Whether you’re thinking about having your lip pierced and want to know about your placement options, are wondering how best to care for your new lip piercing, or just want a cool new lip ring, you’ll find the lip piercing information and lip ring suggestions you need here. We answer the most common lip piercing questions and point you to other helpful resources below. Read through our full lip piercing FAQs for a full education, or click a question below to jump right to its answer.
Commonly Asked Lip Piercing Questions
Q. What lip piercing types can I choose from if I want to get my lip pierced?
Q. What are the most common lip piercing sizes?
Q. Where can I get my lip pierced?
Q. How are lip piercings done?
Q. What’s the value in wearing a BioPlast labret in a lip piercing?
Q. What does proper lip piercing aftercare entail?
Q. What types of lip rings are available?
Q. Where can I find cool lip rings?
Q. What types of clear lip rings and lip piercing retainers are available?
Q. What’s involved in labret stretching or stretching of other lip piercings?
Q. Where can I find fake lip rings?
Q. Where can I find spider bite piercing pictures and other lip piercing pictures?
Answers to Frequent Lip Piercing Questions
A. The most common lip piercing types are listed below, along with a diagram showing where 6 of the most popular types of lip piercings are placed around either the upper or lower lip. You can click on any lip piercing listed below to see the corresponding section of our lip piercing photo gallery.
Angel Bites – Angel bite piercings are done as a pair of upper lip piercings, placed to the left and right of the philtrum.
Canine/Shark Bites – Canine bites, which are also known as shark bites, are lip piercings placed toward the outside of the upper and lower lip, usually as a set of four piercings. They get their name from the wide placement that mimics the incisor piercings a dog’s bite might make.
Cyber Bites – This is a pair of piercings placed through the center of the upper and lower lips. Separately, they’re actually Medusa and standard (horizontal) labret piercings. Cyber bites can be placed during one session or two separate sessions, so the piercings can heal independently.
Dolphin Bites – This is a pair of lower lip piercings placed relatively closely together through the center of the lower lip.
Horizontal Lip Piercings – Any single piercing that goes straight through the upper or lower lip, often off to one side, is a horizontal lip piercing, including the Monroe piercing and even a standard labret piercing. This just means the piercing is essentially horizontal to the ground.
Joker/Dahlia Bites – Dahlia piercings get their name from the grisly Black Dahlia murder, where the corners of the victim’s mouth were cut. These piercings are placed at the corners of the mouth and somewhat elongate the grin, giving some a smile akin to the Joker’s from Batman. That’s why they’re also known as Joker piercings.
Labret Piercing – A labret piercing is a piercing of the center lower lip.
Lowbret Piercing – The lowbret is a low labret, placed as far down within the lower lip as possible.
Medusa Piercing – This is a piercing of the philtrum, or center upper lip.
Monroe Piercing – Named after Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe, this piercing is also sometimes called a Crawford or a Madonna piercing, because it mimics the side-upper lip mole shared by all three famous ladies.
Snake Bite Piercings – A pair of piercings placed off to the left and right sides of the lower lip are called snake bites.
Vertical Labret Piercing – Instead of going straight through the lower lip like a labret piercing, this piercing goes up through the center of the lower lip.
Viper/Spider Bites – Viper bites, or spider bites, are a pair of piercings placed closely together on the left or right side of the lower lip. They mimic the smaller bite of a snake or a spider, hence the name.
A. Most lip piercings are done with either 14g or 16g piercing needles. These aren’t the only lip piercing sizes, though. Some people opt to be pierced at a heavier gauge initially, while others stretch their lip piercings to larger sizes later. If you want to have your lip pierced at a larger gauge, consider starting with a 12g or possibly a 10g piercing and stretching later, as desired. That way you won’t start out with a lip ring that’s way too big for you; instead, you can go up a size gradually until you find the perfect sized lip ring for you.
A. You should always go to a professional piercer to have your lip pierced. Do not let anyone pierce your lip with a piercing gun under any circumstances. A professional piercer will use a proper piercing needle that will create a clean hole (fistula) that will heal well. If you don’t know of a good piercer in your area, do your homework. Look up the tattoo and piercing shops closest to you, check out their piercers’ portfolios, and speak to the top candidates on your list to see who you feel most comfortable working with. You can also talk to your friends to get recommendations or ask around our forum to see if any of our community members can refer you to a good piercer in your area.
A. When you have a professional pierce your lip, s/he will use an autoclave to sterilize your lip ring and any equipment that will be needed during the piercing process, like forceps or receiving corks. S/he should then prep the skin to be pierced (you may be swabbed with alcohol, iodine, and/or other antiseptic skin cleansers and possibly also asked to rinse out your mouth), mark the skin where the piercing is to be placed, and make sure you’re okay with the placement. If you’re getting a pair or set of lip piercings done at once, like spider bites or canine bites, your piercer will mark you for all piercings before beginning the piercing process. Next, s/he will open a sterile needle’s packaging and pierce your lip. Your piercer may place a receiving tube or cork on the inside of your mouth where the piercing is to be placed so that you won’t get poked in the gums by the needle when it’s pushed through your lip. As the needle is pulled through, it will be followed by your new lip ring.
