A lip piercing is a puncture either on the bottom or on the upper lip. It is not something new as multiple cultures all over the world have been practicing it for religious reasons or as a symbol of identity.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about lip piercing, including all 16 classy lip piercing types, pain, costs, cleaning and caring, materials and shopping tips for lip piercing jewelry, and so on.
Lip piercing types
There are various lip piercing types that you could choose. Some lip piercings obtain their names from celebrities like Monroe and Madonna, and some from animals and plants.
In terms of location, we have upper lip piercing, bottom lip piercing as well as side lip piercing (piercings specific in the right or left side of lips) and middle lip piercing (in the middle of the lip).
Regarding the number of piercings, we have one single piercing, double piercings, and quadruple piercings. The latter two include a pair or more of piercings on either side of the upper or low lip.
You can also find horizontal lip piercing and vertical lip piercing depending on the direction of the piercing.
Apart from the classy lip piercing types demonstrated above in the lip piercing chart, nowadays we can also find niche ones like inside lip piercing (smiley piercing) and cheek piercing.
Upper lip piercing
1. Madonna lip piercing
The piercing is a mimicry of the Monroe lip piercing style. It is located far off, above the right lip on the right side. The pain levels of the piercing are in the middle of the pain scale, rating at a four on the pain scale.
It takes about 6-12 weeks before one can begin to heal from the piercing. However, it takes around nine months to completely heal, depending on an individual’s care practice and skin type.
The usual gauges and sizes for the piercing are 14 gauge and 16 gauge, 8mm and 10mm, respectively. The most suitable jewelry for the Madonna lip piercing is the labret stud. You could explore other jewel options to achieve an edgy look after it completely heals.
2. Medusa lip piercing
The medusa piercing is also known as the philtrum. It acquires the name based on the location of the piercing. It is a single perforation on the indented part of the upper lip.
Every piercing is painful and the pain levels are determined by the individual’s pain tolerance. The pain level for the Medusa piercing ranges on the lower spectrum of the scale. The healing time for this style is three months.
The 14G or the 16G needle is suitable for this piercing. In the beginning, a long labret stud is a perfect jewelry style that can be replaced with preferred jewelry after total healing.
3. Monroe lip piercing
The piercing is a mimicry of Marylin Monroe’s beauty trademark. It is located far off, above the upper lip on the left side. This piercing is almost the same as the Madonna piercing except for their positioning. Its location is on the left side of the lip.
The pain levels of the piercing are in the middle of the pain scale. It takes about 6-12 weeks before one can completely heal from the piercing, but until then, one must maintain oral hygiene and avoid swimming pools as they harbor germs that may disrupt the healing process.
The usual gauges and sizes for the piercing are 14 gauge and 16 gauge, 8mm and 10mm, respectively. The most suitable jewelry for the Monroe lip piercing is the labret stud.
4. Jestrum lip piercing
Jestrum lip piercing, otherwise known as vertical medusa piercing, is positioned in the philtrum of the upper lip. Dissimilar to Medusa, it uses a curved Barbell. Both ends of the piercing are visible outside, with the lower part of the barbell bending or undulating around the upper lip.
Although the lip itself is punctured, the findings are that the pain levels are in the middle of the pain scale. It takes about 6-12 weeks for the piercing to heal, The most used piece of jewelry is the curved Barbell with a gauge of 14G to 16G, and the size is 2.5 to 4.0 mm.
Experts recommend that an individual uses sterilized titanium banana Barbells. Finally, this type of piercing would suit people who want something unique but underrated at the same time.
Bottom lip piercing
5. Ashley lip piercing
The Ashley lip piercing is a single piercing to the center of the bottom lip and an exit at the back of the lip. It is commonly effective when used with studs as they tend to draw attention to the lower lip.
This piercing, also known as the inverted vertical labret, has a high pain level, mainly because it entails the perforation of a large part of the lip tissue and swelling after the piercing. The pain is rated at 6 on a scale of 1 to 10, with the healing time being between 8 and 10 weeks, although the inner part of the lip may take a bit longer to heal.
