I have 13 tattoos as well as several piercings, and I think they're all pretty cool.
What You Need to Know About Lip Piercings
Lip piercing is an ancient body modification, still common among certain African tribespeople who stretch their lower lips to fit large, discus-shaped lip plates. You may have thought that humans only have one set of lips so the piercing options were limited, but lip piercings actually fall into eight separate categories:
- The Basic Lip Piercing
- Labret Piercings
- Vertical Labret Piercings
- Lowbret Piercings
- Vertical Lowbret Piercings
- Horizontal Lip Piercings
- Madonna Piercings
- Medusa Lip Piercings (Upbret or Cleft)
The two most common piercings are done on the lip and the labret.
1. The Basic Lip Piercing
The basic lip piercing describes any piercing that penetrates the area directly surrounding the lips, usually along the bottom lip but sometimes found along the top as well. A lip piercing is pierced with a lip ring either directly in the center of the lip or just off to the side. It will almost always be pierced initially with a captive-bead ring, though after the wound has fully healed (which can take up to 4–6 weeks) you may later change to a stud if you so choose.
2. Labret Piercings
If you do change it to a stud, however, then it becomes a labret piercing (pronounced "la-brett", not "la-bray"). Confusing, I know, but try to keep up. Because this is an oral piercing, aftercare is important on both ends: the inside of the mouth and the outside. Your piercer should educate you on proper aftercare methods, generally involving a frequent Listerine rinse for inside the mouth and washing gently with antibacterial soap on the outside, done no more than twice a day.
3. Vertical Labret Piercings
A vertical labret passes through the direct center of the bottom lip. It differs from a standard labret piercing in that a curved barbell is inserted and both ends of the jewelry can be seen—one below the bottom lip, the other in the mouth between the lips.
4. Lowbret Piercings
A lowbret is a horizontal labret that is placed as low as impossible inside the lip, just before your chin cartilage begins.
5. Vertical Lowbret Piercings
A vertical lowbret is placed vertically inside the mouth, piercing through the cheek and emerging close to the jaw line. The barbell used for this type of piercing needs to be at least 1.5" in length.
6. Horizontal Lip Piercings
A horizontal lip piercing, as the name implies, passing directly through either lip at a horizontal angle.
Read More from Tatring
A horizontal labret piercing, on the other hand, passes horizontally just below the lip.
7. Madonna Piercings
The Madonna piercing (yes, she gets a piercing named after her) is sometimes called a Monroe piercing, named for the original beauty mark queen, Marilyn Monroe. A Monroe is located in the upper lip, slightly off-center to mimic the look of a beauty mark or mole.
8. Medusa Lip Piercings (Upbret or Cleft)
A Medusa piercing is the opposite of a labret piercing, located in the direct center of the upper lip. It is sometimes called an "upbret" or "cleft" piercing.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Mandy on December 07, 2016:
I really want a vertical labret and a medusa but I'm too scared that they would reject. I'm also concered about the chances of infection because of the higher bacterial content of the mouth.
mixedbeauty on February 18, 2012:
I just got my Monroe piercing 4 days ago, can I change the bar? It's a little red and swollen but doesn't hurt at all. Thank you!!
Ps. I LOVE IT!!!
Cassie on January 07, 2012:
Just did my vertical labret :)
Rea on January 03, 2012:
I have my labret done on the left. The pain was just a pinch, it's the after care you have to worry about not getting it done. It was my first piercing and I plan to get snakebites soon :)
Miriam on December 27, 2011:
Does It Matter WhatSide You Get Lip Piercing On ?
brit on December 20, 2011:
hey im ner ous
thisnigguh (x on December 17, 2011:
I want to get a piercing on the lower left side of my lip, I just need to hide that from my mom. I should probably find a clear retainer and avoid contact with her for a few days. haha just hope I don't have a fat lip forever... I started stretching my ears October and it's now December. only 3 months and I'm at 000g or 7/16". and my mom still thinks they're fake. damnnnn smh. I'm excited to get my lip ring just hope to keep it (:
Kaelighh. on December 16, 2011:
I have a Bridge, snake bites, and a septum.