A. If you were to ask your dentist what s/he thinks of you getting a lip piercing, you might get an earful about the harmful, erosive effects of body jewelry left in the mouth for a prolonged period of time. The potential for chipped teeth may also come up. It is true and important to know before getting a lip piercing that constant irritation at your gum line can cause gum recession, and people do sometimes bite down on oral piercing jewelry of all kinds. That doesn’t mean it will be a problem for you, particularly if your piercer is careful with the placement of your lip piercing(s), you wear well-fitted lip rings, and you’re careful when you eat. If you want insurance against damage to your oral health, though, opt for a BioPlast labret.
BioPlast, which is also known as PTFE or BioFlex, is a soft, hypoallergenic material that will be gentler on your gums and teeth than metal jewelry can be. It’s especially great during the early stages of healing, when you need to wear a lip ring that’s larger than what you’ll be wearing on an ongoing basis, to accommodate any swelling that may occur after you’re pierced. Just as with starter tongue barbells, you may be more prone to bite down on a starter lip ring, but it won’t be a harmful bite if you’re wearing a BioPlast labret stud.
BioPlast labrets come in a lot of cool styles. Here are a few examples to show you how stylish this type of lip piercing jewelry can be:
A. Lip piercing aftercare is a 2-part process, because you have to keep both the inside and outside of your mouth clean. The best thing to use to clean your lip piercings is sea salt solution. You can purchase a spray like Recovery Piercing Aftercare Spray for the outside of your lip and an oral sea salt rinse like H2Ocean’s Arctic Oral Rinse to swish around the inside of your mouth. You should use these products morning, night, and after meals (so 3-6 times a day). You really can’t overuse sea salt solution, which isn’t the case with soap. It’s best to avoid soap altogether during the healing process, since it can be drying, particularly when used repeatedly during a day. It’s okay if some sudsy water gets on your piercings when you wash your hair and face; just don’t soap up your piercing directly.
There are a handful of problems that can crop up during the lip piercing healing process that can often be addressed with modifications to your lip piercing aftercare regime. Here are some of the most common issues that arise with lip piercings and how to deal with each one:
Crusties – If you develop crusties, don’t worry. This is a normal part of the lip piercing healing process. Your body may excrete a clear fluid called lymph as it works to heal your lip piercing(s), and lymph sometimes dries to a whitish crust on external piercings. You can soften crusties with sea salt solution and gently wipe them away with a tissue or aftercare spray-soaked cotton ball. You should not twist/turn/slide your jewelry to break up crusties, though, because you might push bacteria into your healing fistula, which could lead to infection.
Dry Skin – For those who suffer from dry skin around their healing lip piercings, we recommend utilizing tea tree oil for its natural moisturizing and antiseptic qualities. Tea tree oil needs a carrier, so either put a couple drops in a homemade sea salt solution (1 cup boiled water with 1/4 tsp. sea salt stirred in) or saturate a cotton ball with Recovery or another quality saline wash, and then add a drop of tea tree oil to the cotton ball before applying it to the outside of your piercing. (Tea tree oil is for external use only; don’t mix it into sea salt solution you plan to swish around the inside of your mouth.)
Infection – If you suspect that your lip piercing might be infected, check for these telltale signs: red streaks radiating from your piercing, skin that’s hot to the touch, and/or discharge of a thick, yellow, pus-like discharge. Caught early, these symptoms can sometimes be addressed simply by ramping up your aftercare regime. For instance, you might increase your number of sea salt solution cleanings per day and/or add tea tree oil to your external cleanings a couple times a day to take advantage of its gentle, natural antiseptic qualities. You shouldn’t apply anything like triple antibiotic ointment to the outside of your piercing, because it could clog your fistula, trapping in bacteria and making the problem worse. If you can’t control an infection with your lip piercing aftercare regime, see a doctor about getting on an antibiotic. If your doctor suggests you remove your piercing, don’t worry; as long as you keep up with your aftercare routine while taking an antibiotic, your piercing should heal well.
Ill-Fitting Jewelry – If your jewelry is pressing into your lip, there’s something wrong that needs to be dealt with ASAP. Either your jewelry isn’t long enough to accommodate the amount of swelling that’s occurring, or you’re not tolerating your starter jewelry because of its composition or style. For instance, a captive bead ring isn’t always ideal starter jewelry, because the ring may cut into a swollen lip. Some people are also intolerant to certain types of metal, but an allergic reaction is more likely to manifest as red, irritated, and possibly even itchy skin. If you want to be safe, though, ask your piercer to replace your lip ring with a hypoallergenic BioPlast labret, or one made of titanium. Surgical steel is sufficient for most people, but titanium is the most inert metal that body jewelry is made of, so it’s the least likely metal to cause an allergic reaction.