The most common piece of jewelry for this piercing is the labret stud, designed from 14 carats or higher of gold, titanium, surgical stainless steel, and pure sterling silver. The thickness of the jewelry worn can range between 14G and 18G.
Ensure that you get a professional to conduct this piercing since it needs correct placement with careful consideration for the nerve endings, gums, veins, and teeth.
6. Labret lip piercing
Labret piercing is common, and the piercing studs get their names from it. The style is a single perforation of the central part below the bottom lip—people who experience the labret rate the pain on the lower end of the pain scale.
In eight weeks, the wound from the piercing should have healed. Most people prefer the 14gauge with a length of 3/8 inches. The style is versatile, and you can opt for a piece of flat-back stud jewelry, captive beads rings, or a circular Barbell.
7. Side labret lip piercing
Side labret is similar to labret lip piercing mentioned above, it is just that side labret sits on one side of our bottom lip instead of the center.
8. Vertical labret lip piercing
A vertical labret is a distinct form of labret lip piercing. The piercing runs from the middle of the bottom lip to the outer and upper surface of the lower lip. In this type of piercing, the ends of the jewelry are visible from both sides.
An individual should expect a sharp pain that subsides in a short time. Within six to eight weeks, the piercing will start to heal. However, it takes four months at minimum to completely heal.
The curved Barbell is most suitable for a vertical labret piercing as it curves and fits the natural shape of an individual’s lips. The gauge can be a 14 or 16 gauge which may be 8mm to 12mm long depending on the client’s lips.
Double lip piercings
9. Dahlia piercing
This lip piercing derives its name from the famous actress Black Dahlia. The actress was a victim of murder in the 1940s. It is also known as the joker piercing. It is a double perforation on both corners of the mouth nearing the end of the lips.
This type of piercing is less painful, with most people rating the pain at 4 out of 10. However, it takes longer to heal since it is done in two sittings. Its healing time is approximately 20 weeks, and it could take longer depending on an individual’s skin type.
A 14 gauge stud is most suitable for the Dahlia piercing and goes well with the flat disc labret studs.
10. Angel bites piercing
Angel Bites seem to fit any trend and style. The Angel Bites are symmetrical double perforations above the upper lip. An individual can choose to have them on either the left or the right side.
This piercing tends to be painful depending on the thickness of the area, but it is manageable. The pain level is slightly above average, ranging from six out of ten. It will take an average of sixteen weeks for the angel bite to recover.
Most people prefer to use a labret stud for this style. Normally, a 14G size is more suitable.
11. Snake bites piercing
Snake Bites piercings obtain the name from the look as it resembles the fangs of a snake. This style has perforations on each side of the lower lip, with each lip side piercing sitting equidistant from the center of the lower lip.
During piercing, you may feel a pinch for each perforation. However, the pain level of this style is a three out of ten, taking approximately three months to heal.
With the snake bites piercing, you can use the 14G or 16G size hollow needle. The labret bar is a safe category, but also the ring piercing that wraps around the lip is a good option.
12. Spider bites piercing
The Spider Bites resemble a real spider bite, thus the name. They are two piercings not far from each other, and they are both at the lower lip on either the right or left side of the lip.
The level of pain in this piercing depends on the technique of the piercer. If you get the piercing separately, the pain levels are on the lower end of the scale. However, if the piercings happen simultaneously, you may experience more pain.
The healing process takes place in twelve weeks. This piercing goes well with twister Barbells or labret studs with a gauge of 14.
13. Cyber bites lip piercing
This kind of style is a double lip piercing, a perforation at the groove above your upper lip and symmetrically below the lower lip. It is a combination of regular labret piercing and double piercing. The Cyber Bites piercing enters the mouth and involves two piercings at one go.
As such, the recipient is more likely to feel pain. The discomfort is more if you have a low tolerance for pain. The pain level is relatively halfway to the pain scale. The care you give this piercing will affect the healing time. With proper care, you should be able to start healing from the eighth week.