Deanna on December 04, 2011:
I just got my vertical labret done and it hurt when I got it but it's been 3 days and it doesn't hurt anymore it's just swollen still but I love it and when you first wake up it might hurt cuz it's swollen but that's about it so if you want to get it done hopefully you can handle the pain of getting done and the day after but then you should be pain free
ali on December 03, 2011:
Just got my labret done a few weeks ago- technically the term is not derived from the French language, so it should be pronounced lay-bret, not luh-bray, but... oh well. It's healed nicely in just 6 weeks, haven't changed it yet- I want to give it at least 2 months before poking anything new in there. Simple aftercare- swish with alcohol-based mouthwash after eating, drinking, etc. Wash with basic antibac soap 1x daily, and soak with warm, sea salt water to soothe, both inside mouth and on outside (I boil filtered water and add real sea salt, and as soon as it's cool enough for me to bear I swish it in my mouth and squeeze saturated cotton balls over it). My original jewelry is long to allow breathing/swelling room, but I plan to switch to something shorter for less snagging. It does get caught on my lower gum and teeth if I'm not careful when eating or talking, more so when the piercing was fresh. Originally I had the urge to rip it out, which is a normal reaction when you have a foreign object embedded in any part of the body, but after a couple weeks the swelling went down and I've grown more used to it. I also have my bellybutton, left conch, and right nostril. I've debated doing my septum or bridge, but should probably be self-employed first... meh. I love piercings that are well-placed! My boyfriend and mom hate it. It does bother me that people act so shocked when they see it, like at my work- it's just a piercing, and lots of people have them, and they're not permanent. Get over it. As long as you take good care of them, and barely touch them except to clean them, it will heal nicely, if your piercer did a good job. Oh, and sleep on clean pillow cases to avoid getting germs in them.
Liz on December 02, 2011:
I'm getting the lowbret on both sides today ^^
So far, I have my bridge, nose, septum, cyberbites, sharkbites, angelbites.
As soon as I get those 2, I'll have 13 piercings ^^
I'm awaiting more like; Dimples, eyebrow[2 on one side], venom bites, nostril bites, hips, bellybutton[again], & maybe anti-eyebrow on both sides
Kym on November 15, 2011:
A lot of really good info on here! i am so excited about getting my labret down bottom right side!! im more excited t han nervous and just ready to get this thing!!
Larissa on November 06, 2011:
A comment to Chey (the 5 days ago) I have had mine for a year now the swellin should go right down but it gets really irritated from the cause of gettin caught on stuff like mine got caught on my sweatshirt (Talk about pain) and almost ripped it out so be careful (puuting on shirts, sleepin, or even washin your face. :)
"Just Passin Thru" Body Piercing on November 01, 2011:
Come see me at "Just Passin Thru" Body Piecing in Woodland Hills, CA Look me up on Facebook! xo Barbi
Cheyenne on November 01, 2011:
I got my monroe done 2 days ago and I love the way it looks. The only problem is that it swelled up really bad and the bar is too short, so I have to go get a longer bar put into it.
Rebecca on October 13, 2011:
they all have such nice noses!!!
Willow on October 12, 2011:
I just wanted to answer a few questions about some of the lip piercings, snake bites to be more specific. I've had snake bites twice, my work refused to let me use clear jewlery so I had to let them heal then when I got a new job and the boss was cool with letting me have my piercings I went and got them again. The question of "Do you get snake bites at the same time" Yes, they do snake bites at the same time, if you don't get them at the same time the healing process will be much longer, and the chance of having your snake bites uneven is higher. Healing time for me has been close to a month, but it all depends on how well the person takes care of the piercing. Also "Does lip piercings hurt" mine didn't neither time, but that's because I have a relatively high pain tolerance, I honestly think if done correctly, it's too fast for a person to feel pain but I could be wrong. The age without a parent depends upon each state, you should be able to call around at your local shops and ask them their about the age without parental consent. Also DO NOT USE ALCOHOL on piercings, this is very bad, it's kind of like pouring gas on a fire, it's a bad idea. You should use warm sea salt soaks to reduce swelling and/or redness DO NOT USE NORMAL SALT, that will burn and be a bad idea lol. Also some shops have a kit that you can purchase at the time you get your piercings that has all the things needed to help your piercings heal promptly and without trouble. I currently have 7 piercings so I feel I'm pretty experienced in this subject. Wish you all the best of luck with your piercings.
lina on October 07, 2011:
Seriously guys? A Monroe is on the left side && a Madonna is on the right. The people who made this know what they are talking about.
