouth is full of bacteria, it’s more prone to infection than some other piercings.
Are Inside Lip Piercings Painful?
The level of pain inside lip piercings will cause varies based on the person, the location, and their pain tolerance. Many have rated inside lip piercings at a five or a six on a scale from one to ten with one being the least amount of pain and ten being the worst.
Inside Lip Piercing Healing Time
As with most lip piercings, an inside lip piercing usually takes about 6 to 8 weeks to heal. This is an average, so you may heal quicker. If the piercing isn’t done properly or isn’t taken care of, the healing process could take much longer.
It’s best to check with your piercer for full instructions on how to care for your piercing. In most cases, you’ll need to clean your mouth multiple times a day, usually with a saltwater rinse.
Your piercer may also give you an aftercare rinse or spray to get rid of any bacteria and help prevent infection. You should also make sure not to touch or play with your piercing as it heals.
How Much Is an Inside Lip Piercing?
The cost mostly depends on the location and price of the jewelry. Most stores charge between $30-$80. Some websites list their charges, and it would be wise to go through them before visiting the store.
Potential risks of Inside Lip Piercings
Like all piercings, inside lip piercing comes with some risks. Here are some of the main ones to watch for:
All piercings carry some risk of infection. However, since the inside lip piercing is in your mouth and your mouth is full of bacteria, infection is especially likely.
Your piercer will likely tell you to rinse your mouth with a saline solution a few times a day (and often after eating). Make sure you follow aftercare instructions to minimize your risk of infection!
If you get an inside lip piercing, rejection is extremely likely. The frenulum constantly regenerates cells, and the smiley piercing will usually be pushed out of place. It often pushes against the tendon at the edge of the frenulum, causing some pain and irritation.
If you notice the piercing starting to move, get in touch with your piercer right away for advice. Otherwise, it can lead to a buildup of scar tissue.
3. Teeth damage and gum recession
Since the inside lip piercing is located in your mouth, the piercing jewelry, especially if it is a captive bead ring, may knock against your teeth and gums. And this will cause problems like teeth erosion, gum recession, and teeth enamel damage.
If this happens, consider switching to a plain ring or even removing the jewelry. You should also consult with a reputable piercer. They can tell you if the placement is off and advise you on what to do next.
That being said, if you already have damaged gums or any other gum disease, you probably aren’t a candidate for a smiley piercing.
What Gauge is an Inside Lip Piercing?
A gauge in the context of lip piercing refers to the barbell thickness passing through the lip piercing. This piercing range from 18G (1 mm) to 16G (1.2 mm) in thickness. If you are unsure what size gauge to use for your lip piercing, consult with your piercer.
Jewelry for Inside Lip Piercings
One of the best parts of having a piercing is choosing what type of jewelry you want. You can also switch it out based on your style preferences.
For inside lip piercings, barbells are the most popular choice. Barbells may position your piercing to be more visible, especially if you pierce your upper lip and allow the barbell to hang down.
You can go with a barbell that has metal balls on either end, diamonds, other gemstones, or even spikes. You’ll typically screw these accents on which makes them easy to change.
2. Hoop and captive bead rings
When they are inserted properly, hoops create a complete, closed shape. They are typically just metal hoops, which is ideal if you’re looking for something simple.
If you want something more interesting, you can also choose a captive bead ring. With a captive bead ring, a stone, bead, or other decoration is held “captive” on the ring.
Should I Get an Inside Lip Piercing?
The decision to get an inside lip piercing shouldn’t be taken lightly. It requires a commitment to keep the piercing clean and to monitor for rejection or embedding. Here are some questions to ask yourself before setting up a piercing appointment:
- Am I okay with having a piercing inside my lip?
- Will I be bothered by a lip ring when I’m talking or eating?
- Can I commit to months of healing with thorough cleaning multiple times a day?
- What type of jewelry do I want to wear on my lip?
Inside Lip Piercing Aftercare
- Take care to avoid contaminating the piercing.
- Rinse your mouth with water after eating.
- Avoid touching it.
- Brush your teeth twice a day.
- Clean your piercing twice per day using a saline/salt solution.
- When brushing your teeth and cleaning your mouth, use an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash.
- Don’t move the piercing before it heals. Pulling on a piercing early in healing is painful, but it also can get in the way of healing or damage the piercing itself.
- No kissing.
- Eat slowly, and think about chewing. Avoid hot and spicy food and hot drinks which will scald and/or increase swelling.
How to Clean an Inside Lip Piercing?
- Make a salt solution by mixing 1/2 teaspoon of salt with one cup of water. Stir the solution until it dissolves. As an alternative, you can buy a ready-to-use saline solution.
- Soak a cotton ball in the solution and dab it around the piercing site. Don’t remove the jewelry!
- Take clean gauze or tissue and pat the area dry.
Your piercer should give you detailed instructions on keeping your piercing clean once the piercing has been placed.
With a reliable piercer, high-quality jewelry, and thorough cleaning, you could have a great experience with an inside lip piercing. Just be sure to think through all potential pros and cons. If you’re looking for a unique new piercing, this could be just the one for you.