The 14G size fits this kind of style. Its versatility allows you to try out different jewelry styles that give a unique asymmetrical look. However, the labret stud is safe to use until the piercing heals.
14. Dolphin bites piercing
As the name suggests, Dolphin Bites aim at achieving a look that appears like the little mouth bite of the dolphin. The perforations are on the lower lip. They are close to each other, with each having an equal distance from the center of the lower lip.
This piercing can be painful since the perforations are simultaneous, a process that may increase the pain you feel since it covers a wide surface of nerve distribution. However, most people range from five on the pain scale.
It takes approximately eight weeks to recover from a dolphin bite piercing and up to six months to heal completely. The 16G is the most common piercing needle size, and the labret studs are most suitable for this style. You can insert a ring when you fully recover.
Quadruple lip piercings
15. Shark bites piercing
Individuals who choose this rare kind of piercing aim to have their lips look like this sea animal has bitten them. It seems like a double spider bite piercing.
They are four distinct perforations, two on the right side and two on the left side of the lower lip. The piercing may be painful due to the number of perforations your skin has to endure. The level could range from a six out of ten at the least.
However, your pain tolerance levels will come to play. It may take up to six months to heal, and a Barbell is a good choice, especially for people with fuller lips. The labret stud is also a good choice. Use the 1.2mm by 8mm size needle and jewelry.
16. Canine bites piercing
The Canine Bites piercing derives its name from its location. It is placed near where your canines are. The canine bite style is a bit of the spider bite piercing, and the angel bite gives a person a unique, sophisticated look.
The pain level ranks halfway on the scale. If you cannot handle the pain, you could always heal the first pair of piercings and get the second one. However, due to the multiple perforations, your body may get into shock or intense pain at that moment.
The beginning of the healing process is at twelve weeks. This style is versatile, and a 14G hollow needle and the flat back labret are the most suitable size and jewelry, respectively. You could also wear various hoop-style jewelry.
Inside lip piercing
17. Smiley lip piercing
The Smiley lip piercing, also called the frenulum, is done on the inside of the upper lip. The jewelry used is only visible when an individual smile, hence the name. The piercing is done on the thin tissue that connects the gums and the upper lip and is most commonly preferred by those individuals who want a discrete piercing. The healing time for this piercing ranges between 4 and 12 weeks.
The Smiley piercing may hurt much more than the earlobe or lip piercing due to the thin size of the frenulum. The most common jewelry used in this piercing includes the captive bead ring, a seamless ring that either has or lacks any adornment, or a circular Barbell. They can be designed from surgical titanium, Niobium, 14-karat gold, or surgical stainless steel. This jewelry can have a range of 18G to 16G in thickness.
How much is a lip piercing?
Always ask the piercer how much it will cost you to get a lip piercing. The cost mostly depends on the location, type of piercing, 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.
How bad does a lip piercing hurt?
The skin that forms the lips and the surrounding areas is usually thinner than the skin on the other parts of the body. It is also more sensitive.
Piercing on the lips is relatively painful compared to piercings on other parts of the body. Pain tolerance varies in different people. However, most people rate the pain level at four or five out of ten.
How long does it take a lip piercing to heal?
Lip piercing healing time is about 6 to 8 weeks. For some people, it may take less (3 weeks) or more time (up to 3 months) to heal all the way.
Lip piercing gauge sizes
What gauge is a lip piercing? A gauge in the context of lip piercing refers to the barbell thickness passing through the lip piercing.
Size gauges are crucial as they determine the health of your piercing. The gauge will also determine the kind of jewelry that you will choose.
The jewelry may reject the piercing if the sizes do not match. The diameter determines the size, and there are two primary size gauges in lip piercing. The 16G or 1,2mm and the 14G or 1,6mm.
With size gauges, the smaller the number, the bigger the gauge. The larger the number, the smaller the size gauge. If you are unsure what size gauge to use for your lip piercing, consult with your piercer.