deadshit on September 21, 2011:
hindi naman masakit ee ,,
it does not hurt me ,, it so very ok :))
Buggy on September 20, 2011:
At the moment I have my angel bites my tongue my nose and my ears three times used to have my belly button til my mom found out hopefully gettin my bottom lip done twice
Leslie on September 18, 2011:
I just got a simple labret a few weeks ago, no it doesn't hurt when it's done but that week when it's swollen it hurts(: So glad I got it though!
chanel on September 16, 2011:
I got my labret pierced today, (16/09/2011). It didn't hurt at all it just felt quite uncomfortable! DO NOT be stupid and use any form of Alcohol on it, unless you want to slow the healing process down that is!, use a non-alcoholic mouthwash for the outside and just some saline solution for the outside(which you can get from any Chemist) I've also got both my nostrils done and they were pierced with a gun. Didn't hurt at all. Just made tears run down my face as it pinches something in your nose and makes yours eyes water, not to sure what the actualy name it, my advice is that if you want it go for it as you're only young once!! :D x
NeverMindFoo' on September 09, 2011:
I want a labret piercing but am scaared, jus feel all that flesh the needles gotta go through :'(
stasharra on August 04, 2011:
im gettin my lip peirced formy b-day this year andi was wondering do u get snakebites donw at the same time or do u wait for the first to heal? if so how long is the healing proses?
miranda on July 25, 2011:
I got my lowbret pierced and i did it at home really hurt going in but it was worth it
Alexa on July 19, 2011:
I did my own snake bites and I love them it wasn't painful; they swole a little for a while. My friend who got it professionally done said it hurts.
Vee on July 16, 2011:
that is not very good information on cleaning. DO NOT USE LISTERINE. EVER. Use an alcohol free mouthwash like Biotene for the inside of the mouth, and a saline wound wash solution (from a metal can, not the squeeze top or screw top because bacteria can enter and make it unhygienic) for cleaning the outside. don't use antibacterial soap, because it is too harsh and makes the positive microbes fighting infection die off as well as any bad bacteria, and therefor prolongs the healing process. Do not use Bactine either.
how do i know? been piercing professionally for 8 years.
Dawn on March 30, 2011:
I got my labret done on my bottom right up lip. It stung , but it didn't hurt that bad bc it's
A very quick process. You'll feel a lil nerve rocking pain for the next couple of hours. I got mine done around 6 pm .I went home relax and went to sleep the next the swallowen was gone and it doesn't hurt anymore. Another thing make sure you take good care of it. I recommend a glass of water with a pinch of sea salt. Use it like a mouth wash and shop will give you h2ocean it's also sea salt , I would take that and spray the outside. But don't over do things cause it will some irritation. I recommend to not smoke or drink alcohol. You wouldn't want your lip to get infected ,gross.. Good luck , happy piercing all!!:)'
March 30, 2011
Eash on March 23, 2011:
I have the vertical labret, snakebites, and the medusa. They are all super easy to do, don't really hurt, and look KILLER!!
Monica on March 19, 2011:
Definitely getting my lip pierced! I do have a concern though, I have a job where I talk on the phone all day, will it affect my speech at all with the swelling? If so how many days would I need for it to heal before I tried to work with it? Also, I am going to the beach VERY soon, and would like to get it around that time, I can't drink alcohol with it! How long must I wait before I drink alcohol!? Also, the beach salt water, and pool water? Would it really affect it if I got a little on it? I do wanna have fun on vacation but at the same time I want that lip piercing!
Michelle on March 08, 2011:
i got my lip pierced and whe i would change it , it stung really bad . now i want my wrist pierced ;D
barbwire7 on March 08, 2011:
Take care of all your piercings! I cannot stress enough. They can get infected, no matter how good your piercer. Clean 3 times a day with a Q-tip and antibacterial soap. Dry with tissue. Towels harbor bacteria. Let dry. don't spin your piercing, or use anything on it. It needs to heal around your jewelry. by constantly moving, or using vaseline or other topical creams, it will keep the wound open, so leave it alone. clean it, leave it. Best advice. Oh, and enjoy it!
troll on March 07, 2011:
lol madonna? its a monroe. learn your stuff
aison on March 05, 2011:
so you could be 14 and get your lip pierced if you have an adults permission? yes or no?
