The Truth About Lip Piercings

Facial piercings are majorly "in" right now, with celebs like Kim Kardashian casually slinging on a fake ring for a red carpet (via E News). The operative word there, though, is "fake." If you're considering piercing your lip for real, there are many elements to consider, such as the all-important healing process, how painful it's going to be, and of course, what kind of jewelry you want. 

As dermatologist Amy J. Derick warned the Huffington Post, there may be scars or even holes visible, even after the jewelry is removed and regardless of where the piercing is located. Unlike a navel, or even an ear piercing, the scar that remains on your lip after you take the jewelry out is likely going to be pretty visible.

First and foremost, is it even a lip piercing you're after — or a labret? Labret piercings are an entirely different beast, so make sure you know which you want before stepping into a (clean, reputable) piercing shop.

There are several different kinds of lip piercings

Body Electric Tattoo's resident piercer Brian Keith Thompson discussed the most popular placements with Byrdie, advising the labret typically sits under the bottom lip in the center, the philtrum, or Medusa, sits in the center indentation just under the nostril, and finally, there are side piercings, on the top lip, which are described as Monroe or Madonnas depending on which side of the face they appear. As for jewelry, Thompson advises, "Most piercings heal better with a stud." 

You can put a ring in once it heals, but if you want to pierce with it, just keep in mind the jewelry is going to be bigger at first in order to accommodate for any swelling. You can change your jewelry after about 10 weeks, but the longer you wait the better. If your piercing closes up, you'll have to consult your piercer before redoing it, as it's not always recommended. As Ryan Ouellette of Precision Body Art told Bustle, "Scar tissue is much weaker than healthy tissue," so just be patient with your piercing or it could cause you more trouble down the line.

Lip piercings don't hurt much but the healing process can be hard

The good news is, pain-wise, a lip piercing shouldn't be too bad (merely a quick pinch), but the healing process can be difficult. You'll need to be careful not to hit your jewelry, as friction can prolong the healing process, and it can also hurt. Healing time takes around 3 to 6 months, depending on your body. Thompson notes, "With your mouth, you're talking, eating, and drinking all day long, so it can be a tough one."

Be patient, be careful, and follow aftercare instructions exactly, just like you would with any other piercing, to ensure a smooth healing process. Oral hygiene is particularly important with lip piercings, too. Likewise, Thompson advises, "Alcohol and smoking will cause more inflammation. So, if you can't abstain for a few weeks after getting it pierced, I'd say wait for a time when you can."