Lip piercing jewelry
1. Lip studs
Flatback studs are also known as labret studs or flat disc studs. The studs are designed to give a comfortable feel in the mouth as it has a flat back on one of its ends and an accessory such as a ball, charm, or stone on the other end that is threaded.
It is designed with consideration to fit and get into contact with the lip and gums, and teeth.
The studs can display both sides of the jewel, with one end of the stud having threads and the other with a design. They have the advantage of better healing for the piercings and are designed with safe materials that mean they are good for health.
- They heal relatively quickly
- They don’t cause much discomfort
- They aren’t extremely noticeable
- They can come out more easily than lip rings
- If not cleaned regularly, they can get infected
2. Lip piercing rings and hoops
The hoop rings are typically designed as segment rings. This feature allows a single segment of the hoop to be removed entirely. It provides for reduced infection risks and gives extra comfort when adorned on the lip. When getting a piercing with the hoop and ring, the best material is stainless steel, platinum, or 14 karats gold.
- Lip rings and hoops are classic and timeless
- They offer a clean look.
- They’re also less likely to get caught on clothing because of their closed design.
- They usually remain securely in place
- They are comfortable.
- Thin hoops can be bent very easily
- They can be hard to insert at first
- You may need to be careful to avoid distorting the shape as you open and close the jewelry.
3. Curved barbells
Curved barbells are another popular choice among all types of lip jewelry. They have a curve that takes the shape of an arch with two balls on either end. You can go with a traditional round bead or opt for other shapes and accents.
- They are a great option, especially when you’re going for a double or vertical bottom lip piercing.
- Barbell jewelry can be a great statement piece and can stand out
- The curved shape can make lip piercings more comfortable
- They are available in a very wide variety of designs
- They may not be the best option if you’re looking for something subtle
- They also may get caught easily on items like clothing.
- They heal more slowly than studs
- They tend to be prone to migration or rejection
Recommended materials for lip piercing jewelry
1. Implant-Grade Titanium
Titanium is an element that is completely hypoallergenic, so it’s probably the best material for lip piercings, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Implant-grade titanium is the purest form and will not change or corrode if it’s exposed to skin or bodily fluids. Implant-grade titanium jewelry is durable, hypoallergic, lead-free, nickel free, and non-corrosive.
Implant-grade titanium is often marketed as ASTM F-136 titanium. Compared to ASTM F-136 titanium, G23 titanium is not an implant grade of titanium.
Price Range: About $10-$20.
- Approved by the Association of Professional Piercers
- Won’t cause allergic reactions
- Is scratch-resistant and won’t fade
- Not as valuable as gold, silver, or platinum
- Doesn’t sparkle quite as much as other metals
2. 14K or 18K Gold
If you’re looking for a glittering, valuable metal for your lip piercing jewelry, either 14K or 18K gold may be your answer.
It is also one of the best metals for lip piercings that are highly recommended not only by piercing experts but also doctors. Its excellent quality of being inert makes it suitable for first piercings.
However, gold is a fairly soft metal, so it doesn’t stand up to scratches and excessive wear. Compared to 14K gold, 18K gold is more prone to being affected by everyday use as it is softer and is closer to being pure 24K gold.
Both of these metals include other metal types in order to make them stronger. In order to avoid skin reactions, look for nickel-free metals.
Price Range: About $30-$200.
- One of the most valuable materials
- Will not easily tarnish
- Offers plenty of sparkles
- Is easy to engrave or use to set stones
- May contain non-hypoallergenic metals
- 18K gold in particular is not very scratch resistant
Platinum is a precious metal, so it’s one of the pricier options on the list. It’s completely hypoallergenic, so it’s safe for even very sensitive skin. Its brilliant luster makes it a good choice for those seeking a sparkly, high-end look.
Price Range: About $40-$200.