Me on February 09, 2011:
So, I'm the 40-year-old and I got my piercing AND my tat! Bot look super GORGEOUS! I changed my monroe from the silver ball to a diamond...kept the 16 gauge longer stud in because I can tell it still needs to heal a bit inside...I was scared to change it out and the silver ball was on super tight! I even took the long part out and had to figure out how to put it back in! I kept washing my hands and the jewelry the whole time! How do we post pics on here?
Jagger on February 08, 2011:
So, I'm interested in getting a lip piercing, just one, with a hoop. I'm a guy and straight, does it matter what side I get it done on?
calsifer on February 05, 2011:
and the tongue dosnt hurt that much either id say falling on your arse hurts more than getting a piercing
calsifer on February 05, 2011:
none of these hurt compared to a tongue piercing lol i had it done last Wednesday at a professional place by myself and im sixteen as of jan the 26th
Me on January 19, 2011:
Turning 40 and super excited about getting my Monroe piercing (might be a Madonna - still deciding) and a beautiful tat w/my hubby 'n kids' names on it...why hubby? B/c no matter what, he's my kids' Dad...
Emiily on January 06, 2011:
Does Gettinqq The Lowbret Hurt ?
cat bayless on January 02, 2011:
can u have ur lip pierced on one side 3 times or is it a health problem
karrie on December 20, 2010:
i have my eyebrow peirced and belly button peirced then again every1 does and ive had those 4 a long time they definantly don't hurt when u get them and ive had spiderbites4 a year now but im bout2 make it 3studs instead of 2 idk wat u would call that n idc i just love getting peircings haha but i cant wait
amy cx on December 10, 2010:
the lowbret and madonna ive gotta gett them
michael on December 02, 2010:
i had snake bites and ima get spider bites soon :D
B on November 29, 2010:
K, labret piercings + angel bites? hows that?????? i think i'll get them
Brianne on November 22, 2010:
I got snake bites last week (I'm 19) and I love them. You have to take really good care of them and be sure to read up on after care.
Getting it done wasn't too painful. It felt like getting a shot, in my lip twice. It was far less painful then the numbing shots you get during dental work!
As for the parents thing, my parents were fine with it. "You're an adult and you can make your own decisions now". Though my mom thought they were weird. It's all personal preference.
Dimples Girl on November 17, 2010:
forgot the inverse verticle labret
becky on November 17, 2010:
monroe piercings hurt a little bit after the stud is put in... then you will get a lump on the inside of your gum for about 3 months that can be painfull if you play with the stud or pull it
Sojealous on November 13, 2010:
Definitely going to get a vertical labret! I love them!
suzzanne on November 10, 2010:
i got the middle of my bottom lip down 3 wks ago, it only hurt for a couple of hours, the worse bit is the fat lip for a while........lol
crystal morales on November 06, 2010:
i have 1month with my piercing and it hurt a little not mucg
zobo 88 on November 03, 2010:
so honest scale 1 - 10 hw painfull is a madonna??
Sasha on November 02, 2010:
i did the just under the lower left lip and its awsome!!! i did it all myself with ice and my earing rom when i had my cartalage pierced its awsomeee
kiki on October 30, 2010:
my mom is soo lame she wont even let me get da basic one!! pisses me off
sassie on October 14, 2010:
I just got my lip pierced two weeks ago. I got it done on the left side because i have my nose pierced on the right and i didn't want to much on one side of my face. I realy like having my lip pierced because I have tiny lips and i didn't think i would look good with it but i guess i do. now my second favorite piercing is my lip and my first is my toung.
dom on October 08, 2010:
i have my tongue double pierced and snake bites that are gauged to an 8 plus an labret piercing gauged to a 12 if u wana see send me a fb request at dominique runyan my profile pic is me wit a hat on and straight brown hair
Phillip on October 07, 2010:
I got my 14 gauge snake bites done May 11, 2010, and it took them about a month to heal. Honestly, the worst part was the swelling, I have thick lips to begin with lol so I had a major fat lip for a while. The first needle didn't hurt, but the second one did, pain accumulation. I still have them and they've never been infected. Studs are the easiest to wear for me, the caught on my teeth when I ate until I got used to them, 1/2" rings are kinda too bulky, but 3/8" rings might be too small for some people, but like I said, I have a thick set of lips and I can wear 3/8" rings comfortably. Rings don't feel all that great when you eat with them in. (For me, anyway.) When I take the rings outyou can see the holes, yes. Through the holes, no. Nothing (no drool, beverages, food) falls through my holes (at a 14 gauge)
I had my snakes done to line up with the edges of my nostrils, instead of the corners of my eyes, this moved my bites a little bit closer together. I also had her (my artist) move them up a tiny bit so they sit directly on the edge of my lip instead of closer to my chin, so that when I hold my lips in a standard relaxed position the studs point down-ish. I think it looks pretty sick, if I do say so myself.