Allergic Reaction – As mentioned above, an allergic reaction to your jewelry will usually manifest as red, itchy and generally-irritated skin around your piercing. For immediate relief, take an antihistamine like Benadryl (as long as you’re somewhere you can kick back and relax if it makes you sleepy). Next, meet up with your piercer and have a new labret stud inserted that’s made of a more hypoallergenic material like titanium, BioPlast or surgical stainless steel. You should get almost immediate relief just having your jewelry changed, but it may take a few days and some babying to help cracked or irritated skin recover. Enhance your aftercare solution with tea tree oil to aid in the healing process.
A. The two most popular styles of jewelry worn in lip piercings are hoops and labret studs. Hoops encompass a variety of ringed jewelry, including captive bead rings, segment rings, and seamless rings. This style of jewelry is often a better option to wear once your lip piercing is fully healed. Labret studs are ideal starter jewelry for most lip piercings, and often the only style of jewelry to wear on an ongoing basis with certain upper lip piercings like Medusa and Monroe piercings. Circular barbells, or horseshoe barbells, and spiral lip rings are also popular types of lip rings. Here’s an example of each of these popular types of lip rings:
|Spiral Lip Rings||Labret Studs||Circular Barbells|
|Seamless Rings||Captive Bead Rings||Segment Rings|
If your lip piercing is stretched, you can wear a tunnel or plug in it instead of the more traditional types of lip piercing jewelry shown above. We carry an extensive selection of unique organic body jewelry for stretched lip piercings, as well as metal, glass, and other types of plugs, tunnels and large-gauge spirals for lip piercings.
A. If you’re looking for a really unique, cool lip ring, you have thousands of options on Painfulpleasures.com! You can get a multicolored hoop like those shown above, or get a labret stud and a few unique ends to swap in and out as it suits your mood. You can also opt for a spiral with spikes on the ends or any of our other cool lip rings. Here are some of our most unique options to give you some ideas:
A. When it comes to lip piercing retainers, you have options. You can wear a clear labret with a flat end or one with a rounded end, or you could attach a flat skin tone disc to the end of a metal or BioPlast labret stud. You could even wear a clear septum retainer in place of a circular barbell, although it would be significantly more noticeable than a clear labret stud.
Check out all of our clear lip rings and other retainers in our Piercing Retainers section.
A. Stretching any piercing requires patience. Stretching too rapidly can cause microscopic tears and other damage to a lip piercing. Wait to begin stretching until your piercing is fully healed, which can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months depending on whether or not you’re a fast healer and how diligent you are with your lip piercing aftercare. Ideally, you should give your fistula time to strengthen and reinforce, which means waiting until the 3 month mark or beyond before stretching up a size.
A couple weeks before you begin stretching, start massaging emu oil into the skin around your lip piercing to increase its natural elasticity. If you’re stretching between smaller gauges, like 14g to 12g, you should be able to just swap in the new-sized jewelry easily. Just be sure to only go up one size at a time. As you stretch up to 8g jewelry or larger, you may have a little more difficulty just popping in your new jewelry, so consider using a taper and/or a small drop of a water-based lubricant (ex. Astroglide) to insert jewelry in the next size up. Alternatively, you can use the tape method to stretch your lip piercing to larger gauges more smoothly. Each week or two, depending on how your lip piercing is recovering from the previous stretch, remove your jewelry and add a single layer of stretching tape. This is much gentler on a piercing than forcing in a larger gauge lip ring. If you go up a whole size at a time instead of using the stretching tape method, wait 1.5x as long as it took for your piercing to heal initially before attempting to increase the size of your lip ring again.
A. Now that you have a full lip piercing education, you can decide whether or not getting a lip piercing is for you. If you like the way lip rings look but don’t want to fully commit and get pierced, you can enjoy the look of lip piercings by wearing fake lip rings. The two types of rings best suited to use as fake lip rings are seamless rings and captive bead rings with the beads removed. Just slide the ring over your lip, squeeze the sides gently until the ring fits closely to your lip, and Presto! You have a fake lip ring!
A. Our photo gallery is filled with lip piercing pictures, including spider bite piercing pictures and a variety of other lip piercing photos shared by our community members. You can peruse the Lip Piercings section and its many subsections to see all of our lip piercing pictures. If you want to share photos of your own lip piercings, just click the “sign up” link in the top-right corner to create an account and start posting. Once you’re a member of our online community, you’ll also be able to comment on other people’s lip piercing pictures.
For additional lip piercing information, check out our Lip Piercings & Lip Rings article.