- Hypoallergenic and non-reactive
- Has a brilliant shine
- Is a very valuable material
- Is a lot heavier than other metals
- It’s uncommon, so your jewelry choices might be limited
4. Surgical Stainless Steel
Lots of new piercings are done in stainless steel. This material is affordable and typically doesn’t cause reactions. However, it contains a small amount of nickel, so if you have a nickel allergy, it might be best to choose something else.
It is incredibly resistant to corrosion and will keep its shine for years.
If you’re considering steel, 316L or 316 LVM steel is probably your best choice. Both names stand for the same surgical steel material, but the “VM” stands for”vacuum melt,” or the way the steel is produced.
Price Range: About $10-$40.
- Very affordable
- Common enough that you’ll have plenty of jewelry choices
- Extremely durable and resistant to damage and corrosion
- May cause reactions in those with nickel allergies
- Not considered as valuable as some other materials
Niobium is also one of the best metals for medusa lip piercings. It is a highly pure, hypoallergenic metal that’s a lot like titanium. However, it is heavier than titanium and more expensive to produce, so it tends to be harder to find in the world of body jewelry.
Price Range: About $20-$60.
- Won’t react when exposed to bodily fluids
- Completely hypoallergenic
- Has a brilliant shine
- Rare enough that your jewelry choices might be limited
- Heavier than titanium
Infected lip piercing
During the healing process, a lip piercing may contact an infection due to frequent contact with food, saliva, bacteria, or as a result of embedding.
What does an infected lip piercing look like? An infected lip piercing may manifest signs such as inflammation. You may also feel some warmth and notice some discharge. If you see a bump, seek medical advice as it may be a severe infection.
How to make lip piercing swelling go down fast? If your piercing is swelling, the following practices can help reduce the swelling fast:
- Clean the lip area with a saline solution or a piercing aftercare spray. You can also use antiseptic solutions, such as betadine, isopropyl alcohol, or diluted hydrogen peroxide.
- Apply warm compression on the lip area
- Take some antibiotic drugs
- Place an icepack on the lip piercing for some time.
How to stop lip piercing embedding?
When a lip piercing embeds, it sits firmly on the skin and sometimes gets stuck. An embedded lip may swell and contract an infection. To prevent this from occurring:
- Ensure that the earring post is long enough.
- Caution the piercer from making the clasp very tight.
- Always ensure that you get the lip piercing from a trained professional.
How to clean a lip piercing?
After a piercing, there might be some bleeding, and cleaning not only removes the blood but also keeps the area free of infections. To clean your piercing, begin by washing your hands before touching the area. Use a mirror to see what you are doing clearly.
Deep a gauze in a saline solution and wipe it inside and outside. As you tap, ensure that you clean the surfaces of your jewelry. Rinse to get rid of the residue and pat dry with disposable paper. Repeat this procedure 2-3 times a day.
When brushing your teeth and cleaning your mouth, use an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash.
How to care for your lip piercing?
- Take care to avoid contaminating the piercing.
- Avoid touching it or applying makeup very close to it.
- Avoid getting in water that might be dirty.
- Clean your piercing twice per day using a saline/salt solution or a piercing aftercare spray.
- When brushing your teeth and cleaning your mouth, use an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash.
- And of course, make sure to avoid snagging on clothes or towels.
- 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.
When can I change my lip piercing?
You may want to keep the initial lip piercing. However, you will have to change it after a while. You can change it after two weeks, but it is safer to wait till six weeks.
Return to the piercer the first time, changing the piercing. Visiting the piercer assures you of professionalism, and they can show you how to do it safely.
How to hide a lip piercing?
Once in a while, you will find yourself in circumstances that need you to hide your lip piercing. It may be school, work, or an environment that has very conservative people.
You can always use concealer and foundation. These makeup products enhance the beauty and cover up pimples, and blackheads, and they can come in handy if you need to hide a piercing.
Ensure that the concealer or the foundation matches your complexion. If you heal from the piercing, you could change and use a piercing retainer. A piercing retainer serves as a jewelry piece, but it is not conspicuous.