I have pictures of my self at my facebook; I deleted most of my pics from MySpace so I won't post it.
facebook.com/DarkSwagger have a look, friend me or whatever, if you want.
sassie on September 21, 2010:
my favorite piercingis my toung and my second is my nose.If you love piercings I would highly recmmend you to get your toung done, It didn't hurt at all and ive had mine for about three months.
Tabitha on September 15, 2010:
I just got my lowbret yesterday :) it hurt ab a 6 on a scale from 1-10 for me. I hate the fact that gave me a long one cause of the swelling but get to take it out in 3 weeks.
Shealin on September 13, 2010:
So I have snake bites. when my latest one heals I'm gunna put the little diamonds in it so its not so big. BUTTTT I want the horizontal labret. Problem is idk how that would look with the bity bites. =)
anon on September 12, 2010:
It's not la-brett, it's an "eh" ending... it's french
Jasmine Lair on September 10, 2010:
I'm thinking about getting a labrett this weekend.. I've actually pierced my snakebites by myself.. so I'm probably going to do the labett also :] I love my snakebites... they hurt a lil bit after piercing them but they're awesome(:
katherine on September 06, 2010:
i have a vertical labret and i love it, it actually didn't even hurt that much.
chi on September 01, 2010:
im getting a percing this friday, people are telling me to get snakebites instead of spiderbites. but personaly i think snakebites are better, which one hurts more?
Kaytlyn . :3 on August 28, 2010:
I have all 4: they're called canine bites .
2 on top: angel bites
top on bottom: snakebites .
I'm gonna do my verticle labret soon. :D
Eventually I'm going to have the medusa soon, & I'm gonna put a chain through them and make some funky design. ;D
... I love piercings. :3
taytay on August 19, 2010:
im getting mine done tomoro im getting snake bites my Monroe and my medusa is gonna b sweet
Jay on August 19, 2010:
I did my own piercings(1labret,2earpiercings and 1brow ring)n i never got infected or anything.i have had them for 5months now and people wanna know where i got them from....it might be luck but i just don't see the need of paying so much to hav a professional do it when all i did was GOOGLE for instructions:)
rhiannon on August 18, 2010:
I have my vertical labret done. Although I don''t really like to accosiate it with a labret. Labrets don't really suite many people...
blee on August 14, 2010:
Chaiticus on August 08, 2010:
Oh man. French terms cannot be contradicted when you are not aware of how to use proppppper ENGLISH.
Firstly. More information should be used.
Bites have been majorly discluded, though Closed Doors has cleared a few things up.
As for the Monroe. It isss located on the left. As was her mole. And some say that it's nickname is the Madonna, but this is incorrect. Nickname, no. Neighbor, yes. The Madonna or (Cindy) Crawford is located on the same position, but on the right.
Chaiticus on August 08, 2010:
Though some of this is helpful..I've found a good bit of it to be incorrect. Along with the comments.
Information could be added. Like the Dolphin combo.
And the fact that a monroe and a madonna are infact different. they have similarities but are not exactly alike. A monroe is on the left. As was her mole. A madonna or (cindy) crawford is in the same position, but on the Right side.
As for the labret... 80% of people go with LAH-BREY for pronunciation.
blahblahblah... on August 01, 2010:
The traditional pronunciation of labret in anthropology is /?le?br?t/ LAY-br?t. It derives from the Latin labrum "lip" and the diminutive suffix -et. However, many in the body-piercing industry incorrectly give it the "French" pronunciation /l??bre?/ l?-bray, though it is not a French word. (quoted from Wikipedia)
Jimmy on July 28, 2010:
This has to be said, it is not pronounced "La-BRAY" because it is not of French origin.
Bambi on July 26, 2010:
I got a basic lip piercing about a week ago, and is it normal for the back of the stud to dent your lip?
kiana on July 21, 2010:
lmaaooo im gettn spider bites in ah couple of days nd im 13 yay meh..................buh im ah lil scared lol
Yaneesha on July 11, 2010: